Wednesday 13 July 2011

Summer Read Tip: Pauline Black memoir "Black by Design"

When as a young girl brought up by white parents in Britain, Pauline was told by her mother that she was adopted. The revelation sparked Pauline's search for her own cultural identity, as well as those of her original parents.

You can listen to the interview with Pauline on today's Midweek on Radio BBC4: (or click on the link that is this post's title).

The text below was taken from Pauline's official website:

"Pauline Black born 23rd October 1953, Coggeshall, ENGLAND of Anglo-Jewish/Nigerian parents.

Pauline Black has spent the last 30 years maintaining the fierce independence that she first forged in her early days as lead vocalist with legendary platinum selling 2-Tone band 'The Selecter'.
During that time she has always tried to do what she fells is right, honest & true. She considers her female mixed race status gives her a unique insight into the twin evils of racism and sexism that still beset the world and render the original message of the 2-tone movement as relevant today as it was in 1979.

Since then, she has built her considerable reputation through singing, songwriting, acting, presenting, broadcasting and writing.
She has garnered several singing and acting awards along the way. Never content to just rest on her laurels or pursue the road of easy celebrity, Pauline has delivered 9 studio albums throughout her career, chronicling her particular view of the precious world that we inhabit.

In 2007, eager to expand her musical repertoire still further, she toured "The Very Best of Nina Simone & Billie Holiday" with her "Blue Jazz Trio", to critical acclaim. 2008 saw her pursue another musical passion when she presented and performed on BBC4 TV's "Soul Britannia" series and then joined the "This Is Soul Tour 2008" performing alongside soul legends Eddie Floyd & Geno Washington.

In 2009, the "30th Anniversary of the 2-Tone Movement", she elected to return to her first love ska music, not in a nostalgic re-union mood, (although she is very proud of her 'Selecter' past & is still eager to celebrate that history in the future), but as a respected solo artist, forging new relationships with musicians in Argentina, Brazil & Australia. On Oct 3rd 2009, she headlined at the "100 Nicetos Festival" in Buenos Aires, Argentina in front of 30,000 people backed by Hugo Lobo's ska/reggae influenced band, "Dancing Mood", plus a 30 piece string orchestra, choir and Nyabinghi drummers.

At the start of the new decade, 2010 finds Pauline building on last year's success. Concerts & festivals have been booked throughout the year, showcasing new & old material from her entire career, with her new 6-piece band. Highlights of her solo show include old favourites like "On My Radio" & "Missing Words", new songs "Eyes On The Prize" & "Total Control" and a brilliant ska/reggae salute to Amy Winehouse's "Back To Black" ("obviously written for me", jokes Pauline at concerts).

A new recording project with her new band is currently in the pipeline & her long-awaited memoir "Black By Design" is finished & has a firm publishing offer. A movie "Three Minute Hero" is at the script writing stage and will tell the story of Pauline, Neville Staple & ex-boxer Errol Christie back when Coventry was gripped by 2-tone fever . These three projects will give her many fans a chance to see what makes this singular artist tick. Pauline Black is a unique woman with a multi-faceted talent."

"From the left: Chrissie Hynde (The Pretenders), Deborah Harry (Blondie), Viv Albertine (The Slits), Siouxsie Sioux (Siouxsie & the Banshees), front: Poly Styrene (X-Ray Spex), Pauline Black (The Selector).

Harking back to the famous photograph taking by Michael Putland for the New Musical News in 1980, Pauline Black, lead singer of two tone band The Selector interviews Viv Albertine (The Slits), Poly Styrene (X-Ray Spex), Siouxie Sioux (Siouxie and the Banshees) and Gaye Advert (The Adverts) about their experiences as female musicians of the “new wave” in the late 70s, early 80s."

(Photo and caption source: 'Slow Songs and Fast Hearts' website:


In this blog I intend to do some historical justice to the many, many women who have contributed with their genius, creativity, adventurous spirit, nurturing - amongst other qualities - to the apparent linear and male dominated prescribed notion of History. This is just the beggining.