Self-Portrait: Viv Albertine

I DESCRIBE MYSELF as… Vivacious. Vindictive [laughs]. Vain. Vociferous. Someone attempting to be honest but probably failing miserably. Mostly because of all the conditioning that you have to fight through to reach the truth.

Music changed me… by becoming my religion, when I was about nine. It was probably the Beatles’ ‘You Can’t Do That’, which was the first time I’d heard ordinary language in an ordinary voice. I’ve been chasing that ever since, which is why punk resonated so much for me.

When I’m not making music… I’m mostly in bed, thinking about all sorts of subjects, in minute detail. I’m not a hobby person, which is why I didn’t do music for so long, because I wasn’t totally into it. I’ve been sculpting for a couple of years but I’ve even booted that into touch since I’ve started music again. Sculpture was a way to re-discover myself, but it’s so slow, and I’m a fast person.

My biggest vice is… dark chocolate. I don’t smoke, drink or take any drugs or medicine. Because my body’s so pure, chocolate gives me the shakes really badly [laughs]. I ate it for breakfast this morning, with a smoothie. Hard, cold, dark chocolate; crunch, crunch, crunch. Then I buzz around all day.

The last time I cried was… about two days ago. It was a frustration cry, because I couldn’t get the top off something [laughs]. What lay behind it was I really hoped it wasn’t the beginning of getting old. I managed it, though, so I’m still hanging on in there with a strong wrist. I haven’t cried over a boy for quite a while, even though I’ve gone through hell in the last couple of years.

LP, CD or mp3? Mp3. My CD player is some leftover from Woolies, but I have a decent iPod system. I still own vinyl but I don’t play it – or much media, actually. I don’t have a TV and I rarely listen to music because I don’t like too much influence. I like creativity to come from inside, to keep it different to others.

The last time I was embarrassed was…. coming on to a guy who wasn’t interested. One I proposed to by email and he didn’t get back to me for three months. There have been so many instances. But nothing ventured, nothing gained.

My most treasured possession is… my red Vivienne Westwood boots from her shop Sex. They’re the most bizarre shape from the side, like buckets, but from the front they make my legs look amazing. They’re quite S&M-y; they lace up the back, black and red. Because they’re kind of ugly, they’ve never dated.

The best book I’ve read is… Jean Cocteau’s Les Enfants Terribles. It’s about a brother and sister but it could be about any relationship that gets too close. It sums up the power struggles between two people, the way they tease each other and push buttons. We need to re-assess the situation with marriage and co-dependence. But I grew up on all these beautiful love songs, and totally bought into it, so it’s very difficult to renounce at this stage in my life. I think I choose partners that won’t work out because I actually want to be free.

Glass half empty or half full? I’m an Eeyore in many ways, because of my genes from my French father. I can dwell too long, on mistakes, life, romance, so it’s probably half empty. But I have boundless energy and am eternally hopeful and optimistic about people.

My biggest regret is… Going with a guy who was with someone else at the time. No good comes of it whatsoever. That’s the only thing I’ve ever regretted in my life.

When we die… That’s it. Finito. We feed the plants.

I would like to be remembered as… Having contributed to change, and to have inspired some girls along the way. With [Slits singer] Ari going quite recently, her mission in life was to get the Slits recognised, and it almost wasn’t until she went that such a big outpouring was made. Some girls have told me, “you made me feel I can do anything I want,” which is amazing. I’d like to have done things on a bigger scale, but small is still something.

© Martin AstonMOJO, March 2011

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