Viva Viv Albertine!
Forget that the stories tend to be self-aggrandizing and factually dubious; the actual writing in celebrity memoirs is often brittle and awkward, in part because they’re trying to capture the celebrity’s speaking voice. Jane reminded me of that this morning when she read me a paragraph she found online from the recent autobiography of Mike Huckabee (someone we don’t often quote around the house).
Even autobiographies from entertainers you like tend to be boring, which makes it all more exciting when you come across a paragraph as full of life as this one from Viv Albertine’s memoir Clothes Clothes Clothes Music Music Music Boys Boys Boys, in which she chronicles how the members of her band, the Slits, carried themselves:
When we were on a TV show in Holland, Mike Oldfield’s sister, Sally, was on the same bill. She had a single out at the time (“Mirrors”). Sally was dressed in a peasant gypsy-type dress and warbling away in a breathy little-girl voice. We went up to her afterwards and told her she was shit, that she was compounding stereotypes and doing a disservice to girls, that she should take a good look at what she was doing and how she was projecting herself and be honest about who she was. She burst into tears. We do that sort of thing all the time.
(For more on the Slits’ influence, you may wish to see the brief note I wrote for BoingBoing after Ari Up died, in which I quote the great Amy Rigby.)