Book Review: Revenge of the She-Punks
Reviewed by Rachel Rascoe, Fri., Dec. 6, 2019
Bob Marley's first UK publicist, NYU's nicknamed "punk professor" and a cult musician in her own right, vanguard figure Vivien Goldman remains intrinsically provocative. The multi-hyphenate's latest work takes on the largely unsung force of women in shaping punk, subtitled: "A Feminist Music History From Poly Styrene to Pussy Riot." Goldman's own liberation launched amid punk's 1970s London origins, where she rubbed shoulders with pioneering groups like the Raincoats and Slits while editing the weekly paper Sounds. Rather than a chronological telling, Goldman's punk passion and personal involvement splash throughout the spirited read. She recounts thrift shopping with Patti Smith before exploring modern acts like British trio Big Joanie and Russian protest icons Pussy Riot. San Antonio band Fea, featuring Girl in a Coma's Phanie Diaz and Jenn Alva, share a thematically led section on identity alongside interviews with composer Tamar-kali and Bikini Kill star Kathleen Hanna. In April, Goldman told the Chronicle the book began after UT Press admired her excellent Pitchfork contribution, "The Story of Feminist Punk in 33 Songs." If there's anyone to explain punk's boundary-smashing, internationally empowering capabilities for women, it's Goldman. As oozes from the pages of She-Punks, she absolutely lived it.
Revenge of the She-Punksby Vivien Goldman
University of Texas Press, 216 pp., $17.95