Monday mornings are painful – throw in a night of bad sleep and rain and they just become dreary.
But we have music Monday and we all know that music makes the world go round….if you were told it was money then you have been lied to my friends.
Today’s music Monday is going to be about The Punk Singer aka Kathleen Hanna.
On Saturday I was fortunate enough to go to see The Punk Singer – which is a documentary about Kathleen Hanna. One lady, one voice but what a story…..the really beautiful thing is that story is far from over.
I grew up with the riot grrrl generation. I came from a tiny town with even tinier minds at work in some areas….I got verbally shouted out in a local pub for my knee high socks being offensive!! It was that kind of area. There is a beauty to it but growing up I just knew I didn’t fit in. I was almost biding my time to get out. I had a dream that at 15 (I am a young birthday so that meant I finished school at 15, it’s not just a random age) I was going to move to London and learn to play the drums. Well I moved to London – I go out with a drummer, so sort of did it!?! I found solace in music – but there were no music stores and limited access to magazines, the town was cut off. My friends were into really bad rock music and I took that on, for something to listen too, but I knew it wasn’t really my thing….it wound one of my brothers up a treat though which is kindof the point at a young age. When he went out I would sneak into his room and borrow his records and introduced myself to the likes of PJ Harvey and The Senseless Things. I started to find my own outlets and soon discovered Bikini Kill and Babes in Toyland. Through them I went on to discover Nirvana…………
There is so much to say about how this changed my world but that always sounds so lame. But after a life time of not feeling like I fit in, being subjected to the worst haircuts and hand me downs known to man – I had given up – I was biding my time and I kindof knew that anyone that hadn’t bothered to see through the hand me downs weren’t going to be my type of person anyway. And to this day I cannot stand anyone being judged by the labels they wear or by how they look – you can’t help genetics, if it doesn’t make you beautiful it means it probably makes you interesting – yeah yeah go on I’ve probably opened up a shit storm there – I am not saying if you are pretty you can’t be interesting I am just saying that those that had a tough time at school are normally the ones to make better adults – it’s my opinion – it’s what I see more often than not – but I digress…….
I finally found people that were not afraid to say what they thought – to be different, to strike out on their own. To be in bands and not just date someone in a band. To be the rock star. It was an amazing time – it was liberating. I moved to London and met nearly all these people that I had been looking up to – it was amazing. Talking to Kathleen Hanna and Kat Bjelland, meeting Sleater Kinney – they are all memorable moments for sure.
Time went on and the ‘grunge scene’ died down – the riot grrrl movement went quiet – a whole generation was being brought up thinking Courtney Love was riot grrrl – that it was all about her and her values. Whilst she has done and said some great things – I also feel that her drug years where very damaging to this movement. That a girl with a voice was just a loud mouth mental case high as a kite……well you have no doubt seen the press. Rightly or wrongly I think that the word feminism became very dirty. This was not Courtney’s case but her being wrongly put as the front woman for this movement did not help. To be honest the public persona of Kim Kardashian is far more damaging to women than people seem to realise.
There are some sexist women out there and they get labelled Feminist. No, they are sexist and that is a very different thing.
If you value being a woman and being educated, being able to work and even go as far as set up your own business then you can thank feminists for that – it makes you a feminist really if you think about it – but the word has become a dirty one and it really shouldn’t be. It’s just about being valued as a human being despite being a woman – because of being a woman – being given the same opportunities no matter what is between your legs….this is what feminism means to me. The word has been sullied over time and I think people should regain this word back with it’s rightful meaning.
I commented on what bands are out there today with a really influential female singer…..I was like Lady Gaga come on not in the same league as the likes of Kathleen at all.
So it’s SO good to see her back, speaking out and making music.
It was a time of cut and paste fanzines, not mobile phones and the internet so that fact there is any footage of this era is quite lovely – The Punk Singer documentary is made up of quite a bit of footage of old interjected with Kathleen talking. The harrowing heartbreak of her undiagnosed illness (I can relate to the long term illness and the misdiagnosis – it affects you in ways you would never believe) – if you get a chance to watch this documentary please do.
If you know nothing about the Riot Grrrl movement do not let that put you off. You will either have a lovely blast from your past or you will be introduced to some great bands such as:
The Julie Ruin
The Beastie Boys
The list goes on and on, some bands you will really know of and some you might not…all are worth exploring.
Kathleen is an inspiration – and I hope that with The Julie Ruin and The Punk Singer it will reignite some of the thoughts and feelings in the older fans and also introduce a whole new wave (yeah I’m funny) of people to be inspired and to listen to things that people like Kathleen have to say.
I don’t know yet if The Punk Singer will be released as a DVD but I sincerely hope so as I can’t wait to see it again.