Revenge of the She-Punks: A Feminist Music History from Poly Styrene to Pussy Riot

Vivien Goldman

Revenge of the She-Punks: A Feminist Music History from Poly Styrene to Pussy Riot
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Revenge of the She-Punks: A Feminist Music History from Poly Styrene to Pussy Riot

Vivien Goldman

As an industry insider and pioneering post-punk musician, Vivien Goldman’s perspective on music journalism is unusually well-rounded. In Revenge of the She-Punks, she probes four themes-identity, money, love, and protest-to explore what makes punk such a liberating art form for women. With her visceral style, Goldman blends interviews, history, and her personal experience as one of Britain’s first female music writers in a book that reads like a vivid documentary of a genre defined by dismantling boundaries. A discussion of the Patti Smith song Free Money, for example, opens with Goldman on a shopping spree with Smith. Tamar-Kali, whose name pays homage to a Hindu goddess, describes the influence of her Gullah ancestors on her music, while the late Poly Styrene’s daughter reflects on why her Somali-Scots-Irish mother wrote the 1978 punk anthem Identity, with the refrain Identity is the crisis you can’t see. Other strands feature artists from farther afield (including in Colombia and Indonesia) and genre-busting revolutionaries such as Grace Jones, who wasn’t exclusively punk but clearly influenced the movement while absorbing its liberating audacity. From punk’s Euro origins to its international reach, this is an exhilarating world tour.

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