Most things written about Kristin Hersh tend to revolve around her problems with bi-polar syndrome and schizophrenia, instead of, for example, how great a writer she is. She’s certainly had her, uh, troubles, but what a body of work: many blistering albums as part of the Throwing Muses and 50 Foot Wave, solo LPs of stripped back rawness and Appalachian folk songs, plus forming the Coalition Of Artists And Stakeholders (CASH), the service that plugs donation-friendly music fans into unsigned artists’ recording and release schedules. And now this: ‘Paradoxical Undressing’ (‘Rat Girl’ in the US) is her recently released early days memoir, pieced together from rescued teenage diaries semi-destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Reading from the book and playing the odd song, this is a rare chance to hear a singular voice still going strong.

Kristin Hersh: Paradoxical Undressing

Bristol Festival of Ideas Spring 2011
www.ideasfestival.co.uk

Events

Wed 26 Jan, 7.30pm

£7.20/£5.60

Kristin Hersh is an American songwriter and guitarist. She founded the seminal art-punk band Throwing Muses and is widely recognised as an indie rock pioneer. Kristin Hersh recorded with 4AD records until 2007, when she helped found the non-profit Coalition of Artists and Stake Holders, recording and releasing music without a record company.

A preternaturally bright teenager, she started university at fifteen and with her band, Throwing Muses, played rock clubs she was too young to frequent. By the age of seventeen she was living in her car, unable to sleep for the torment of strange songs swimming around her head – the songs for which she is now known. But just as her band was taking off, Hersh was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Her memoir, Paradoxical Undressing (Atlantic Books), chronicles the unravelling of a woman’s personality, culminating in a suicide attempt; and then her unplanned pregnancy at the age of 19, and the birth of her first son. Playful, vivid, and wonderfully warm, this is a visceral and brave memoir by a truly original performer, told in a truly original voice. In this special show, Kristin will perform words and music from her memoir.

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