Kathy Acker (1947-1997)



Pussy (1994)

    O and Ange

  1. First Whore Song
  2. Second Whore Song
  3. Entrance of the Punk Boys
  4. The Story of St Gallbladder
  5. The End of the World

    Pussy, King of the Pirates: Her Story

  6. The Loneliness of Pussy
  7. Pussy Language

Recorded September 1994 in Brighton, UK.
Produced and designed by Simon Strong.

Released 1995 on CodeX Books and Records, Hove, UK.

Thanks to Caspar Willams (illustration), Colin Woodcock (Overground), Do Tongues (Polly Marshall & Bertie Marshall).



Notes on Pussy by Kathy Acker

In September 1994 I was living in a dilapidated English seaside town called Brighton, the UK’s San Francisco if ya like. I used to enjoy hanging out at a local spoken word club and getting ignored by the hip kids. Do Tongues (aka the Twat Club to we un-hipsters) put on writers I didn’t like such as Douglas Coupland, Dennis Cooper or that sad Oxbridge junkie who likes to try and sound hard. The problem was that the hipster kids had no inkling that I was really an incognito underground impresario with a successful label under my belt (it said '28inch real leather'). Furthermore, I had just set up a publishing imprint on the premise that I could publish books by musicians and records by writers.

So I was stoked when I heard that Kathy Acker was coming. Kathy Acker was the most shoplifted female author in the world! Here was a chance to give some five-finger discount options to the kids on the street. I got in touch with her booking agent and asked if she'd cut a disc for CodeX, since that's what the label was called. When she hit town I invited her for a curry but I said I wasn't hungry even though I was but I didn’t have the cash to spring for both of us. My mind has long gone somewhere else and I can't remember anything of what we talked about, except for that bit about the legendary warehouse (in Paris?) that was still full of Olympia Press volumes, and also about a distro deal I was putting down that would potentially land our product in High Street chains like Woolworths and Boots Chemists. The balance will come back in my dotage. Did I give her a copy of my novel? I must have...

So the next day or so, Kathy went into a local studio and read pretty much the set she did for the spoken word club. I think it was mostly early versions of stuff from a forthcoming work titled 'Pussy'. I remember I was laid up with shocking flu. I commissioned our fave local artist to do a portrait for the cover and Kathy was kind enough to send some photos by Michael Delsol. The disc came out in 1995 and sold out pretty fast.

The gist of it is that I have no idea how I come to have a signed copy with a comment about Woolworths on it. Maybe I got that done when she played again in Brighton with the Mekons in 1996. I don't know. I mean surely I would've gone and seen the fucking Mekons! Nah… It's all gone in the fog of lager. I can't explain any of it. What a lady. Wouldn't it be great if we had three times as many books? But we don't. Oh yeah! She gave me the slop of the suppression of 'Young Lust' too... hahahahahaha!

Simon Strong
19 Dec 2011



The Mekons & Kathy Acker
Pussy, King Of The Pirates (1996)
  1. "My Name Is O" 0:34
  2. Ange's Song After She Crawled Through London 3:42
  3. "I Want To Tell You About Myself" 0:43
  4. The Song Of The Dogs 3:19
  5. "We're Just Outside London" 2:58
  6. Ostracism's Song For Pussycat 3:40
  7. "Antigone, You See Her" 0:34
  8. Antigone Speaks About Herself 3:50
  9. "Now Let Me Tell You..." 0:32
  10. My Song At Night 3:28
  11. "Since Ange And Me Are Innocent" 0:43
  12. Into The Strange 4:42
  13. Captured By Pirates 4:52
  14. A Prayer For All Sailors 3:03
  15. O 1:52

Accordion, Vocals - Errol "Rico" Flynn*
Artwork By - S. Clay Wilson
Banjo [Cumbus] - Blind Lugh*
Bass - Sarah Corina
Drums - Steven Goulding*
Engineer - Long Jon Gillver of Dubbe Island*
Fiddle - Captain "Kidd" Honeyperson*
Guitar, Vocals - Jon Langford (2) , Tom The Cabin Boy*
Recorded By - Baron Von Trumfio* , Bosun Hagler*
Vocals - Master Sally Bates*
Voice - More-Than-Able Seaman Acker* (tracks: 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11)
Written-By - Kathy Acker , Mekons, The

Notes
Recorded September 1995 at Kingsize Studios in Chicago, and July 1995 in Leeds at an unnamed location.
Released concurrently with Kathy Acker's novel of the same title.



