Pamflet x Twin: February Releases

07.02.2014 | Literature | BY:

Anna-Marie Fitzgerald and Phoebe Frangoul are the co-editors and co-founders of the London grrrl-zine and literary salon Pamflet. Here they discuss the releases, trends and going’s on in the literary world worth knowing about. Follow them on Twitter and Instagram @Pamflet.
 

We can never get enough of angry young women at Pamflet, so happily we have two righteous books to recommend this month. They also happen to be about the politics behind our two major obsessions (music and clothes) too.

Words Will Break Cement: The Passion of Pussy Riot (Granta Books) by Moscow-based journalist Masha Gessen (brought forward from its March publication date because of Nadya Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina ‘early’ release) is the story of Russia’s most famous ex-political prisoners. In the past couple of years their iconic balaclava-ed images have inspired rebel-artists across the world, adorned greeting cards and been referenced by the masked cast in the poster for last year’s all-women Julius Caesar at the Donmar.

Gessen investigates the young women behind the cultural phenomenon, spending time with Nadya’s husband and father and corresponding with them incarcerated women in their respective prisons. If you saw the Punk Prayer film and got the Let’s Start a Pussy Riot art-book (which featured contributions from Meadham Kirchhoff and Yoko Ono amongst many others), then you really need to read this in-depth look at what it means be young, fearless and angry in the new Russia.

Stitched Up: The Anti-Capitalist Book of Fashion (Pluto Press) by writer and activist Tansy E. Hoskins and wonderfully illustrated by Jade Pilgrom will be launched on London Fashion Week Eve (next Thursday 13 February). Hoskins manages to convincingly bring the two Karls (Marx and Lagerfeld) into this passionate and radical critique of the fashion industry. Writing from the perspective of an outsider who believes it ‘truly is glorious and enthralling as well as exasperating and terrible,’ her stance will be familiar to anyone who’s been tempted by the quick fix rush of a high street bargain only to sink into shameful remorse immediately afterwards. In Stitched Up Hoskins might be dazzled by fashion, but that doesn’t stop her from asking critical questions around the provenance and manufacture of clothing and the exploitation of fashion workers from the factory floor to the catwalk. Luckily she has plenty of answers to suggest too, and in this theoretical, but enjoyably journalistic text, she confidently picks up the campaigning baton from her fash-critic foremothers such as Elizabeth Wilson and looks optimistically towards the future.

ALSO OUT THIS MONTH: Costume historian Amber Jane Butchart’s Fashion Miscellany is a darling collection of short essays and asides on style, tailoring and taste. On and off the page Amber lives her craft and here she always wears her expert knowledge lightly, packing this neat volume full of treasures. Reading it is like digging through a junk shop jewellery box: lots of fun.

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