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Re: Viv Albertine autobiog

PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2015 6:25 pm
by NormanD
I saw a new paperback copy for £4 in a bookshop in CX Road today, but declined it in favour of an old book of blues lists by Ledbitter & Slaven (£6.50). I think I got the bargain there. I feel as though I've already read the other one now, thanks to your reviews, comments and inputs.

Re: Viv Albertine autobiog

PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2015 7:45 pm
by Garth Cartwright
Did we ever discuss Patti Smith's book Just Kids? Now that was a superior memoir! But she is a superior artist. Adam, I think you might count yourself lucky not to be mentioned - she seemed to be intent on settling scores and few people other than Mick J and her mum came out of it well. I'd well believe Ari & Tessa were nicer people - Viv strikes me as sour, humourless, full of self-importance. I couldn't believe how lazily written and edited it was - at one point she is dating a Pop Group (another band I can't stand that I used to have to listen to cos my mates liked) and then there is no more mention of him. What happened to the poor sod? I liked the mention of Johnny Thunders but then she never seems interested in his long decline - tho she surely bumped into him a bunch of times in the late 70s/early 80s - and Sid's murder of Nancy then death is not dealt with either. I did go on Spotify and listen to her solo releases as I read the latter chapters but it is not for me. I'm sure she will find a lucrative circuit on the boutique festival and book festival circuit for the next several years. Norman, you made the right choice - as Viv is around your age I think her lack of politics (almost no mention of anything political throughout) would drive you into a rage! A slight memoir that does not deserve its success - but it has been well marketed (oddly, Viv never seems to see that the Slits style both provided a basis for crustie chicks and then the US grunge girls like Courtney (baby doll dresses, ripped leggings, DMs, bleached and matted hair). But she is not one to observe much beyond herself.

Adam, Chris Spedding sent me this link and I think it might be of interest to you - http://www.trebuchet-magazine.com/ari-s ... -interview

Re: Viv Albertine autobiog

PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2015 8:28 pm
by Adam Blake
Garth Cartwright wrote:Adam, Chris Spedding sent me this link and I think it might be of interest to you - http://www.trebuchet-magazine.com/ari-s ... -interview


Yes indeed. Thank you very much. Very interesting, if a bit sad. Nora is quite a monster by all accounts. Ari never stood much of a chance.

Patti Smith's "Just Kids" is a lovely book. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Re: Viv Albertine autobiog

PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2015 8:44 am
by AndyM
As Adam suggests above, Albertine's book is finding its constituency with female readers of her own generation, and also among younger feminists of my acquaintance for whom The Slits are increasingly important, and being rediscovered & celebrated, as much if not more for their symbolic value as their music. The links between the Slits and more recent female acts, which Garth points out are absent from Albertine's book, are being investigated and studied by lots of women academics in their 30s, and for them The Slits have become centrally totemic.

There is, in many ways, a crucial gender dynamic In responses to that book, here as much as anywhere else. (Interesting gender-related note: most posts in this thread refer to her as 'Viv', whereas we haven't been calling Morrissey or Rotten by their first names.)

I haven't read the book, by the by, though I probably should. Best pop autobiog I've read for ages is Tracey Thorn's, which has also done v.well, is very stylishly written and has no accounts of smelly Sex Pistol genitals!!

Re: Viv Albertine autobiog

PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2015 10:36 am
by Kari Salonen
Gender related statement from the defendant herself, very much playing down the legend. You might have seen this, as it is from Channel 4:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3t02TC0gc4

Re: Viv Albertine autobiog

PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2015 12:18 pm
by Adam Blake
AndyM wrote:(Interesting gender-related note: most posts in this thread refer to her as 'Viv', whereas we haven't been calling Morrissey or Rotten by their first names.)


Viv is such a great name. Stephen and John are perfectly fine as well, but Viv is such fun to type and to say.

Re: Viv Albertine autobiog

PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2015 1:02 pm
by NormanD
Who has ever called Morrisey by his first name? I never even knew what it was until recently. Maybe if Rotten were constantly referred to as John Joseph, it might take him down a peg or two. And calling Morrisey "Steeve-en" might burst his bubble.

Re: Viv Albertine autobiog

PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2015 1:24 pm
by Garth Cartwright
I call her Viv cos it is easier to write than Albertine! I also recently read Betty LaVette's A Woman Like Me - this is another as-told-to David Ritz book and works quite well as a double hander with Viv's book: black American woman who never, ever stopped singing even when there was no interest anywhere with the white English girl who completely walked away from music for decades. Both like to reminisce about the famous men they slept with - Betty even got the ageing Jackie Wilson in the sack! Thankfully, she does not go into details about the personal hygiene of him and other R&B singers. It's a page turner - Ritz is a real pro when it comes to keeping the story moving - tho as Betty spent many years not recording it does get becalmed. She certainly has a sharp tongue about her fellow performers and a good memory - describes seeing Esther Phillips slumped against a bar so high her lip was hanging down. Put her off smack for life. She does not try and make herself into a likeable individual - a survivor and a hard bitten one is how she wants to be seen. And not afraid of standing up to those in power: slams Berry Gordy from the stage for not paying a lot of his Detroit musicians properly. Holds a grudge does LaVette. As ever, I wish Ritz would push for more musical detail, more recollections on Detroit, but it's not bad, certainly reads like a LaVette record - fierce and in your face and deeply felt and always in tune. I can just imagine the kind of review she would give Viv's book.

Re: Viv Albertine autobiog

PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2015 1:09 am
by Chris P
20 minutes of Viv talking with (mainly to) Robert Llewelyn as he drives her to look for bunting? As if I've got the time or inclination for that, still better watch a few minutes just to see what it's like:

http://youtu.be/I7tW0ABpqi0

was that 20 minutes then? Slipped by quite painlessly & pleasantly. Nothing in the least extraordinary but some nice details like the wrinkled nose at 'rock', & the only time she gets interested by Llewelyn is when he mentions that his mum instilled some female perspective in him, and Viv wants to know how. Rings true to herself and her book