FEATURE BAD GIRLS
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change the world by way of explanation but you know you own truths and can speak from the heart.’
Humorous. shocking, rude. moving or sensual. the season aims to move beyond the political. with artists comunicating their experiences not just as women. but as people. Poet and performer Pamela Sneed deals with race and sexuality, Annie Sprinkle bares all in an attempt to deconstruct pornography. Sadie Benning shows films made in her bedroom with a toy video camera and a few Barbie dolls and Emilyn Claid performs her dance piece. Laid Out Lovely — A Rotting Romance. which is billed as a witty and horrifying ballet.
But if radical feminists. post feminists and Riot Grrrls are currently loading their arsenals with male hatred, they may be in for a shock. Performance artist, Penny Arcade will preview her new show. Bad Reputation but she claims she’s not particularly politically correct and doesn’t want an audience of all women. ‘From the feminist perspective. the emphasis is always on men. but I think what women do to women and to ourselves is much more disabilitating,’ she says. ‘l’m sick of hearing about patriarchy. I mean what are people talking about? ls it 30 AD and are we ruled by a council of men with long beards?
‘lt’s 1994 and the patriarchy is made up of men and women and until we start interacting with what is the real experience of men and women. instead of an ideologised version of it. we’re not going to reach a multitude of people. because that’s not their experience.’
Performer. Donna Rutherford claims she’s not a bad girl as such. ‘My piece is more kind of human interest than from any specific feminist slant. It looks at the way you’re brought up to expect things from people and the reality of that.’
It’s a coincidence that many men are currently reaching for their crotch in a spate of Bobbitt- syndrome. While some of the material in the Bad Girls season looks beyond the penis, it nevetheless does often aim below the belt. Sue Williams uses irony and sarcasm to explain where she sees herself in relation to the world. A sentence is scrawled on her painting Your Bland Essence. ‘Hey. you want something? Grow a dick, get a life.’ Cl
Bad Girls: A Season of Female Trouble is at the C CA, Glasgow from 29 January to 12 March.
20 The List 28 January—10 February 1994
“'“ﬁlilauTo pla the queen
facet of Bad Girls is the 31c, empliﬁed in the attitude
of The Voodoo Queens. Fiona Shepherd discovers the difference between ‘novelty’ and ‘unique’.
I can be fraught with complications this
sexual politics thing. especially when it
comes to something as traditionally
laddish as the live-piece rock combo. For
a girl to pick a big. phallic instrument like
a guitar. let alone an electric guitar with its connotations of live. pulsing energy. and sling it over her hips and play with it seems like an intrinsically ‘bad’ thing to do. if you ask me.
‘I don’t really know what the deﬁnition of a bad girl is.’ demurs Anjali Bhatia, singer and guitarist with The Voodoo Queens. ‘I suppose some people would deem us bad girls because we’re not doing the nice. normal expected things. I’m sure some of my parents’ friends would say I was a bad girl for getting up there and wielding a guitar around instead of having a pretty little job, so maybe in that respect . . .’
Voodoo Queens are the ideal band to epitomize an initiative like Bad Girls. despite Anjali’s reluctance to nail her colours to the mast. She’s understandably wary of endorsing any new brand names. because in the nine months that the quintet have been releasing records the media have tried hanging all manner of tags round their necks — for the simple reason that Voodoo Queens are unique and it sometimes takes a while to realise that that’s not the same as ‘novelty’.
Firstly. they’re an all-girl band. Nothing new. but nothing overfamiliar either. Secondly. they’re Asian girls and Asian girls haven’t satiated their muse with an indie-punk racket before. Thirdly, their songs openly glorify an ‘all girls together’ attitude. celebrating spending sprees and dressing up with titles like ‘Shopping Girl Maniac’ and ‘My Favourite Handbag’, indulging bedroom poster fantasies with their second single ‘Kenuwee Head’ (a homage to
‘It I was fourteen now, and there was a band like
us around, I’d be
because I would feel I was sort of being represented.’
that dumbest of dudes, Keanu Reeves) and re- opening the debate on eating disorders through their debut single ‘Supermodel Superﬁcial’ and its indictment of model-as-physical-ideal.
Anjali sealed her Bad Girl credentials by creating an installation, a pink latex paradigm for unnecessary pampering. in the ladies’ toilets for the original exhibition at the ICA. At the same time. she has no desire to exclude anyone from identifying with Voodoo Queens’ worldview. because she’s been down that road as a listener.
‘When I was fourteen I started getting into indie music and punk. I didn’t know any other Asian people who were into the same music as me. Even in my school there were only about three people who liked the same music. If] was fourteen now, and there was a band like us around. I’d be so excited because I would feel I was sort of being represented.’
Ninety per cent of those who attended Bad Girls in London were female. Whether this was because women were feeling represented or men were feeling excluded is a matter for speculation. but elitism is not on the agenda for Voodoo Queens or for the local bands playing The Girl Noise Valentine’s Bash.
‘I don’t agree with having women-only gigs,’ says Lucy Mackenzie of Batﬁnk, who line up beside Pink Kross, Fudd and Lungleg on the bill. ‘I have had lots of bad experiences with
- guys at gigs, like harassment, but a women-only gig is like saying if there’s racism you should keep blacks and whites apart which is really stupid. Guys should figure in this on a supportive level. But it’s women in the front seat, basically.’
The Girl Noise Valentine ’s Bash is at King Tut ’s Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow on Mon 14 Feb.
The Voodoo Queens play the same venue on Sat 26 Feb.