I’ve never been to Regents Street Cinema before but let me tell you that venue is amazing, very majestic. I was really excited the see The Slits film ‘Here to be Heard‘ as part of Sound Screen Music & Film Festival – they’ve been running a series of films from the 21st to 28th March. Im ngl I was very sceptical as the crowd was very loud and drunk so I wasn’t sure whether I’d get to enjoy the film.
My mum loves The Slits and she’s the reason why I even know who they are; for that I’ll be forever grateful. It’s amazing how one band can have such an impact on the world and their music has passed down generations. The film was introduced by the director William Badgley who told us the film took 5 years to make.
I’m struggling to put words to paper here to describe how amazing the film was! It was beautifully shot with a mixture of archived footage and interviews with the remaining members (RIP ARI UP) as well as punk professors and managers. For those of you who don’t know, The Slits were the first all girl ‘punk’ rock bands and we’re one of the most influential pioneers of the 70s and still to this day.
The film really did give us an insight into what life was like being in the band and all the negativity they had to deal with especially the misogyny. It was hard being a female and dressing how they did back then. It’s interesting to see each band members opinion on what their time in the band was like. I also found it fascinating how intertwined they were with the reggae and funk scene.
We laughed, we cheered, we even cried; I found the towards the end of the film when Tessa and Ari reformed the slits with other band members hard to watch as you could clearly tell Ari was ill and deteriorating to the point where she died and I’m sitting there sobbing like a baby fs. I will say my only negative point was that I found Viv insincere tbh but apart from that I really wish the film could’ve gone on forever.
When the film had finished the huge cheer from the audience was amazing. The audience were lucky enough to be able to have a Q&A with Tessa and the director. It’s so funny because we idolise musicians and really they’re just normal people. Tessa was so down to earth and honest with her answers. One thing that stood out to me was when she said about how influential reggae music was to her and the band and how Jamaica is an amazing island and black people don’t get the recognition they deserve. Sitting in an all white audience I smiled because I knew they wouldn’t get it and some may be thinking who cares? But it meant a lot to me.
We had the pleasure of having a brief chat with her after the Q&A had finished and her aura just lit up the whole room. She was so happy talk to us and we’ll hopefully get to catch up with her again at The International Ska Festival which she’ll be DJing at. I didn’t think it was possible but I fell in love with them even more that I already was.