The Autobiography of a Punk Princess

Author, artist, musician, songwriter, singer, mother and  member of the 70's all-female Punk band The Slits, Viv Albertine will probably kick my butt for calling her a 'Punk Princess' because her life has been anything but luxurious.

Viv - I feel like I know her after reading her book! She gives such an intimate, candid and authentic account of her life in Clothes, Clothes, Clothes, Music, Music, Music, Boys, Boys, Boys.

Growing up with feelings of inadequacy and insecurity is something that many of us (including yours truly) can identify with. Viv offers, sometimes painfully, a vivid description of her childhood, early adulthood and what life was like in her 40's+. It's human nature to desire to "fit in" and that is something we all can relate to. For some, it comes easily, while for others it's an uphill struggle. Especially for a girl in a male-dominated industry.

Even if you're not interested in punk rock music or the punk scene, Viv Albertine's book makes for a moving and compelling read. I highly recommend it. In a world of "scripted" reality, it's refreshing to find something that is actually real. And honest. There's plenty of sex, heroin, fear, rejection and violence in Viv's memoirs. But it's not in there for shock value - a very important distinction.

Can we drop some names? From a historical standpoint this is fascinating to me. I love to read books that include the lives of famous people before they were famous. Viv had a longtime relationship with The Clash's Mick Jones. She knew Malcolm McLarenVivienne Westwood and Johnny Rotten. She was a close friend to Sid Vicious and was there the night he and American groupie Nancy Spungen met. Viv humanizes these people and many more, not defining them by sex, drugs and violence like the media has. She shares with us their personality and vulnerabilities.

Viv Albertine / The Slits at Alexandra Palace, London, 1980. Photograph: David Corio/Redferns

Viv Albertine / The Slits at Alexandra Palace, London, 1980. Photograph: David Corio/Redferns

The book title, Clothes, Clothes, Music, Music, Music, Boys, Boys, Boys comes from something Viv's mother used to say to her. In the book, Viv also talks about life after punk - her life as a suburban wife and mother and her return to songwriting and music. I found Viv Albertine as captivating as her words and experiences. She was on an adventurous search for self and I'd say she got there. 

Get yourself two copies of Viv's book, one to give and one to keep. HERE.