Interview: Vivien GOLDMAN / Intervvju Vivien GOLDMAN (slo)

So glad to talk with you again, Vivien and congratulations for your book Revenge Of The She - Punks. Is is a great book about punk days but with your vivid and positive view on the future too. So, my first question is all about that: what it means to be punk – she punks- nowadays? For you, Vivien?
Right now even people who were coasting along are aware of the need for resistance, specially in America at the moment with the attempted rolling back of women['s rights -- just when even Ireland has legalized abortion! If you want to have a go at expressing your anger at whatever it may be -- and there is much to be angry about --  punk gives you an opportunity, particularly if you don't have much experience. She-Punks use music for activism as well as dancing and try to make an original sound.

Is the knowledge of the past, all the music herstory necesarry to be punk in the present or there are influences and inspirations from the othere sorces, art..etc important too?
No, as punk is meant to be fresh and original. But if you are interested, there is a lot of inspiring music that may kick-start you.

The global view on punk is an important in the book, which I like it so much, specially when you included also in „She - Punks" women from Japan, India, Colombia, Indonesia, Chech Republic, among others... How did you reach that female musicians and are there any differences...from country to country...or are all driven by the same „punk" vibe?
All are driven by the urge for sincere anti-authoritarian self-expression.

While reading your book, I could feel how much you live the subject till nowadays; you are driven by a true passion for the music's transformative potencial; how are your views on the subject change over the years?
I still believe in it and wanted to share the awareness of all these great musicians as while it is great to try and do something brand-new, that very rarely exists, and knowing that there is a She-Punk foundation to build on is more encouraging than thinking you are the only one inventing the wheel at this late stage in pop's development.

As The Beatles would sing..."Will you still „She Punks" at 64, 74, 84...?
I think people remain moulded by their youth tribe so yes once a punk, always a punk. Unless you drifty to the other extreme with time!

...never the less, in the book we can capture finest moments of your life, writting is quite autobiografical in many parts, and very well mixed with your years of research with larger cultural observations. Can you tell us, please, a little bit more, what was your primal idea of the book? The concept..the decisions, that's go in, that's go out....etc..?
I wanted to connect all these disparate generations and locations of She-Punks and see what connects us and how we diffr, as expressed in songs on the themes that after much thought, seemed to be the essential ones -- Identity, Money, Love/Unlove and Protest.

You wrote also, that noted feminist theorist Germain Greer was your tutor, who disapproved your partying all term. Do you think, that the gap between popular cultur and academic one is still present nowadays? (after all, you are Punk Professor..)
Nowadays they have academic courses trawling every level of popular culture.

You are a real natural force, a true warrior, who over 40 years stood right on front of „women power" in punk music. How mutual is (was) respect between you (a journalist, fan, musician, producer, teacher...) and the subjects of your writting, researching..with all those girls, musicians, punks, you wittnesed, talked..etc?
In general, when I was coming up in 70s/80s London, there was a great supportive sense of camaraderie among the women musicians. Many of us are still friends to this day, and it was great reconnecting with them through the book.

What do you think about writting about popular music in general; in magazines reviwes..etc? A lot of people don't approve the duality in music, in art ...There is no such as man or women music, literature, film...they say... What can you say about this distinction?
Since genders themselves are becoming more flexible, that question may be even harder to answerm, as I say in the book! In my generation, though, there was a novel, more supple and shifting approach to rhythm and structure, coming from women.

But what was first, for you personaly, love for music or the urgent need to articulate your opinions about scene, music ..? Tell me something more personal about you and your love for rock music and the position women have in this art?
Actually, it was a paid job! I loved music, I thought of myself as a writer, and I was offered money to write about music! Ba-boom! There was so much unbelievable music to report on, but I didn't know I would still be covering, teaching about and making  music many decades later.<

All this years you have interviewed a lot of women in popular music. Which are your favourites? Who has been the most interesting or the most impressive and why?
I got a chance to write about my mentor, Jayne Cortez in the book. She made labels and published and was an all-round indie for her own harmolodic "free jazz" and radical poetry with her group, the Firespitters. She was extremely generous to young women artists. She found a way to live a very balanced and self-determined life as a multi-media artist and activist. I miss her a lot.

What makes a good interview? Is the interaction between the journalist and the artist important? How do you transmit a feeling about music or lyrics, what is very difficult to explain, to the media (newspaper, TV)? What are your inner tricks for writing?
Research, reflection and preparation; a good contact/confrontation; strong structure and forceful writing.

How different is feminism launched by Taylor Swift or Beyonce from that one of Kim Gordon, Patti Smith, Brigitte Fontaine ...or Carrie Brownstein, for instance?

Every little helps!

Punk rock might be a relatively young genre, but there are more and more stories, esseys and all kind of books on the way out. More and more details are written every day on the subject of punk, yet there is still a lot oh hidden history, or herstory, for sure. From a distance of time, we can really evaluate the sound, the work and the influence of punk. How are you satisfied with your work and what's next on the programme, Vivien Goldman?
I was invited to write something about women and punk by the University of Texas Press after they liked something I wrote in a magazine, inspired by a song Private Armies, from my Resolutionary reissue CD, that was in a list off Influential Feminist Punk tracks. Thinking about it, I wanted to connect the scattered herstories so future women artists would have something to build from, and see whether punk was still a vital force for women on the front line. My instinct was correct. I have just recorded my first ever LP with the producer Youth of Killing Joke and I have been performing for the first time. I am about to do three gigs in Europe...

Would you one day write your story too, your memoar?
Never say never but I am too busy to stop and reflect back right now!

(Rock Obrobje, November 2019)

Varja Velikonja

live photo by Gianna La Morte