Monday, January 02, 2006

History of UK riot Girrrl : Part II

Disclaimer : Because the nature of this blog has posts that pile one on above another, my riot grrrl time line will appear backwards by the end of it all. To have this series of blogs make sense you may want to scroll down and start the post titled All is Love : Herd Alert post and then work your way back up to this one and eventually the record list.

It could be debated if any of these UK bands should be filed officially under the genre of Riot Grrrl but by 1993 the British press were wildly reporting on this predominantly American phenomena and began associating bands like Huggy Bear and Red Monkey who had one split release with Bikini Kill and played shows with other American bands associated with the R.G. movement.

Any UK band who played a show with those better known female friendly UK bands were then also given the Riot Grrrl tag, sort of a guilt by association theory.

A common misconception made by the press and those not in the music scene was any band with female members were often lumped under this umbrella term whether it was accurate or not. Suddenly artists like the Spice Girls were given this false tag and the term Riot Grrrl quickly became watered down and truthfully a shadow of its former self.

Press coverage in the mid 90’s ( especially in the UK) ultimately reached an absurd commercial / mains stream level and basic facts of the history as well as the main purpose of Riot Grrrl became distorted and mangled; some due to journalists re-shaping the story to impress readers and then with new / young woman joining riot Grrrl every day, their interviews often reflected a less educated / more immature view of the movement.

In the end it was this very combination that ran the Riot Grrrl trend into the ground but the misfortunate game of telephone led to some important shifts of practice within R.G. No one scene an stay the same forever and by the mid 90’s new offshoots, new philosophies and a whole new crop of bands were rising to the surface.

Logically with mainstream media for the most part missing the heart of soul of the original Riot Grrrl movement, this created a distrust of the press and in turn fueled the need for even more home made DIY fanzines from the Riot Grrrl community. This was the case for almost every country with a Riot Grrrl chapter and certainly the UK was no exception.

Part Riot Grrrl inspired part classic, part DIY ethos motivated ( Crass anyone?) the UK built its own unique brand of indie underground culture based around music, politics, and female equality. Zines were written, record labels were created, record and zine distribution centers were put into place, political / feminist collectives were formed and by the late 90’s the UK had its own distinct voice to represent this global youth movement.

I swear….the list of some of these records is next!