I heard today that Vi Subversa of seminal anarcho-feminist-punk band Poison Girls has died, at the age of 80. I can’t overstate how much of an influence this band and this woman were on me.
Once in a while, an idea is born that is so elegantly simple and perfectly obvious, it seems incredible that no-one had thought of it before. The Peckham Coal Line is such an idea.
Public space is a fascinating place. I wrote my MSc dissertation on an urban town square and the ways people use it. The space in question was Peckham Square, originally designed to create a new civic heart for Peckham, that scruffy, maligned bit of south-east London that I call home.
The short film is my current favourite art form. Narrative and dialogue stripped down to essentials. No subplots, character development, ‘stars’ or mumbling. Just a zap of pure storytelling, or poetry. Anything is possible, anyone can do it. Pure visual punk.
The Emily Dickinson of 20th century photography, Vivian Maier is often described in terms irrelevant to her art: unmarried, nanny, eccentric, odd, mysterious, foreign – Mary Poppins with a Rolleiflex. Finding Vivian Maier sticks closely with these irrelevancies.
I never read autobiographies. Viv Albertine doesn’t think highly of the genre either, judging from her opening line ‘Anyone who writes an autobiography is either a twat or broke.’
After vilifying Finding Vivian Maier and its charlatan director/producer/star – I turn to the more enjoyable matter of her photography. Vivian Maier was a pure street photographer. Documenting the American city throughout her life, her anthropologist’s eye treated all human urban street life as one, from socialites in furs to drinkers, children, old people, labourers and everyone in between.