Extra Reality This Month: Girl in a Band by Kim Gordon

I never felt cool enough to be a Sonic Youth fan. Or, I’m not sure I’ve ever really understood their music and I attributed my lack of understanding to how utterly uncool I am. But, I’ve always respected them as a band (and more than once my lack of understanding because me an opportunity to flirt with a musically inclined cutie.) Plus, Kim Gordon has always been kind of a feminist icon to me. She was a shining example of how a woman could succeed in a profession dominated by men. And, the fact that she succeeded and managed to maintain a relationship with talented hottie Thurston Moore just made her even more iconic. It’s a little unfair to pin so much hope to a relationship but I know a lot of people who looked at their marriage and thought, “If they can do it, we can do it.” and the world seemed surprised and disappointed when they announced they were divorcing. I was also disappointed. It seemed like the end of a era and maybe it was. I don’t know. So, when I heard that Gordon was writing a memoir I knew I had to read it.

The book chronicles her life starting with her childhood in California and takes us all the way to the present day with a kid in college in new projects post-band. Gordon talks a lot about her relationships with her parents and brother and her mentors and how that shaped who she was and how she ended up in a band. Kim Gordon, you may not know, went to art school and studied painting. (I didn’t know that.) So, this memoir is not just a story about a band or a story of how her marriage came together and fell apart. It is also an interesting look into the art world and how the New York of today grew up.

This was a really, really neat book that made me crave 90s music and to wander around Manhattan. It was really interesting to read what Gordon had to say about the music scene and the growing gallery culture of that time period. It was also really interesting to get a perspective from an older feminist on the world then and now. As I mentioned in on periscope, Kim Gordon is the same age is Beth’s and my mother and her feminism and my feminism are not the same. It is nice to be reminded that the movement has moved.

So, if you are interested in the music and art of the 80s and 90s, I definitely recommend it.

Pop Culture Extra Credit: Playlist

A huge part of Eleanor and Park is the music that Park shares with Eleanor throughout the book. I started making notes of songs while I was reading. It seemed like it would be a great playlist, even if the book was breaking my heart. In the end, I compiled a pretty long list but it was in multiple places. Some of the songs were written on a post-it that got rained on. Some were on a bookmark that got left someplace. Some were in a note on my phone. Some were on a receipt. Apparently, I read everywhere and write on what I can get my hands on. So, I compiled this playlist from the pieces of paper, etc. that I could still get my hands on and read. Enjoy!