an old article which seems relevent at the moment

April 22nd, 2010 · 2 Comments · By

From Greil Marcus’ 1980 interview with Gang of Four:

“No matter what our politics, no matter how the music works, we still get an overwhelmingly male audience,” Hugo Burnham said.
“I can’t see any tactic to change that,” said Jon King. “Women get hassled at gigs if they’re not with a bloke. And so a lot of women stay away.”
Burnham: “Last time we played London, a friend of mine was down front, and she was manhandled five times, by five different blokes, in the course of the hour we were onstage.”
“It’s very odd,” I said, “since the Gang of Four were led by a woman.”
“Do you mean,” Andy Gill asked, “‘If we were led by a woman’?”
“No,” I said, wondering what I possibly could have meant, “I mean—”
Burnham: “Actually, that’s something that’s occasionally been said: ‘Why haven’t you got a woman in your band?'”
Gill: “That would be quite — I mean, imagine… if we were women. Is our music male music?”
Burnham: “That’s an example of the kind of question we’re asked?”
Gill: “No—I’m asking you.”
Burnham: “You’re asking me, is our music male music?”
Gill: “Right.”
Burnham: “I don’t know. It’s a ridiculous question.”
King: “It’s not ridiculous.”
Burnham: “I suppose we wouldn’t be playing the same music. I suppose. But is the Raincoats’ music ‘female music’?”
Gill: “Quite.”
Burnham: “Why is it?”
Gill: “No— that’s the question. I’m not sure. Having said what I’ve said — it strikes me as dangerous to equate certain types of music with men or women, with sexuality.”
Inspired by this colloquy, I asked an absurdly pretentious question about how, for the Gang of Four, a consciousness of sexism fit into their everyday lives — for some reason unaware that it had just been answered. There was a long pause.
“Well,” said Jon King finally, “when we go into a pub, we don’t go up to the barmaid and say [in a beery voice], ‘GIVE US A PINT, DARLING!’ We say [politely]: ‘Hello, comrade.'”
“Brotherette,'” said Dave Allen.

— from a Rolling Stone article entitled “It’s Fab, it’s Passionate, It’s Wild, It’s Intelligent! It’s the Hot New Sound of England Today!” from 24 July 1980 (reprinted in Greil Marcus’ excellent book “In the Fascist Bathroom”)

Tags: rants & rambles

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Bradical // Apr 22, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    Nice find James.

  • 2 dragonmarie // Apr 22, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    brilliant, just brilliant, comrade!