There's a moment in Viv Albertine's book where she talks about seeing the Sex Pistols live for the first time. She's watching John Lydon carefully. "All the things I'm embarrassed about" she says, "John's made into virtues." That's how I felt when I was reading Clothes, Clothes, Clothes, Music, Music, Music, Boys, Boys, Boys.The Slits had always seemed berserk and almost otherworldly to me. I knew the places the band had got together - it wasn't actually too far from where I'd grown up. But, decades apart, I couldn't find the connection between my life and the life of The Slits. They were human, but not in the same way as the people I saw around me. How did the world end up with a band like The Slits? Where did you find the sorts of people that could make a band like The Slits happen? I never could quite work it out. Then I got word of Clothes, Clothes, Clothes, Music, Music, Music, Boys, Boys, Boys. I pre-ordered a copy the moment the book was announced. When it arrived, signed, it was already one of my most treasured possessions.The book managed to answer all of my questions without taking away any of the magic. If anything, it added to it. Viv Albertine was a real person. A real person that had been a part of something so fantastic and unusual.Incredibly, that wasn't even the best thing about the book. It was so engaging that, even if you took The Slits out, it would still be one of my favourite books. I've lent it to my girlfriend, who knows nothing about The Slits, and she loved it. I've given it to people as a gift and every single person has gotten something out of it. Just like with The Slits, I'm not quite sure how Viv Albertine did it, but I'm very glad she did.
In recent years, particularly with the success of your book, The Slits have received a lot of positive press. Has it been satisfying to feel that given the reception you would often receive simply from walking down the street in the 70s?
Yes but too late for Ari, she would have loved to know we'd been reassessed and appreciated. We all knew we were a great band, just took the world 30 years to catch up
Outside of music, you’ve been to film school and also worked with ceramics. Was writing ever something you thought you would end up doing?
No but I was only any good at English and art at school so it's not too foreign to me. I read loads as a teenager and all through my 20s, that's probably saved me. I wouldn't read so much as a young person now because of the internet.
It’s been a few years now since The Vermilion Border. There's been reports of you working on a new book, but have you been working on any new music too?
Yes I'm working on a new book, I'm not working on music because I'm very into writing and I prefer the longer form at the moment. Also I think standing on stage being clapped and people looking up at you and posing around and playing guitars and all that is awkward.
You’ve been invited to a lot of book festivals, talks and the like. How do you find the experience of talking, often about yourself, in front of these crowds? Has it been strange, especially with how honest you are in your book, to interact with crowds who feel like they know you without having met you?
At first it was painful but the more I said the embarrassing things the less embarrassing they became.Finally, what was the last thing, book, song, artist, place etc that you totally fell in love with?
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