Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl

Just listened to HMMaMG on disc. Its a rock memoir, but Brownstein is not glamorizing Sleater-Kinney or her life.

People know Carrie from Portlandia .  From her previous career as a musician in Sleater-Kinney and Wild Flag. This story of her life up to the final S-K show in 2006.

She begins Chapter 1 by writing “I’ve always felt unclaimed. This is the story of the ways I created a territory…something that could steady me, somewhere I belonged.” Something many people feel on some level. The first quarter of the book is growing up in Bellevue, WA.

She formed a band in 11th grade called Born Naked: “We agonized over band names (though clearly not for long enough).

After high school, she dropped out of Western Washington U and  moved to Olympia, WA and was deeply immersed in the music and art scene.  Bands like Heavens to Betsy, Bikini Kill were inspring her.

The book moves through the different stages of Sleater-Kinney and Carrie’s relationship and friendship with Corin.  The details are a joy to read if the music means something to you, but if it doesn’t Brownstein draws the reader deep into the punk life and aesthetic–the make do, the camaraderie, and because of the relative success of the band, she is able to tell the story about how that very basic view of the world expands as success draws the outsiders back into itself.

The book doesn’t really get on to Portlandia, but as Brownstein says in the interview that is a bonus on the disc set, her description of life in Olympia is where ideas and material for the IFC show comes from in part.

Reading this along with Viv Albertine’s book brought back my sense of the late seventies early eighties, however much I was drawn to this music–especially female voices, X-Ray Spex, Penetration, Siouxie, the Slits–I only touched on the life as I moved through the world of fringe theatre rather than music.

ViV AlbertinE Writes a Book

M-20Mag-20140724144211763661-300x0Listen to  The Slits. From 76 – 82 they were at the center of the punk world, while being on the fringe.Listen. This is essential rock and not rock at all.

On the one hand they are an accidental band, on the other, Ari Up was full of ambition, and although she started out not knowing how to play the guitar, VIv Albertine is the muical centre to the group.

The book tells her story all the time referring to clothes, music and relationships.  The history of punk step by stpe.  Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Don Letts, Johnny Thunders, Keith Levene. Albertine writes in such a straightforward way


Playing with The Slits

that it brings that world back. And her focus brings a poetry constantly moving through time. I remember some of this, but I lived it vicariously, Viv was right there and finally her book took me there.