Monday, March 30, 2020

Career retrospective

I doubt any of the guests on the previous 88 episodes of music mag Loud And Quiet's Midnight Chats podcast made a point of saying that they've never thought of themselves as a musician, but then the guest on the 89th, Kim Gordon, is rather unique. With a career that has taken in everything from visual art and fashion to film and dance as well as Sonic Youth, Body/Head and now a solo LP (last year's No Home Record), it's a wonder that interviewer Stuart Stubbs somehow managed to cover it all in under 45 minutes.

Indeed, all of that and more: the conversation also ranged over her thoughts on poetry and Parasite, her experience of doorstep canvassing for Bernie Sanders, her deliberate avoidance of technique, how she took inspiration from the young cheerleaders starring in Netflix docuseries Cheer for working with her new band, and the fact that sometimes she fantasises about being a plumber and "doing something concrete".

If you were to identify a pull-out quote, it would have to be Gordon's suggestion that she regrets staying so long in Sonic Youth, "a machine that's hard to get out of". She frames the band's demise positively, as finally giving her the time, freedom and impetus to fully pursue her other creative interests. It's a shame to hear her imply that life in the group was stifling - but, as a Sonic Youth devotee, I must admit to being grateful that they held firm for so long, not least because their 2009 swansong The Eternal is, to my mind, the best record they had released since Washing Machine in 1995.

The talk about Gordon's book Girl In A Band (the reaction to which amazed her) shamed me into remembering that it's still in my to-read pile. A previous episode of Midnight Chats featuring The Slits' Viv Albertine (alluded to by Stubbs in the course of his conversation with Gordon) finally nudged me into reading her own memoir Clothes Music Boys - a wonderful read, and one that should get a review here before too long.

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