Strike! How 80s post-punk band Lining Time crystallised a second in feminist protest historical past

In 1982, a bunch of ladies discovered their collective voice. “If I can strike, you may strike, she will strike, we are able to strike,” they sang throughout a efficiency in Plymouth, passing the mantra like a baton as they carried out playground rhythms on woodblock percussion. Calling themselves Lining Time, this assemblage of dance and theatre college students arrived at their very own understanding of music as artistic expression.

A poster for Reclaim the Night in Plymouth.
A poster for Reclaim the Evening in Plymouth

Coaching in theatre language on the Dartington Faculty of Arts had given the group a medium to inform their tales; injustices akin to Thatcherite insurance policies, the Falklands conflict and endemic violence towards girls compelled them. It was on this cultural second of post-punk angle and resurgent feminist actions that Lining Time – Claire Bushe, Cathy Frost, Lisa Halse, Cathy Josefowitz and Mara de Wit – got here collectively.

“Throughout our yr in Plymouth all of us lived and labored close to the naval docks and I keep in mind the fixed harassment endured strolling anyplace and at any time of the day,” Bushe recollects. “I keep in mind the Reclaim the Evening march. I used to be very anxious doing it even with so many ladies collaborating. It took a whole lot of guts to stroll via the centre of that metropolis at evening. There was jeering from teams of males as we marched and sang.”

Lining Time: Strike – video

Strike, Lining Time’s sole cassette of primal but potent people music and protest songs, drew influences from Françoise Hardy, Bob Dylan and flamenco together with improv, wordplay and choral parts, arriving at a exceptional sound that sits between their post-punk forebears the Raincoats and successors Life With out Buildings. “We performed with no guidelines or conventions, adapting and adopting something we preferred or what made us snort,” explains de Wit. The album was an adaptation of their exhibits, which had been sequenced to inform a narrative – “how 5 totally different girls reached their ‘Strike’ second”, as de Wit places it. Forty years after it light into obscurity, it’s being reissued as a part of a retrospective on the late Josefowitz’s inventive profession, and its resolute requires bodily autonomy and queer liberation are as pertinent as ever.

Swiss-raised Josefowitz and Holland-born de Wit shaped the musical core of the group, masking guitar, clarinet, drums, bells and extra moreover, whereas all members practised breath, voice and singing work. “[They] introduced all that 70s European girls’s confidence that I had by no means encountered earlier than,” Bushe remembers of Josefowitz and de Wit. Radical outlooks and European influences discovered their means on to the album too, together with covers of a French nursery rhyme and a monitor by 70s German girls’s co-op rock band Flying Lesbians. There’s additionally an anti-war music attributed to Greenham Frequent girls’s peace camp, a protest established within the early 80s that will play a key position within the motion for nuclear disarmament in addition to girls’s participation in UK activism. Of the monitor choice, says Halse, “the selection was all the time to be inclusive, supportive and broad, inside our slightly restricted ability vary.”

‘The personal is political’ … (L-R) Marja Ruyterman, Cathy Frost, Mara deWit and Lea van Muijen in 1982.
‘The non-public is political’ … (L-R) Marja Ruyterman, Cathy Frost, Mara deWit and Lea van Muijen in 1982.

And Lining Time had been greater than only a band. Halse describes them as a “consciousness-raising” group collaborating artistically and to query beliefs and assumptions: “That is nonetheless an ongoing dialog. The non-public is political.” Neighborhood-minded, they’d take a cappella songs and rhythmic clapping and stomping from the venture into the neighborhood, participating teams akin to travellers, visually impaired individuals and pregnant girls via efficiency. “This full of life singing was acquired effectively. [It was] infectious, immediately connecting to girls’s and women’ experiences,” says de Wit. “It was very dynamic and enjoyable.”

Lining Time dissolved after that yr in Plymouth. Shifting to Wales, Josefowitz and de Wit continued to carry out as Analysis and Navigation from 1983-88, to audiences akin to care house residents. Past that, Josefowitz continued her profession in the dramatic and visual arts, creating choreographic works and work exploring the physique, self-expression and dance. Her works included cardboard marionettes of performing artists, skewed architectural sketches of levels, work of our bodies contorted by movement and emotion and, in the direction of the top of her life, a collection of colourist abstractions eschewing our bodies solely. She died in 2014, her legacy stewarded by Les Amis de Cathy Josefowitz – the organisation that commissioned the archival launch of Strike.

The artwork for Strike.
The paintings for Strike

Halse, de Wit and Bushe all agree that society hasn’t progressed sufficient since Strike was recorded: Bushe ticks off points akin to violence towards girls and women, pay disparity, incarceration, racism and a “pervasive cultural norm – white, male, het – restraining decisions and alternatives”. Nonetheless, all three share an optimism in political artwork’s potential to problem oppression. Even right this moment, instructing drama in a specialist dyslexic college, Bushe makes use of music to assist pupils discover their voice and formulate concepts: “It unlocks their imaginations and connects with what they know.”

And all three consider in political artwork’s potential to problem oppression. “You don’t should have world options, however share and reveal the steps you care about or think about,” says de Wit by means of recommendation to youthful artists. “It could make a distinction, change somebody’s perceptions, increase horizons a little bit. Human consciousness is a positive factor.”

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