Viv Albertine

To say we were absolutely delighted to be welcoming Viv Albertine to Chinwag is an understatement. Viv is an artist in the very purest sense of the word; she works across a broad range of mediums including music, sculpture/ceramics, film (as both director and actor) and writing. 

Her biography ‘Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys’ (published last year) is stunning in Viv’s detailing of her sense of self and was, hands down, our favourite book of 2014. Here’s how Viv describes her journey so far…

“Viv Albertine. Born Sydney, Australia. French/Corsican father, Swiss mother, Brought up in North London (Muswell Hill), Quite poor. Comprehensive school. Favourite subjects, buying records; clothes, boys, art, English. Age 17 went to art school met Mick Jones, saw The Sex Pistols first show. Bought Horses, Patti Smith. Dropped out. Bought Les Paul junior with £200 my grandmother left me. Formed a band with Sid Vicious, Sarah and Palmolive called The Flowers of Romance (named by John Lydon). Started to learn to play guitar. Taught by Keith Levene who I have known since we were kids. He taught me that any sounds can go together, he really developed my ear and loads of other stuff. Johnny Thunders taught me how to do screamers (his name) and Joe Strummer, to tap my foot and paly at the same time. I didn’t have sex with any of them. Saw The Slits play their first show, called them the next day. We got together I back-combed my hair like The New York Dolls. We looked like a band. After The Slits I went to film school. Didn’t drop out. Directed stuff for about ten years. Made some money not art. Now making sculpture and writing/ recording / performing my own songs.”

This was a really special evening as Viv regaled us with deeply personal insights; how she lost and re-found herself, how ‘punk philosophy’ and vision continues to be a driving force for her. She didn’t have all the answers which seemed to ruffle a few feathers but she was incredibly honest about herself and holds a strong belief in her opinions. Thanks to Viv for giving so much of herself