Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl | Carrie Brownstein

I have personally never been into the music scene, so it is with a bewildered expression I edit a memoir of a “rockstar”, Carrie Brownstein, who is from a band called Sleater-Kinney, never heard of them, or Brownstein but when you hear they supported the likes of Pearl Jam they get some respect plus she is the creator, writer and co-star of the Emmy-nominated, Peabody Award winning television show PORTLANDIA. But Kernel Kate kind of had heard of her and so thrust her hand up, much like Brownstein on the cover, and volunteered to review HUNGER MAKES ME A MODERN GIRL – A MEMOIR from Carrie Brownstein herself. From Kate’s review it actually sounds like a must read for the musical minded, fans, feminists and people who love a good memoir. HUNGER MAKES ME A MODERN GIRL is out now from the fine folks at Hachette Australia, you will have to find this one in good bookstores as Hachette website has sold out. Enjoy Kate’s thoughts………..all the best………….JK.

 

Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl

 

 

BY KATE DAWES

HUNGER MAKES ME A MODERN GIRL by Carrie Brownstein, of band Sleater-Kinney, takes us inside her life, music and creative process in this new memoir chronicling her early life and formation of the band, including all the ups and downs.

Growing up in the Seattle suburbs Brownstein had a turbulent childhood with her mother developing an eating disorder and eventually leaving the family and her father (several years later) coming out as gay, unsettling Brownstein’s view of her family and her place in it. But growing up around Seattle’s vibrant music scene also left her with a lifelong love of music and desire to perform which was realised when, after first dropping out of college, Brownstein moved to Olympia where she not only had the chance to see some of her musical idols play but also began playing in bands of her own.

Moving briefly to Australia where Sleater-Kinney formed and recorded their first, self-titled, album Brownstein takes us through the band’s triumphs, building their audience and reputation, and opening shows as support for bands like Pearl Jam. If like me you often wonder about the real feelings and stories behind a bands break up this is one not to be missed and by the end of Sleater-Kinney’s story you feel almost as though you’ve travelled emotional highs and lows with them.

 

Carrie Brownstein Author Image - Photo Credit: Unknown
Carrie Brownstein Author Image – Photo Credit: Unknown

 

I have to admit before starting HUNGER MAKES ME A MODERN GIRL I wasn’t a fan of Sleater-Kinney, I’d never even listened to them. But Brownstein’s writing style makes it easy to immerse yourself in this world of edgy, feminist rock rather than feeling like an outsider. Far from being an outsider looking in Brownstein’s obvious passion for this world she inhabited she drags you along for the ride almost feeling the excitement and trepidation of the performers and the highs and lows of trying to carve your way in the music industry. Far removed from some of the early, undeveloped lyrical composition she laughs at in the text Brownstein’s writing carries a rhythm of its own which draws you in and has really benefited from years of practice or the longer prose format it’s given here forming a compelling narrative.

One of my favourite parts of Brownstein’s insightful writing is the way she seems to get to the bottom of a character in a few apt observations. Whether from her brief stint as a school teacher or her years on the road observing people or simply the benefit of hindsight in describing people to us who she has already known for years most of these characters are really embodied by their introductions to us. Her experience having in many cases been a fan who became a colleague, band mate or friend of her musical heroes lends not only a unique point of view but also an almost voyeuristic quality for any music fan, of this or any genre, who has ever thought about making it on to equal footing with someone they admire trough their own talent and determination.

An unmissable read for musicians, feminists, fans and the curious alike HUNGER MAKES ME A MODERN GIRL brings us a modern day memoir of a pop culture epoch sure to pass into legend. With the band back together and touring in 2015 I suspect turning the last page may not be all readers hear from Carrie Brownstein.

 

4 Pops

 

Having always loved stories one of Kernel Kate’s most frequent childhood memories was her parents telling her in the early hours that it was way too late to still be reading and to go to sleep, but she would always sneak in the end of the chapter. Her love of stories led to a career in movies as well as remaining an avid reader of everything from novels to academic papers and junk mail. She makes a perfect reading machine fit to the Salty Cob.

** All images courtesy of various sources on Google or the publisher – credit has been given to photographers where possible and images will be removed on request