This event has been cancelled due to essential maintenance work in the Gulbenkian theatre auditorium, apologies for any inconvenience. If you have purchased a ticket, a member of the team will be in touch shortly. Alternatively please contact our ticket office directly on 01227 769075.
Immerse yourself in Word Bird, featuring a selection of luminaries from the world of music journalism and authorship. Featuring Zoe Howe, Laura Barton, Lucy O’Brien and Peggy Seeger.
Marking International Women’s Day weekend, Song Bird / Word Bird is a mini festival covering the theatre, foyer and performance spaces of Gulbenkian and designed to celebrate women in music, whether you want to explore what makes a female icon or enjoy cutting edge sounds from the musical fringes.
Song Bird / Word Bird is a day celebrating women in music, through song and through words. You can book a ticket to either element, or buy a ticket that gets you into everything!
In the late 1970s and early 1980s there was a thrilling new idea that came from punk rock music. The idea was that anyone – and girls in particular- could form a band, write songs and perform with confidence and style. And it didn’t matter if you’d never done anything musical before. In two separate towns, young teens Polly and Ruth formed bands based on this idea. After that, the urge to make music continued – Ruth formed PO! and Polly formed The Popinjays. Both these bands played Radio 1 sessions for John Peel. The Popinjays played in the US; PO! had an NME single of the week. Polly was a gig promoter; Ruth ran her own record label. They’d probably met each other only about 6 times until 2017 when Polly and Ruth talked together about how punk rock had shaped their lives with jagged tunes, punk heroines, badges, fanzines, DIY fashion and an urge to create. The pair decided to do a one-year blogging project to write about “all that made me a punk girl and still does”
In conversation with each other, Polly and Ruth talk about how they wrote a blog nearly everyday in 2018 about famous bands like The Slits, The Raincoats, X-Ray Spex as well as recounting personal experiences at gigs or trying to be cool. Of particular note are their interviews with women who were involved in music at the time, and a retrospective analysis of the kind of experiences girls had in the male-dominated music business back then.
They’ll explain how co-blogging has worked for them, why punk girl history matters, how blogging changed their friendship, what the challenges were, what they learnt and what they’re going to do next… Also on hand to reveal everybody’s own Punk Girl Name with the punkgirldiaries.com instant punk girl name generator.
Punkgirldiaries can be found at punkgirldiaries.com and on twitter @punkgirldiaries
Writer, artist and musician Zoë Howe is the acclaimed biographer of punk maverick Poly Styrene, The Slits, Wilko Johnson, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Stevie Nicks, Lee Brilleaux and Florence + The Machine to name a few, and her debut rock ’n’ roll novel Shine On, Marquee Moon was shortlisted for the Virginia Prize for Fiction. Zoë worked with Poly Styrene’s daughter Celeste on both the new biography – Dayglo – and a documentary film I Am A Cliché with director Paul Sng (release date TBC). Musically, Zoë has worked with Viv Albertine, Mick Jones, Steve Beresford, Charli XCX, Anne Pigalle, Helen McCookeryBook, The Plan and many others. More information can be found here www. zoehowe.com and here www.zoehoweartist.com
Laura Barton (in conversation with Zoë Howe)
Laura Barton is a writer and broadcaster. A Guardian staff feature writer and music columnist for a decade, she is now freelance and has written for numerous publications including the Guardian, the Observer, the New York Times, 1843, the Gentlewoman, the Telegraph and the Financial Times, and is a contributing editor at Q magazine. As a broadcaster, her documentaries and fiction have appeared on Radio 4, Radio 3 and Radio 2, and have covered everything from tomboys to Shakespeare, Blues musicians, trousers, Greyhound buses and confidence. Notes From a Musical Island, her Radio 4 series about music and landscape, returned for its third outing this summer. Her first novel, Twenty-One Locks, was the recipient of a Betty Trask Award, and her next book is a non-fiction examination of the relationship between music and sadness. West of West, a study of the American West in collaboration with the photographer Sarah Lee will also be published next spring. She also runs the literary stage at Green Man festival and moonlights as a music publishing A&R.
Lucy O’Brien (in conversation with Zoë Howe)
Dr Lucy O’Brien is the author of Madonna: Like An Icon (translated into 13 languages), She Bop: The Definitive History of Women in Popular Music, and in-depth biographies of Dusty Springfield and Annie Lennox. She writes for Mojo, The Guardian and The Quietus, and is a guest contributor on music and popular culture for BBC, C4 and C5. She co-produced Righteous Babes, the C4 film about rock and new feminism, and She Bop, the BBC Radio 2 series on women in rock. Currently a tutor at London College of Music, University of West London, her specialist research areas are music subcultures and feminism. And back in 1979/80 she played in all-girl punk band The Catholic Girls.
Peggy Seeger (in conversation with Serena Cross)
Peggy Seeger – singer, songwriter, feminist, icon, muse – is the undisputed queen of folk and political song. Her recently published memoir ‘First Time Ever’ received universal acclaim and was The Guardian’s Best Music Book of the Year. Now in her 80s, her charisma and wit remain undiminished.
“A gloriously open and generous autobiography” The Guardian
“A funny, incisive and affecting memoir” Financial Times
“A rare treat that joins the great folk music tales with head held high” Record Collector Magazine
“Poetic and unflinching … her writing is a treat” Uncut
“All that one could hope for and more .. a remarkable book” Songlines
Song Bird – £12
Dip a toe into Hutstock – the cult festival-in-a-beach-hut, relocating from Whitstable to the Gulbenkian stage for a one-off only evening featuring seven female bands including Bugeye, Dream Nails, Popinjays & The Tuts. Book Song Bird by clicking here.
Song Bird / Word Bird Festival Offer: £20
Why choose, when you can attend Song Bird and Word Bird for only £20. Click here and select both events.