Soap the stamps, jump the tube
A story of punk, motorbikes, witchcraft, sandwiches, squats and sewing
Gail Thibert
Unbound books

This is refreshing to read after the 2 books by New York hardcore men that I have recently got through. No machismo, no sensationalist fights but plenty of horror tales of growing up with little money and little hope.

How horrible is it that so many women have abusive tales to tell. As a man it is so hard to comprehend (even though I try very hard) just what it is like being vulnerable in so many situations. Sure I feel that way as my use of words diminishes as I grow older but when I’m threatened in company it’s just that I have no words to use. My discourse falls flat and there’s awkward silences. Unlike Gail and so many others who have to deal with men trying to be dominant and abusive. It is a travesty and completely understandable that groups like loud women exist to give a safe space for women in music.

As with any inspection of ones life in book format a magnifying glass is being taken to her past. Gail joined anarcho punk band lost cherees. This band were, from the outside, a band leading the way with strong women playing politically charged songs. Was the reality different. Where they really any different to other groups of people singing bubblegum songs about plastic lives? I’ve hoped and thought for years that these bands were different but were they just words? After all they were people in the early twenties discovering and enjoying what life had to offer. Not looking to lead a movement.

I find it unusual that the author says she was called a communist or a red in work for refusing to join the union at a time when unions were run seeking to be taken over by those calling themselves communists or reds! It’s a bizarre line and again with a magnifying glass on her past I could be taking it out of context. But playing in a band that are directly singing about animal rights and anti authoritarianism is certainly more grounds for being called accusatory names than refusing to join a union. Why not join a collective body if that’s your politics anyway?

Usually when reading an autobiography I am taken by some part of the authors life. I normally have a reason. I knew nothing of Gail Thibert and despite being in a couple of bands there is nothing unusual in this book. I don’t get an expose into lost cherees other than the previously mentioned disappointment. Gail was born in a dead end city, discovered music boys and alcohol (not necessarily in that order). She moved out but always gravitated back to the concrete jungle. This book tells us all this and how alcohol assisted her in growing up while men were horrible. It’s written in story like with excerpts from her diary. A commendable effort and everyone does has a book inside them. What attracted me to this book was that it may have been a similar tale to so many but what turned me away was the nostalgia of anarcho punk and the world we were trying to change isn’t reflected in the reality of the day


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