'9 August 1980. Ninth anniversary of internment, and the Au Pairs are playing a free gig for the kids in West Belfast. Rock The Block - it's in support of the women in Armagh and the men on the blanket in H-Block. The band deliver a tight set, mostly songs written by singer Woods about sexual politics, roles and relationships. The audience are stunned by Lesley; they've never seen anyone like her.' (Kate Webb, in The Book of the Year, Ink Links, 1980)
The Au Pairs were one of the most interesting of UK post-punk bands, exploring subject matter rarely if ever explicitly addressed in music from the sexual politics of relationships to the abuse of Irish women prisoners (the subject of their song Armagh). Their politics was a thread through everything they did, from their guitar playing to their choice of benefit gigs. They played for Rock Against Racism (indeed were started out by people involved in Birmingham RAR), Rock Against Sexism and various other causes.
This interview is from the radical left magazine 'The Leveller' (August 7-20 1981). True to style it took place at a No Nukes Music gig the band were playing at Lambeth Town Hall in Brixton (just round the corner from The Leveller's office at 52 Acre Lane SW2).
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Extracts from interview:
'I don't think you can have any political awareness, though, without being aware of the way women are exploited in this society; it's a patriarchal society and women are oppressed. People are so paranoid about being told that, but it just happens to be a fact, not a point of view, a fact, and an inevitable result of the way society is organised right down to the basics. Capitalist society relies on the family, and women exist for the family and for producing children. In our society anybody who's involved in production gets exploited... I just read that today! Brecht's The Mother. It's really good. I get fed up always having to apologise or to defend the argument that women are oppressed. It is a fucking fact; not my point of view, or the left's point of view. I don't know what the solution is. I don't see a solution. But I could say that if every woman in the world decided to stop fucking with men and just became separatist then you'd be forcing the issue!'
|I used to have t-shirt with this on!|