Image description: Two photos, watermarked with the photographer’s name, Anita Corbin. On the left, two white women, Kelley (left) and Nicola (right) standing in front of a mirror that reflects book shelves, with their arms wrapped around each other, both looking directly into the camera. On the right, Kelley and Nicola again, outside on their front porch surrounded by greenery and flowers. Nicola, on the right, is in a wheelchair, and Kelley is kneeling next to her. Again, they have their arms around each other and are looking directly into the camera.

On July 6th the big new exhibit Visible Girls: Revisited opens as part of Hull City of Culture 2017, and will then tour the country. This weekend the Guardian did a 6-page preview on the retrospective-and-redo of the famous 1981 series, Visible Girls. The Guardian piece only used photos and interviews of pairs who could be rephotographed together (and my new photos are with Kelley, above, and not Carol, as it was in the original). All the subjects of the article seem to be straight women who were interested in male musical subcultures. Perhaps the editors and/or women who were photographed did not know that there was a vibrant women’s music subculture at the time.

It occurred to me that many readers don’t know about the women’s music subculture, either, so I put together a Spotify playlist of music I was listening to in 1980 and 1981 when the original photo was taken. I could only find a couple of things I was looking for but added a lot of the music everyone in my various circles was playing at the time.*

[I’ve been having some problems with very specific embed codes on this blog (Spotify and Storify) so if you can’t see the playlist, here’s a link to my Spotify playlist, VG:R Nicola.]

I have a personal story behind every single one of those songs. When I have time (within a month?) I’ll write them. It will be a long post…

The fifth song is “I’m On My Way” by Gwen Avery. It’s a good song, but the one of hers I really wanted was “Sugar Mama.” So here it is on YouTube. Yes, it’s from 1977, but I first heard it in 1980, on a bootleg tape of a compilation of women’s music; in poor subcultures before the intarwebs this stuff took a long time to propagate:

All this music fed into the songs I co-wrote and sang for Janes Plane, a band which became mildly famous in women’s music circles. So here’s a 9-song playlist of my own music, mostly created and recorded in 1982 and 1983. The first four are Janes Plane, the second four Janes Remains (me and Jane, the guitarist) and the last just me.


*I moved in several: lesbian feminist, indie music, druggies, bikers, theatre babies…