Cut by The Slits would be very near the top of my ultimate all time favourite albums and The Slits one of my all time favourite bands. Fascinated by their unique sound and style, they provided a complete contrast to my suburban teenage years and along with Polystyrene from X Ray Spex and Siouxsie Sioux of Siouxsie and the Banshees, strengthened my resolve to go to art school and escape the confines of a 'normal' life.
Ari Up, Pamolive, Viv Albertine and Tessa Pollitt formed the Slits in 1976 when Ari Up was only 14 and by the late 70's were touring with the Clash. Part of the West London punk scene, these women were all about being themselves and making music they loved.
Heavily influenced by reggae, both musically and from a style perspective, the band enlisted the help of reggae producer Dennis Bovell to make Cut.
Not only did I love their music (in fact I still do) I loved their attitude and sense of style. They were never about being sexy or overtly feminist, even when posing naked covered in mud on the front of the Cut cover. Ari Up once said "the cover was not part of any feminist stance: We just did our own thing. If we wanted to be sexy we were, but not because we did what the magazines said."
I was sad to hear of the death at 48 (my age) of Ari Up, one of my teenage/20 something role models and it made me wonder who are the contemporary Ari Ups and Siouxsie Sioux's? These days it seems like it's all about money, celebrity, conventional beauty and glamour and marrying a footballer.
Or am I just not hip anymore and have no idea who the edgy, indie bands are?
I suspect so!
If you are a Slits fan take a look at this old footage, but move away from the computer if not, they are an aquired (over a long period of time) taste. Even the most diehard fans should skip to 35 seconds!
I can so feel a Buffalo Girls style hat moment coming on……….