At the age of 15, ARI UP (Arianna Forster, born 1962) was lead singer of England’s all-girl punk band The Slits. No creamy underage dream vixen, she: Up was a teen Medusa who wasn’t about to give in to cultural ideals of young womanhood and femininity. A picture from the late ’70s shows a tall girl in heavy eyeliner with wildly teased hair and a heavy, studded belt holding up a pair of Royal Jubilee souvenir underpants worn outside her skintight black jeans. Caked with mud and naked but for a loincloth on the cover of their first album (1979’s Cut), Up and her bandmates were anything but the “Typical Girls” they excoriated as a “marketing ploy” in the song of the same name. “Who invented the typical girl? Who’s bringing out the new, improved model?” Up warbled in her quavering vibrato, over her band’s reggae-inspired rhythms. “If people hate us,” she told a journalist in 1977, “it’s because of our honesty.”
PUNK, POST-PUNK & ALTERNATIVE on HILOBROW: Joey Ramone | Dez Cadena | Jello Biafra | HR | Mike Watt | Vivienne Westwood | Iggy Pop | D. Boon | John Lydon | Henry Rollins | Palmolive | Plastic Bertrand | Kira Roessler | Lisa Carver | Frank Black | Ari Up | Gary Panter | Paul Simonon | Darby Crash | Penelope Houston | Exene Cervenka | Sid Vicious | Andrew Eldritch | Kate Pierson | Paul Westerberg | Lux Interior | Ian Dury | Stiv Bators | Tom Verlaine | Colin Newman | Johnny Thunders | Poison Ivy | Green Gartside | Lydia Lunch | Mark E. Smith | David Byrne | Debbie Harry | Captain Sensible | Mark Mothersbaugh | Kim Gordon | ALSO: The Original Generation X (1954–63) and the birth of DIY | The Original Stooge | Origin of the Pogo | Shocking Blocking: Rock’n’Roll High School | Punk fanzines from the 1970s | Post-Punk and New Wave on HiLobrow
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