Review: Typical Girls?: The Story of The Slits – Zoë Howe.

So, this has been sitting for a while waiting to be read, especially after reading Viv Albertine’s Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys. last year. It’s no real secret that I’m a fan of Zoe’s books; I always think that she manages to capture a real sense of the bands without stepping too far into the fan-zone, and remain unbiased.

Here, that’s a little less true, but I do think this might be my favourite of her books. Still thinking about that one… While her adoration for the band shines through, and some bits can feel a bit repetitive, I just think it captures something magnificent in music.

This book is a breeze to get through, and it’s really interesting to read about their standing in being pioneers of sorts for women in punk, while not necessarily aiming to be anything but themselves. But in being themselves unashamedly and doing what they want, that gave them a certain standing whether they wanted it or not. It’s a bit cyclical, but enjoyable nonetheless. That whole part was particularly interesting, as somone whose first few years with alternative music was unintentionally male-dominated.

The era and scene in which they were surrounded is particularly great to read more about from a different perspective. Things like the Clash, and John Peel, the misconceptions that an odd comment can make, to internal differences.

I think what I get most from this book is that Howe has managed to reign in the fandom element in her future books. But then again, as someone who loves music, it’s very easy to be drawn into enthusiasm as it oozes from the page. And The Slits are brilliant, so it all just made for a really fun book.

Omnibus Press

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