Wednesday 8 August 2012

Viv Albertine - Report on book reading at The Social and news of forthcoming Autobiography

Viv Albertine in 1980 by Paul Slattery
The Bookseller have announced that Faber & Faber will be publishing the long-awaited autobiography by ex-Slits guitarist, Viv Albertine. Here's the new press release from the Publisher: "Faber and Faber has added to their growing music list by acquiring the rights for the memoirs of legendary punk, Viv Albertine. "Clothes Clothes Clothes, Music Music Music, Boys Boys Boys" will describe Albertine's career from starting a band with Sid Vicious, to her time with The Slits, and her later years as a filmmaker, wife and mother. Rights were acquired from Becky Thomas at WME Entertainment, and the book is set to be published in spring 2014. It follows books by rock critic Nick Kent and The Pogues musician James Fearnley, on Faber's growing music list. Publishing director Lee Brackstone said: "Viv's story is inspiring and it is a pleasure to spend time with her on the page. The heart of the book is, of course, the much mythologised punk scene of London in the late 1970s. "For the first time, we witness familiar events and characters, Sid Vicious, Lydon, Thunders, Mick Jones, Strummer, Ari-Up, Siouxsie etc from a female perspective". Albertine said: "The enthusiasm for this project from everyone at Faber has given me the confidence to keep writing and developing, to tell the truth, however painful. I have to write this book now, I've fought it for years, but it just won't stay in any longer." 

Viv Albertine at The Faber Social - Photo by Steve Worrall
When we attended the Faber event  at The Social, back in April, to mark the launch of James Fearnley's Pogues book "Here Comes Everybody", Viv was on the bill reading from her memoirs. Although at the time there was no official announcement that Faber were going to publish them, it seemed highly likely, so this confirmation is really good news. The passages that Viv read on the night were mainly anecdotes from her days right at the heart of the London Punk Rock explosion. She talked about her friendship with Sid Vicious and how upset she was to be sacked from their band The Flowers Of Romance. There was also a searingly honest account of the destructive fascination with Johnny Thunders. Thunders not only drove a wedge between her and Mick Jones, her Art School boyfriend, but also introduced Viv to Heroin for the first time too. In the short Q&A session after the reading, she was also brutally frank about the way she had repressed her love of music and creativity during her time spent out of the public eye as a wife and mother. But now with the unfortunate break-up of her marriage - "my Telecaster broke it apart" - she is at least, able to express herself again creatively. From the passages we were treated to on the night, this book promises to be a great, emotional read, and I am really looking forward to it's publication.

As well as her art and sculptures, Viv is currently working on her debut solo album. There is, however, an excellent E.P. available right now, entitled "Flesh", featuring four great tracks "Never Come", "I Don't Believe/In Love", "If Love" and "False Heart". This was released on Thurston Moore's Ecstatic Peace! label and you can order copies via Viv's web-site. Also, if you are interested in the history of The Slits, then I would thoroughly recommend Zoë Street Howe's extremely entertaining biography of the band "Typical Girls? The Story of The Slits". (Published by Omnibus Press 2009).

Thanks to Paul Slattery for the great 1980 Viv Albertine Photo.

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