Here to Be Heard: The Story of the Slits
- 1h 26min
The tale of the formation, journey and end of the seminal Punk/Reggae band The Slits.The tale of the formation, journey and end of the seminal Punk/Reggae band The Slits.The tale of the formation, journey and end of the seminal Punk/Reggae band The Slits.The tale of the formation, journey and end of the seminal Punk/Reggae band The Slits.The tale of the formation, journey and end of the seminal Punk/Reggae band The Slits.
My first reaction to The Runaways (2010) was also amazing wow. After a while I got to keep liking the music, but not so much the story. I wait to see how I fare with this.
I found my DVD because of a newspaper article, TNE #140, 11th April 2019, The First Women Of Punk. I was a classical fan, but in the late 1970's I used to listen to a BBC Saturday afternoon rock show and it started to play The Slits. Scary songs with music so powerful that I had to disregard the scary. I now understand those to have been the John Peel recordings. The Slits as a pop equivalent of Rite Of Spring. If I had known that they played punk I would have become a punk fan.
Later I found their LP, surprised that it was so much less scary than their radio stuff, yet still having energy, and I assumed that it was the record label playing politics. This film and Viv Albertine's book do put that into perspective. I am disappointed that the film does not cover the radio recordings, but the book does. With the influence of the band managers not getting much of a look in, I wondered how much of the muting of their energy in Cut came from him, particularly Palmolive getting ditched just before the Cut recording. Viv's book clarifies that, Paloma going through a period of not much interest in attending rehearsals.
After the first watching of this film, then re-watching slowly, I now read the scenario as: 0 Paloma moves from, for her, a very repressive Spain, to an arty squat part of 1970's London and is among the people involved with the start of a punk approach to music, whatever that is ... 1 Paloma starts The Slits. She had a big say in what was written and how it was performed, though they all contributed, Ari more and more. 2 The BBC recordings told me of music that was likely to be scary for typical males, while having a Pistols like quality that set it on a pedestal. 3 The girls decide to ditch Paloma. The feel and direction of the music changes as a result. 4 The Cut recording session soon after that was all of the songs that Paloma had helped form, but without them having that distinctive quality that set them, for me, high above the rest. 5 Their later studio albums, Return Of The Giant Slits and Trapped Animal, made the sound more high brow, less immediate, and looking to international music influences, though I still find parts of them interesting and Earthbeat even keeps some of the Cut quality.
I could be wrong in feeling a bond with the early Slits. I came from an authoritarian background and mid teens it did give variations of the behavioural scars they have.
When I discovered Cut I was switched off from most everything so I did not notice The Slits again until the 2019 newspaper article. I was too busy being a walking zombie. I am glad of the opportunity to rediscover them. Gratitude to the film.
I found some videos on You Tube. Post Cut, some are charming and some are lost and one documentary re Viv's book explained McLaren's understanding of punk. Are the Peel recordings the only ones that I should understand to be Punk? Maybe, maybe not. The film suggests that The Slits consider Punk to be wide ranging enough to cover it all, they have a different understanding to McLaren. The Cut version of Typical Girls in the end credits and at the signing with Island, that has real power, to me. That clothed in mud cover and loin cloth pic now reads as an appropriate symbol of how I understand their likely state and that McLaren definition of Punk would increase the mud?
- May 6, 2019