Stories from the She Punks

Raincoats Rocco [credit: Shirley O'Loughlin]

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A first glimpse screening plus conversation and live music

Stories from the She Punks is a documentary that features the stories of women musicians from the punk-inspired bands of the 70s.

This first glimpse screening is of a work-in-progress. It is followed by a live conversation with the film makers Gina Birch (the Raincoats) and Helen Reddington (Helen McCookerybook of the Chefs) as well as Jane Woodgate (the Mo-Dettes) and Tessa Pollitt (the Slits). Chaired by Zoë Howe, novelist, broadcaster, drummer and author of many music books including Typical Girls? The Story of The Slits.

Stories from the She Punks reflects all the anarchy, the excitement of the new sounds upsetting British music, and their DIY approach to learning and playing their instruments.  We meet Shanne Bradley who was taught to play bass on top of a 68 bus by the Damned’s Captain Sensible, and the Dollymixtures, who pretended they were at each other’s houses doing their homework, while in reality playing a gig at Cambridge Corn Exchange. Gina Birch from the Raincoats describes the thrill of buying her first bass guitar after seeing the Slits play and struggling to teach herself to play. These women describe an alternative to the alternative world of punk all too often remembered from a male perspective.

About the film-makers:

Gina Birch came to London to study Fine Art in 1976, fell in love with the DIY scene that was punk and after seeing the first Slits gig was inspired to buy a bass guitar and together with Ana da Silva, started the Raincoats. Armed with a bass guitar and a super-8 camera, Gina continued to make music and films for the last 40 years, and is now also a committed painter. Painting 10 songs will be shown this year. The Raincoats’ Feminist Song is released this year.

Helen Reddington was at Brighton Art College when fellow-squatters told her she would be playing bass in their punk band. Joby and the Hooligans never made any records, but Helen went on to form the Chefs, who released material on local label Attrix and recorded sessions for Radio One’s John Peel Show. After working as a community musician, she became an academic, publishing The Lost Women of Rock Music: female musicians of the punk era (Equinox) and lecturing at the University of East London. She also tours as a solo artist under the name Helen McCookerybook, releasing DIY albums herself. 

A pre-show bar will be open from 17.30 and our special guest beer Brewdog Punk IPA will be on sale. The bar will also be open after the event.

Punk 1976-78 is part of Punk London, a year of events, gigs, films, talks and exhibits celebrating 40 years of punk heritage and influence in London



Name: Stories from the She Punks
Where: Conference Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show Map      How to get to the Library
When: -
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546