Shock tactics

viv albertine bookYou are a middle-aged, female musician playing a solo gig at a small venue where a gaggle of laddish men, completely uninterested in your songs, are making so much noise that you can barely hear yourself. You politely ask them to pipe down, but they completely ignore you. What do you do next? Viv Albertine unleashed her inner punk. From my Times review of her utterly compelling memoir, “To Throw Away Unopened”:

They were sitting in a semi-circle with their pints lined up in front of them and looked up in unison with “What you doing over in our corner, Ma? We didn’t ask for extra peanuts!” expressions. “Do you know how the way you’re behaving makes me feel?” I asked. They shook their heads. I was surprised they responded. A mistake on their part. “Like this.” I picked up the fullest pint glass on the table and, starting at the bloke on my right, swept the beer in an amber arc across the four blank faces, ending up with the bloke on the far left. None of them moved. They just sat there with their eyes and mouths wide open, dripping. The room fell silent. The four of them were quiet for so long it felt as if time had stretched and was suspended between us, like chewing gum pulled out of your mouth to see how long you can get it. Triumph surged up through my body and went right to my head. I lifted another glass from the table and drenched them again, this time in Guinness.

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Chief theatre critic for The Times. Twitter: CliveDavisUK Facebook: Instagram: clivephotos
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