Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Up Yours!

I remember when I first started researching the PHD that was to turn into my book; I went to the British Library, and there on the shelves were piles of Music Week magazines, the business publication for the British music industry.
Coincidentally, they were all dated around 1976, and I could browse to my heart's content.
What was in them? Well, hysteria about home taping, the illegal recording of pop and rock tracks that was going to destroy the music industry, alongside an oil crisis that was making vinyl too expensive to manufacture records out of. Two familiar panics (apart from the vinyl, but you know what I mean about the oil).
I was struck by the advertisements for singles and albums released by female artists; Clodagh Rodgers, Twiggy, Mary Hopkin, all of the floaty and submissive kind. Their hair was uniformly blonde, soft and wavy, and they wore loose white blouses gathered in at the waist to show their milkmaidy femininity.
Sonja Kristina was there too, the singer form Curved Air (who wouldn't befriend me on Myspace: what a disappointment! I used to be such a fan!). Her role was the sexy stereotype.
It is so easy to forget the sterile world that punk strode into with its Doc Martins and noise, and to forget the  thrill of the barking and sneering yells that the female vocalists pierced complacency with!
I played Oh Bondage Up Yours! to a large group of students a few years ago, and they were horrified by its wild and harsh sound; next to Poly, Marilyn Manson sounds as tame and fake as a stuffed teddy-bear.
Some parts of my life have been sh*t, especially some things that happened back then that both Poly and Ari would have been familiar with (an an uncomfortably large proportion of the women I spoke to about the hazards of being in a band), but I wouldn't for the world have chosen to be born at any other time than the late 1950s, to have grown up through punk and it's hilarity and energy and madness.

No comments: