27.1.07

Owen Pallett and Ed Droste from Grizzly Bear ponder the 'glassy-eyed' nature of English girls in this feature on gay site Out.com.

Owen: Yeah! I think all English girls are, maybe, kind of down-trodden. England seems really misogynist to me—the music scene and the art scene. Girls aren’t allowed to do anything without a man holding her hand. When’s the last time you saw an English band with a really conspicuous female frontwoman?

Ed: The Pipettes!

Owen: They’re new, aren’t they? I haven’t heard them but I like their style.

Ed: They’re totally popular. But I don’t know if they actually write their own songs.

Owen: The Long Blondes are the only band from England I know who are popular and have girls writing their songs. And Lily Allen, I guess, too, but I haven’t listened to her. Other than that, it’s all like, Pussycat Dolls. And I think one of the dudes from OMD writes all their songs. Anyway, they don’t seem to get behind the girls in England in their music or art scenes and I think it fucks the whole English female population up. It makes them non-intellectual or something.

(I'm not non-intellectual, you fuck!) But, does he have a point? Doesn't Dorian Cox write the songs for the Long Blondes? And Monster Bobby writes the songs for the Pipettes. And we've a new wave of female singer-songwriters (Bat for Lashes, Kate Nash et al) but, I don't know, they're all a little pretty, teenage and knock-kneed for my tastes. I keep reading about the right for feminists to be appealing and beautiful etc (see This Is What A Feminist Looks Like on myspace - whoo, feminists are white, pretty girls in their 20s, just like all the other images of women in the media ever!) but what about the right not to be? I would love to see more crazy dykes and fucked-up trannies and old fat fierce fugly women (shame my band broke up lol) in bands. Perhaps it's all the riot grrrl footage I've been watching lately (more on this later) but what I'm not getting is craziness and chaos and a sense of wild-eyed spontenaeity. I'm getting girls in frocks with acousitic guitars playing the pretty and slightly disaffected singer-songwriter role they've been allotted since the 1960s. Where's the British Gravy Train!!!! Isn't there something more? Is Owen right? Do Brit girls suck? I don't want this to be the truth. Please post me some links to prove it's not so!


And oh, the riot grrrrl thing. I have taken it upon myself to make a book documenting the early 90s British riot grrrl scene because, well, I want to. And I was there, guvnor! A little bit! I went to meetings! I had an 'I Love Blood Sausage' sticker on my diary! I saw the Voodoo Queens at the Monarch! I made fanzines! I spray-painted feminist symbols on the porno posters on the Holloway Road! Anyway so what it is. At the moment we're all about collecting as much archive material from the time as possible - we want to create a kind of rich dictionary of what went on, with timelines and bands and interviews and yeah, all the beautiful fanzine shit that inspired me so. Hopefully there will be some kind of CD, but riot grrrrl was about more than the music, it was about a whole slew of things, fanzines and comics and a whole way of living really, and we want the book to reflect that. We'll also be looking at how riot grrrrl impacted across Europe - my co-editor, Corinn of Passenger Books, was heavily involved in riot grrrl in Switzerland, where she was living at the time. So if you were living in the UK or Europe and were influenced by riot grrrl in any way, get in touch! You can sign up at the Riot Project website, check us out on Myspace, or simply drop me a line via the contact form.

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