Ari Up

By: Lynn Peril
January 17, 2010

Ari Up (far left) with The Slits

At the age of 15, ARI UP (Arianna Forster, born 1962) was lead singer of England’s all-girl punk band The Slits. No creamy underage dream vixen, she: Up was a teen Medusa who wasn’t about to give in to cultural ideals of young womanhood and femininity. A picture from the late ’70s shows a tall girl in heavy eyeliner with wildly teased hair and a heavy, studded belt holding up a pair of Royal Jubilee souvenir underpants worn outside her skintight black jeans. Caked with mud and naked but for a loincloth on the cover of their first album (1979’s Cut), Up and her bandmates were anything but the “Typical Girls” they excoriated as a “marketing ploy” in the song of the same name. “Who invented the typical girl? Who’s bringing out the new, improved model?” Up warbled in her quavering vibrato, over her band’s reggae-inspired rhythms. “If people hate us,” she told a journalist in 1977, “it’s because of our honesty.”


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