Viv Albertine: ‘Missing Nigerian school girls should form a band to defy their oppressors’

The former Slits guitarist says there is a way of still being rebellious today

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Viv Albertine of the Slits says that the kidnapped Nigerian school girls might be punk’s last hope.

While she doesn’t think that a genre revolution as wild as punk will ever happen in the first world again, she believes more oppressed regions could still use music to break down the patriarchy.

“I’d love to see all those Nigerian school girls form a band - that would be rebellious,“ she told The Independent. “Can you imagine that? That would be something. Using their music and singing honestly about what they do; expressing their sexuality and throwing it back in the faces of these oppressive men.

"They would be in danger like The Slits were in danger then. That’s what we did; we threw it back it their faces and stood up where we were oppressed and squashed and thought of as filth. Meanwhile all the Saviles and judges were doing their pervy little things behind closed doors, but squashing the proletariat.”

In April, Islamist group Boko Haram (whose name means “Western education is forbidden") kidnapped more than 200 girls from their boarding school in Chibok, in Borno state. A campaign was launched called #BringBackOurGirls, supported by high-profile names including Michelle Obama , Anne Hathaway, Cara Delevingne and even David Cameron, who was criticised for his involvement.

Albertine was the guitarist of Seventies punk band The Slits, who changed the perception of women in music with their fearless, defiant, lyricism and attitude.

Albertine as part of The Slits in 1979

However, she said different tactics would need to employed to make as big a change in society today.

“The whole environment has changed; technology has moved on,“ she said of the place punk has in the modern world. “You’d be a fool to use the same means 40 years later. It’s the same with war; you wouldn’t use the same guns. I’m afraid it isn’t going to happen twice, it’s different now and the means of expression and communication is different. Not in the first world, but maybe in more oppressed worlds.

“It needs to be different to the way the Russian girls did it, but something that is honest true and not taking your clothes off. Maybe in some of those society, music has a chance. I think there are still many places that if women formed a band it would be shocking and they would be in danger. But maybe there are different ways to do it now, like the school girl Malala Yousafzai or with Angelina Jolie’s humanitarian work.”