Thanks to Suzanne Moore for her personal and stimulating review of Viv Albertines autobiography, Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys. Brought back great memories. I was sixteen in 1977 and punk was a glorious moment of individualism and self expression. I had been dressing in my own way for a couple of years, but now I was hanging out in soho with people who thought it cool. In the summer I saw Generation X six times, and loved their take on punk, they did not feel the need to conform with the uniform, that already stifled the possibilities of punk.
Then I found the Slits. By the time of their funny, messy, John Peel sessions, I had seen them four times. They were the first bands I went to see without a posse, excited enough by what they brought together of yardie culture and Brit art school cool, to cross London to see them at the Notting Hill Tabernacle. I loved the exciting mystery of the dreads ‘pon de corner, and Ari’s demented banshee wailing/flailing, with that near dub riddim. Much more satisfying as music to dance to than the standard ” one, two, three four” of pogo music.
By New Year’s Eve, 77, I had enough momentum in my advocacy ” we gotta go to the Vortex” for the Slits! I had a crew with me the night Elvis died, and as we walked back from Turnpike Lane, the nearest dropping off point for the N29 night bus, and two days into my sixteenth year, the Slits were part of my coming of age.