Redoing Childhood (2000)

  1. President Bush
  2. Miss Savage's School for Girls
  3. Temple of Eros
  4. Country That I've Never Seen
  5. I Will Stay With You Tonight
  6. Hotel Etoile Rouge
  7. Outside the Law, Which Is Language
  8. Female Doctor
  9. Hotel of the Lilac Eyes
  10. Face to Face With Death


Produced by Hal Wilner

Musicians: David Cunningham (keyboards), Ralph Carney (reeds), Joe Gore (guitar), Steve Bernstein (trumpet), Kenny Wollesen (drums), Tribe 8 (backing band)


This is not background listening. Kathy Acker's work is not a love-it-or-hate-it proposition: it's a get-it one. Either you get it, or you don't. Redoing Childhood, excerpted from her book My Mother: Demonology, is in many respects the most accessible way to experience Acker. Her voice, cool and precise but with an almost invasive intimacy, gives her work clear depth and dimension, creating a full and rich landscape. Every so often, entire concepts spring from throwaway lines: "But this is the question: is it possible to communicate with another person?" "I've got a terrible need to write to you, and for you not to reply." "Virginity doesn't know its own name." And, in the midst of a panoply of sensual images that wouldn't be out of place in a Terry Gilliam film, there's this: "I don't know what to do about all I see and experience." Between the often stunning visuals that arise from her words, the incredible variety of background music (ranging from chanting monks to San Francisco hardcore band Tribe 8), and the startlingly Zen-like revelations, Kathy Acker on record might be one of the last legal hallucinogens on the planet. Happy tripping. --Genevieve Williams



Various Tracks

  1. Kathy Acker: I was walking down the street (2:30)
From the LP Sugar, Alcohol, & Meat, Giorno Poetry Systems Institute GPS-018-019, 1980 (2x LP)


Segue Series Reading with Lorenzo Thomas at the Ear Inn, November 11, 1978
  1. "'Stop It, Ted,' I Screamed When He Finally Released Me . . ." (16:16): MP3
  2. "The Diseased" (4:16): MP3
  3. "The Slave Trader" (0:46): MP3
  4. Translation of Janey's Persian Poems (from Blood and Guts in High School) (6:34): MP3
  5. "Ghouls" (cuts off at end) (8:58): MP3

Interview and Reading at SUNY-Buffalo as part of the Wednesdays @ 4 Plus Series, April 12, 1995
  1. on publishing her early works (7:23): MP3
  2. on fitting in and punk culture (2:43): MP3
  3. on working through problems of identity, language and appropriation (7:10): MP3
  4. on different feminisms (5:20): MP3
  5. on the Situationists (0:59): MP3
  6. on Pussy, King of the Pirates (2:23): MP3
  7. reading from "Ostracism's Story," Pussy, King of the Pirates (0:51): MP3
  8. on the Hammer Horror influence (1:27): MP3
  9. on trying to access already-there languages (5:48): MP3
  10. reading from "I Meet Myself," Pussy, King of the Pirates (5:42): MP3
  11. on accessing sexual language (1:20): MP3
  12. on shocking readers and reappropriating language (6:05): MP3
  13. on locating pleasure in writing (6:55): MP3
  14. on Empire of the Senseless (4:00): MP3
  15. on popular culture and appropriation (3:50): MP3
  16. on post-capitalist society (8:01): MP3
Complete Discussion (1:10:13): MP3

Thesesound recordings are being made available for noncommercial and educational use only. All rights to this recorded material belong to the author. © 2010 the estate of Kathy Acker. Used with permission of the estate of Kathy Acker. Distributed by UbuWeb & PennSound.