In Conversation with Viv Albertine - Leeds International Festival

Festival 19


Monday 07 May

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In Conversation with Viv Albertine at The Wardrobe

British singer and songwriter Viv Albertine is best known as the guitarist in 70s English punk group, The Slits. Their 1979 debut album Cut has been called one of the post-punk era’s defining releases. If all-girl rock bands are few and far between now, they were nigh on unique in the 70s.

Viv Albertine hid who she had been and her early fame on the Punk scene – her daughter didn’t know her mum had been in The Slits for a long time.

She came back to music as a middle-aged woman, again forging a path not much trodden before her. Jack Bruce from Cream and Jenny Lee Lindberg from Warpaint immediately came forward to collaborate.

Her 2014 memoir Clothes Clothes Clothes. Music Music Music. Boys Boys Boys was critically acclaimed – it was Sunday Times’ Music Book of the Year, Rough Trade’s Book of the Year and MOJO Book of the Year. It was also eye-opening and shocking reading, offering insight into the life of The Slits and Albertine’s life since.


Credit: Viv Albertine Performing at Hebden Bridge Trades Club on Friday the 3rd of September 2011
Viv Albertine Performing at Hebden Bridge Trades Club on Friday the 3rd of September 2011

The event anticipates the release of her much-anticipated follow-up book, To Throw Away Unopened (due for release in April 2018). A turbulent and unapologetically honest memoir, it reveals the role of family conflict in forging her route into the uncompromising world of Punk. The book is intimate; more than a memoir, it touches on the polemics of motherhood as well as functioning as a feminist manifesto and a domestic noir.

Viv herself has said “[l]iterature offers an avenue for subversion that popmusic no longer can”. The interactive Q&A-based ‘in conversation’ event with Chris Madden will plumb this new avenue for avant-garde subversion, and explore the life stories of one of the pioneers of one of the British music scene’s seismic movements – Punk – as well as her life since.

‘I’m smitten with Viv Albertine’s beautiful, tough, ribald, unsparing memoir. It’s so rare to encounter writing this frank and fearless about love, violence, loneliness, mess of all kinds. Throw Away Unopened is a book for women of all ages and experiences.’ – Olivia Laing

Monday 7 May