Popinjays Celebrate Women in Word + Song Next Month

Thank goodness we can still get bang up to date with Popinjays!

One thing we’ve greatly enjoyed in the last year was the emergence of the great PunkGirlDiaries website wherein Ruth Miller of Po! and Polly Hancock of Popinjays have undertaken writing about their experiences of punk rock as young women in England as it blew through the landscape and changed everything. But as insightful as their writing on music is, let’s not forget that Popinjays were a band that helped make the 90s bearable for these ears. In 2015, Wendy and Polly began performing together for the first time in 21 years and on Saturday, March 9th, they will be a part of a celebration I’d certainly be attending… if I lived in Canterbury instead of Appalachia.

As part of International Women’s Day, the Song Bird/Word Bird fest, a celebration of women in music and words is being held at the Gulbenkian at the University of Kent. Women who write about music as well as female bands will be the order of the day, with Word Bird covering print and Song Bird delving into the world of punk/pop.

The Song Bird festival begins at 5:30 with these bands:

Popinjays – Indie Pop [top]
You should all know Popinjays! But what about the other bands?

Bugeye – Punk Pop [above left]

Dream Nails  – Post-Punk [above center]

The Tuts – Punk Pop [above right]

It all sounds great so the concert is a must, yes? But there is also the literary world of  women who write about music to consider as well.

Just yesterday were were discussing Lucy O’Brien. I first encountered her in 1991 when she wrote the first biography on Annie Lennox. I still have the tome [UK edition, of course] in my record cell. She has also written two volumes of “She Bop: The Definitive History of Women In Popular Music” as well as multiple editions of a book on Dusty Springfield. More to the point, she was a member of the UK version of the punk band Catholic Girls. No, not the same named band with an LP on US 

One of the first books I read when beginning this blog was Zoë Howe‘s “Typical Girls: The Story Of The Slits” and she’s not been resting on her laurels. Of interest around these parts is also her Jesus + Mary Chain biography “Barbed Wire Kisses: The Jesus + Mary Chain Story.” She’s recently penned her first novel, “Shine On, Marquee Moon.”  The novel details heroine Sylvie, a dresser on the road with reformed New Romantics Concierge. Too bad there wasn’t an actual New-Ro band with that moniker! I should be reading this in my spare time. Also speaking at the event are Guardian music writer Laura Barton and Peggy Seeger [wife of folk singer Ewan MacColl] who has recently written her auto biography, “The First Time Ever.”

Tickets are £10 for Word Bird and £12 for Song Bird, and buyers of both get a discount at £20. Obtain tickets here. Hopefully some local readers of this blog can attend and report back with their findings. It looks like a great Saturday in Kent.

– 30 –

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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6 Responses to Popinjays Celebrate Women in Word + Song Next Month

  1. punkgirls says:

    Hi PPM, thanks for all the kind words…shucks! Wish you could come along to the event, but standby for all gossip…we’ll keep you posted. x

    Liked by 1 person

    • postpunkmonk says:

      punkgirls – Welcome to the comments! I have heard the rumors that Popinjays are recording new songs for One Little Indian so if that happens, please keep us posted on that, too! In the 90s I gave a copy of “Flying Down To Mono Valley” to my friend Tristan [a musician/producer] and he fell in love with the band. As would any right thinking person.


  2. Tim says:

    I really want to say thank you very much for pointing me in the direction of Lucy O’Brien who I was otherwise ignorant of.
    And now I wanna say ARGH! because most of her books don’t appear to be available for tablets.
    Due to a variety of reasons I was dragged against my will into the e-reader world and now I really don’t want to read anything any other way.


    • postpunkmonk says:

      Tim – You’re welcome on Lucy O’Brien. I need to read her “She Bop” series. Not an e-reader. For me reading that does not require electricity is just unbeatable. I try not to buy books any more because 20 years ago I decided that music is my best entertainment value. I was a voracious reader as a child but as I age, I am not willing to invest the considerable free time in reading [even though I have a fast page rate] that I might pursue other interest and duties in. And forget building a “library.” I can’t see the point in buying books that I might read once or twice. Now I rely on libraries for most reading. I’m actually thinning out my bookshelf right now, come to think of it. I need that space for irregular shaped CD packages that don’t fit on my new racks!


  3. Love the Tuts! Love Popinjays! Like these other two bands very much! Oooh, I wish I could go too!

    I must let my co-author William Gallagher know of this! He’s the deputy chair of the UK Writer’s Guild, and this sounds like something he’d enjoy, albeit he’s fairly far away, being in the midlands.

    Tim re: Lucy O’Brien — yes, oddly only her Madonna books (and a pair of philosophical works) are on Apple’s bookstore. Amazon’s Kindle has the main Madonna book (Like an Icon), the philosophy stuff, and the third edition of She Bop.


    • postpunkmonk says:

      chasinvictoria – You’ll notice I didn’t mention the Madonna [or Stevie Nicks] book in the writer’s CVs. But there’s a third “She Bop” book? I need to read all three of those! Good on you for spreading the word to the right sort of people in the UK. I like the blend of music and writing they are investigating.


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