Thursday, October 21, 2010

20 10 2010. Ari Up has died.

i heard last night from my dear friend, Bryan who worked with Ari that Ari has passed through the velvet rope.
I understand Ari had cancer.

Ari Up was the lead singer of The Slits. If you want to hear what girls sound like inside themselves, you can play songs from their album "CUT" (and you can thank Dennis Bovell for the production) -- I am immediately back in London, looking at copies of Spare Rib (a feminist newspaper at the time) on the newstand, just growing into myself and Ari - years younger than me - saying things out loud that told me she was in this with me. In our doctor marten shoes instead of high heels. Taking our ties off as soon as we could after school. Home to records and out to parties and clubs and punk rockers.

At the end of the seventies, at the end of Portobello Road, under the concrete of the Westway - there was a street market - boxes of records. Where I got a copy of Dr Alimantado's album - where I passed Vivien Goldman in the street who raised a peace sign and said, "Jah Works" - with the backdrop of loud loud reggae and dub playing loudly and echoing. Where you could talk to the Jamaicans from the carribean who were claiming their turf there and then. The brackish black and white coming together. Exciting. In my memory the dub and the rumbling trains hum round me and tingled my feet in my boots scuffing on the pavement. Your punk rock badges on your school blazer. Hand made things. Jossticks. Indian scarves. The feeling that Ari Up was round here somewhere in this crowd of Rastas and smoke.

I knew she lived in Notting Hill back then.

The Slits were a delight to watch.
A shock and a delight.
A tingle and a terror.
A surprise and a thrill.

Ari will always wear a smile and be a scamp in my memory.

I think of her when I don't wash my hair and it goes really messy.
Which I love. And then I think of that song typical girls.

And then I brush my hair.


If I have too.


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