To Throw Away Unopened is the latest memoir from Viv Albertine, the former guitarist with punk band The Slits. It is the follow up from the successful debut Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys. Viv is in conversation at the Aye Write Festival in Glasgow with writer and DJ Vic Galloway to talk about the writing of the new book and how this compared to her debut.
The conversation begins with Vic Galloway asking Viv Albertine about the writing of this new memoir and if she felt pressure following on from the success of the previous book. Viv mentions that “I was initially embarrassed to write about myself” and declares an unease at looking at the recent past. Never the less To Throw Away Unopened follows on from the honesty of Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys, but also goes deep into the family history of the musician. We learn that Viv devised the book to have two narrative threads that intertwined with one another. Here she could look at the history of her mother and father and consider her own current life and situations.
The catalyst for the book was finding a bag in her mother’s closet with the words “to throw away unopened written on it”. Of course she opened the bag and found a diary. This opened up a personal journey of discovery where the writer examined their own emotions alongside her mothers experience. “Following the feeling of love was the feeling of fear and this accompanies me all the time”. Anger and fear are common sentiments that Viv talks about during the event, but she also expressively discusses the comprehensive resolution she discovered within her writing “As soon as you have understanding, it takes the sting out of anger”. This understanding is obvious in the book and evident when Viv talks passionately about her experiences growing up in post-war working class Britain with the other members of The Slits.
When asked what is next, Viv states that – “I feel like I am stuck with rage, but will try hard not to write another memoir.” Whatever is next, it is clear the book will be infused with the passion and emotion that the writer effortlessly expresses.