SONG OF THE DAY Vivien Goldman – Laundrette


You know when you stumble upon something real good, you just get this feeling there’s depth to explore here and you ask yourself why you have not heard of this before? Well, this is how Vivien Goldman made me feel when I first heard Launderette.

Primarily a journalist and writer, Vivian Goldman was also a musician born in 1952 in London, the child of two German-Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany (an upbringing which impacted and influenced all areas of her career). 

Goldman began her working life as a journalist and then went on to become a PR officer for Atlantic Records and then Island Records.  It was at the latter that she worked with Bob Marley, becoming his first UK publicist; after which she moved once more and became the writer/editor for the London-based Sounds magazine. 

It’s a marvel reading about what this one woman has done in her lengthy and varied career, most people would relish the opportunity to record music, but Vivien Goldman absorbed herself in every aspect!!  In the early 1980’s she began making documentaries for Channel 4, developing and producing the world-music show Big World Cafe.  But that’s not all!! Over her five-decade career she has also been a French Pirate radio DJ, a reggae backing singer alongside Neneh Cherry and the Slits, a writer for NME, Sounds and Melody Maker, has been a member of The Flying Lizards, shared a flat with fellow NME journalist Chrissie Hind and, more recently, Kid Creole’s biographer!!…..

One of the other impressive things about Goldman was her passion to write about the racist violence and fascist uprising in the UK.  She was among the first to connect the Jamaican sound and punk, a relationship she saw emerging first-hand as a resident of west London neighbourhood Ladbroke Grove!  In an article she wrote for Sounds magazine in September 1977 she exclaimed how “Jamaican music is to punk music what r’n’b music was to 60s beat groups.”  In a review I read recently, Goldman explained how she was a “child of refugees” adding how ” I don’t know whether it’s because I come from a very war-torn background, but that is really what drives me in all my endeavours.” 

As for her musical ventures, they began when Goldman was living in Paris in the late 70’s when she became a member of the new wave duo, Chantage.  She released the Dirty Washing EP in 1981, with tracks produced by John Lydon and Adrian Sherwood and in August 1981, two of the tracks from the EP, Launderette and Private Armies, were issued as a 7″ single in the UK!

Laundrette is heavy on the bass and light on detail, but its minimalist structure is edgy and catchy and when I say light on detail, I mean this is dub-spiked post-punk with the less is more DIY ethic coursing through its groove – whilst half-spoken lyrics profess, “I can’t complain/ We went down the drain/ Seems like I can’t get away from you/ Even in the launderette/ Now my socks to your socks in the dryer/ And your jeans run into my shirt”…..Check it out above. 

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This entry was posted in DIY, dub, Electronic, Post Punk, Punk, Reggae and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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