It only seems like in recent years a lot of people I grew up with have passed away, so young, unknowingly a huge part of my life. It's long ago but so far what really made a big impression on me was the passing away of Frank Sinatra. He was one of these people who just was immortal. Frank Sinitra was supposed to be there forever. His voice and music lives on thankfully. What a voice! And only yesterday the news reached me that Tom Bosley had passed away. Better knows at the Dad in Happy Days. He too had a respectable age of 83 but still. Happy Days was and is one of my favourite TV series, he was such a fatherly type of person, he was (not really) The Fonz' dad! It's weird.
These past years people such as Michael Jackson, Corey Haim, Antonie Kamerling (Dutch actor who played in the nation's first ever soap serie), Solomon Burke, Piet Wijn (he drew a comic in Donals Duck which I had a subscription to as a kid), Miep Gies (she found the diary of Anne Frank), Ria Brieffies (she was a singer in the biggest Dutch girl group of the 80s), Les Paul, Patrick Swayze, Stephen Gately, Brittany Murphy, Jay Retard, Arjen Grolleman (he founded the only alternative radio station in the Netherlands, Kink FM), Malcolm McLaren, Gary Coleman, a couple of the Golden Girls, I think I better stop now.
Anyway, these days we don't hear it on the radio or from friends, we got twitter now. And so I sat a little dazed at work reading a blog someone tweeted about Ari Up. Ari Up had died. That kind of had me go wow. I'll be honest with you, I was not a big fan of her band the Slits, I like their punk stuff but not their reggae stuff but I liked them for being the band that they were. Last year on my birthday they were The Very Special Guests at the Cribs' show I visited in Doncaster (I probably would have passed this small tour by if it hadn't been for my birthday). I looked them up on the net and well, I wondered why. But then, it was quite impressive and special to have such an influential and strong all female group from the late 70s, early 80s to open for the Cribs. The Slits were really something. I knew it meant the world to the band, all four feminists themselves. And at least it wasn't as bland as the other two bands who played who's names I already forgot (was it Sky Larkin and some other band?).
The Slits took the stage and just by the way how, especially Ari Up came on as a strong woman, I kind of wondered if this crowd would appreciate this. The music was reggae mixed with dance hall but also punk (the latter I really enjoyed) and they put on a great show. But not everyone agreed because they were horribly treated by a group of male chauvenists pigs, a side effect of a band growing bigger and being in an unusual large venue, it's easier for them to get in. Beers were thrown on stage, they were boo-ed and in all it was a disgrace. But the women on stage stood brave and did their set, they verbally fought the idiots and were strong. That was admirable to see (at the side of the stage stood the Cribs' bassist fuming with anger and nearly ran on stage, it should have been a treat, and this was no way to receive a treat). In all, this show was unforgettable. And this is how I remember the Slits.
It's weird to see these people die who in one way or another were part of you growing up (and I'm still growing up), it gives you a feeling of mortallity, it's like damn! when they pass away. It also makes you feel like you're growing slowly older yourself. I'm not twenty anymore, no I'm not. But musicians dying who I only have seen under a year ago? That's a whole new chapter. R.I.P. Ari Up.
The title of this is brought to you by my sister who reminded me of what Ari Up told that crowd that night. Think about it.