The Quietus at… Viv Albertine

March 06

The history of music is usually written by the men, a dirge of music journalists and musicians, groaning on about myths made to sound more exciting than they actually were, harrumphing self-importantly about their role in things and conveniently ignoring the sexism, misogyny and homophobia that was rife. Just read any old copy of NME for evidence of that. As a movement punk is probably more guilty than most for this, which is why Viv Albertine’s Memoir Clothes Music Boys, published last year, has been such a revelation. Today she’s speaking to Quietus writer Jude Rogers about the book and the transformation in her life that led to the book. Albertine is nothing less than frank about her life between The Slits and now, saying of her quiet years “I was so dead inside I didn’t realise I was dead. I was a completely different person to the one you see now. I wasn’t even depressed, I was just dead.” It’s an inspiring chat, taking in Albertine’s return to music, how she aimed the book as a self help manual for girls, the difference between 70s sex and sex today, menstruation, masturbation, cancer, how everyone in the punk days smelled of stale piss, being honest, why the worst things that are said to women are said in private and whether TS Eliot ever wrote about his own penis. You can still be the person you were when you were young, Albertine insists, and hold on to what inspired you when you were 18. “Whatever you put into life you will get back. You just have to stay alive.”