Deborah Withers is a catalyst; she is a veteran Ladyfest organizer (Cardiff branch), musician (guitarist in the punk band Drunk Granny), archivist (she was the driving force behind the archive https://womensliberationmusicarchive.co.uk/music-liberation-exhibition/ and writer. Feminism, Digital Culture and the Politics of Transmission (Rowman and Littlefield) is an important stage in the development of her thinking, as she develops what could be described as Feminist Postmodernism approach to the process of archiving. I have found this to be an intriguing book; after romping through Postmodernism in the 1990s, like many women I screeched to a halt when I realized that to a large extent it functioned a little bit like Lynton Crosby’s dead rabbit on the table: while claiming to be visionary, it was actually looking backwards and not forwards, largely because what was in view in front of us all was Feminism.
As an archivist, Deborah pulls the past straight into the future with an understanding that the present is experienced so subjectively that to dwell on it is fruitless. Digital technology has given us all the opportunity to collapse history and make lateral links that would have been near-invisible in a traditional archive. All she asks is that we are aware enough of our own gender history as music makers, to understand that we are part of a constant radical flow.
This is an enjoyable book, and I have a feeling that there will be more from Withers’ virtual pen as she continues her exploration of the archiving of forgotten lives and activities.