Fascinating look at the social and cultural definitions and uses of the colour black throughout history, going right back to the dawn of mankind throuFascinating look at the social and cultural definitions and uses of the colour black throughout history, going right back to the dawn of mankind through to the 21st century. Richly illustrated and accessible, despite the breadth of topics discussed....more
I thought Patti Smith's M Train was absolutely fantastic, the kind of book that I can feel changing the way my mind thinks about every day things evenI thought Patti Smith's M Train was absolutely fantastic, the kind of book that I can feel changing the way my mind thinks about every day things even when I'm not reading it. Time spent in a cafe waiting for my partner to finish work no longer just killing time, but valuable, necessary time to slow down and think, reflect, anticipate. How rare it seems to have a woman's rambling, exploratory, personal thoughts and writing published.
Smith in her later years, after the death of her husband, her children grown up, finds herself a loner who follows the paths of writers she admires, making small actions that she feels represents their wishes, drinking black coffee in countless cafes. She travels, she drinks coffee, she writes, she thinks, she watches detective shows - repeating motifs that are familiar, comfortable, relatable. Among these daily routines, there are moments of genuine heartache, recollections of friends and family now lost, memories of her husband. She writes with fluidity, easily moving between dreams, thoughts, the past, the present, reality.
A part that I loved, where Smith is talking about the elaborate, slightly ridiculous fantasy situations her and her husband would spend days dreaming up the particulars of:
Not all dreams need to be realized. That was what Fred used to say. We accomplished things that no one would ever know.
Where Just Kids had a definite scope, the story of a friendship that she wanted to tell, the meandering, meditative, journal like quality here is just perfect as she reflects on love, loss, solitude, and creative work....more
Viv Albertine's autobiography Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys. covers much of what you would expect from the guitarisViv Albertine's autobiography Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys. covers much of what you would expect from the guitarist of The Slits - navigating the world of early British punk rock as a young woman, moving from being a 'girlfriend' to coming to the realization that she could also make music, recording music and stories from on tour.
But the more interesting and heartfelt parts of Albertine’s autobiography explore her ‘real life’ experiences with a complexity, honesty and genuine humour that is rare. The way she relates her experiences with cancer, cancer treatment, IVF and subsequent pregnancy, motherhood, marriage, love, work, relationships is profoundly candid and authentic.
As her marriage disintegrates and her daughter grows older, Albertine relearns the guitar and teaches herself to sing, showing the empowerment in learning something from scratch, watching yourself improve, and gaining confidence as you develop – something I heartily believe in and endorse. She tackles the struggle between a domestic and a creative life, and how to return to creativity after being confined to the roles of mother, wife. I found the last third of this book which explores the tension between domestic responsibilities and creative desires inspiring because it represents a struggle that is so rarely spoken about – covered eloquently in a review of one of Albertine’s live shows by Carrie Brownstein:
If there is a voice in music that's seldom heard, it's that of a middle-aged woman singing about the trappings of motherhood, traditions and marriage. A woman who isn't trying to please or nurture anyone, but who instead illuminates a lifestyle that's so ubiquitous as to be rendered nearly invisible. She places in front of you - serves you up - an image of the repressive side of domesticity, the stifling nature of the mundane, and turns every comfort and assumption you hold on its head.