Penny For Your Thoughts // May 2013

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Women Make Noise; a book launch and more… 

The shop was full at Flashback Records, Islington, and from behind the counter, Victoria Yeulet, Rhian Jones and Bryony Beynon read from their chapters included in the new book “Women Make Noise : Girl Bands From Motown To Modern”. They also contextualised their take on what editor Julia Downes had set out to do with the publication: Apparently there’s been criticism that half the book’s chapters are concerned with DIY culture but, as I tried to point out in the discussion, this is surely how it should be since the music industry show no signs whatsoever of becoming any less patriarchal, and so it’s still the DIY culture and communities like punk, post punk, no Wave and riot grrrl which are both most supportive and less judgemental, and in which it is more likely for girl bands to survive and thrive.

Because my formative years were in punk and post punk times, I’ve been fortunate enough to experience very little antagonism towards female contributions in the scenes i’ve enjoyed and contributed to. However, not being female I do not experience this first hand. There still remains a relatively small number of all girl bands, a small number of female musicians in bands and, it also seems, there remains a relatively small number of women ‘movers and shakers’ in the underground scenes. We do still need some positive discrimination to get more of the strong role models like Lisa Paulon who created The Camden Crawl, like Jen Long who champions the alternative, Karen Ablaze whose compendium of fanzines was published last month, Monica at A Giant Leap, Aisha at One Inch Badge, Marie and her team at Julie Tippex, Bettina at Thrill Jockey, the Ladyfest team and (thankfully) others, some of whom contribute to this excellent book.

By Paul Artrocker