Viv Albertine

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Viv Albertine
Viv Albertine.jpg
Viv on tour January 2012.
Background information
Birth name Viviane Katrina Louise Albertine
Born (1954-12-01) 1 December 1954 (age 60)
Sydney, Australia
Genres Punk rock, post-punk, new wave
Occupation(s) Musician, television director
Instruments Guitar, vocals
Years active 1976-present
Associated acts The Slits
The Flowers of Romance
New Age Steppers
49 Americans
Flying Lizards
Notable instruments
Gibson Les Paul Jr.
Fender Telecaster

Viviane Katrina Louise "Viv" Albertine (born 1 December 1954, Australia[1]) is a British singer and songwriter, best known as the guitarist for the all-female English punk group The Slits. She lives in Hackney, London.

Early life[edit]

Albertine was born in Sydney to a Swiss mother and a Corsican father.[1] She was raised in North London, attended comprehensive school in Muswell Hill, and at seventeen enrolled in the Hornsey School of Art.[2] After completing a foundation course at Hornsey, Albertine went to the Chelsea School of Art to study fashion and textile design. In 1976, while still studying at Chelsea, she helped form the early punk band The Flowers of Romance.

Music career[edit]

Albertine was amongst the first "inner circle" fans of the Sex Pistols, and was a close friend of both Mick Jones and Joe Strummer of The Clash. Albertine joined The Slits as the band's guitarist after founding member Kate Korus left in 1977. The Clash's 1979 song "Train in Vain" has been interpreted by some as a response to "Typical Girls" by The Slits, which mentions girls standing by their men. Albertine split up with songwriter Mick Jones shortly before he wrote the song.[3] On 5 October 2010 Albertine confirmed in an interview with Cerys Matthews on BBC 6 Music that the song was written about her, describing how Jones would travel by train to visit her in her squat.

While continuing as a key member of The Slits, Albertine contributed guitar and vocal work to The 49 Americans 1980 album E Pluribus Unum.[4] She also became part of Adrian Sherwood's dub-influenced collective New Age Steppers and played on their self-titled 1981 debut album.[4] She also appeared as a guest guitarist on the Flying Lizards' debut album, as well as Singers & Players' 1982 album Revenge of the Underdog.[4]

After The Slits disbanded in 1982, Albertine studied filmmaking in London. She worked as a director, mostly for television, throughout most of the 1980s and 1990s. Her freelance directing work included stints with the BBC and the British Film Institute.[5]

In 2009, Albertine began performing as a solo artist. Her debut gig was at The Windmill, Brixton on 20 September 2009.[citation needed] She went on to tour the USA opening for The Raincoats.[6] In March 2010 Albertine released a four-song debut solo E.P. titled Flesh on Thurston Moore's Ecstatic Peace! label.

Albertine recorded a cover version of David Bowie's Letter to Hermione for the Bowie tribute album We Were So Turned On: A Tribute to David Bowie which was released on 6 September 2010.

Albertine's debut solo album, titled The Vermilion Border, was released on 5 November 2012 through the Cadiz Music label. The album was a featured project on Pledgemusic.[7]

Albertine's memoir, Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys, was published in 2014 in the U.K. by Faber and Faber.[8]

Film career[edit]

In 1991, Albertine wrote and directed the short film Coping with Cupid, a film about three aliens as blondes that come to earth to research romantic love.

In 2010 Albertine worked with Joanna Hogg on the soundtrack to Hogg's 2010 film Archipelago.

In 2012, she started filming with writer/director Hogg on the 2013 film Exhibition alongside Tom Hiddleston and Liam Gillick. The film premiered at the Locarno Film Festival in August 2013, and was released on DVD in 2014.[9]


  1. ^ a b "Viv Albertine". Viv Albertine. Retrieved 2013-08-02. 
  2. ^ Savage, Jon (2010). The England's Dreaming Tapes. Minneapolis: University Of Minnesota Press. p. 286. ISBN 0-8166-7292-X. 
  3. ^ Gray, Marcus (2007-10-26). "Marcus Gray on the ongoing pop influence of 'Stand By Me' - Guardian Unlimited Arts". Arts. Guardian Unlimited. Retrieved 2007-12-03. 
  4. ^ a b c "Viv Albertine Discography at Discogs". Retrieved 2013-08-02. 
  5. ^ Phoenix, Val (2009-08-05). "re:generation #1: viv albertine". Retrieved 2011-01-31. 
  6. ^ (Retrieved 4 October 2013)
  7. ^ "Viv Albertine: Viv Albertine's Debut Solo Album". PledgeMusic. Retrieved 2013-08-02. 
  8. ^ Suzanne Moore (28 May 2014). "Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 May 2014. 
  9. ^ Millar, Iain (6 September 2013). "Public spaces, private lives". The Arts Newspaper. Retrieved 6 September 2013. 

External links[edit]