beth ditto is a big relief

beth-dittogossip-ny-times

Robert Maxwell

I expected the recent N.Y. Times Magazine’s Women’s Fashion issue to have little of interest for me. I’ve become too practical to care about fabulous bags that are too heavy to carry all day, and clothes that defy my curvy, aging body. But I flipped through it anyway while I waited for water to boil for tea and was stunned bythe image on the last page of Beth Ditto, lead singer of post-punk band Gossip.  Her forthright voluptuousness and her words – “Ditto has just one rule ‘Absoutely no shame’” – made me google her and wonder how I’d missed such a force.Her music is like a Janis Joplin Tina Turner  hurricane:

Standing In The Way Of Control

Her Wikipedia entry reports many instances of social courage, like refusing to play in Topshop because their clothes are not available in her size. She’s introducing a “fat-lady clothing line” for the British plus-size label Evans.

Finally, there’s Gossip’s wonderful MySpace mission statement:

“We grew down in Arkansas. We were raised by cassette tapes, wild coyotes and mothers. We are interested in change, fashion, art, dancing + movies… We only exist to inspire. We encourage you to listen to Nico, Glenn Branca, The Shaggs and Yoko Ono + pick up a guitar and start your own band! Perfection is not real. That is all.

I’m viewing “start your own band” as metaphor: Make your own music…creation…whatever it might be. LOUD!  Perfection is not real. Ditto.

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