Earlier this month, I finished up an article and sent it to the editor who asked me to write it. So far, that’s how I’ve done most of my publications; I was asked to write them. Now I’m back where I was before, trying to figure out if I have anything scholarly to write about that hasn’t been covered already by someone else.

Part of the reason why I am concerned about this is because it has recently become apparent that despite prior assurances to the contrary, the provost of my place of work has a rather narrow perspective of what is scholarly, and a significant portion of professional library literature would not fall under that category. If I intend to remain at this institution (and that’s looking less likely), I’m going to have to step up on the scholarly publishing thing. “How we do it good”-type articles won’t cover it. I’ll have to write stuff that looks scholarly to a biologist.

Ugh. I don’t even read half that stuff. For example, I’m more interested in what Jane Librarian writes in her blog about some innovative workflow concept that has improved library services at her place of work than what Joseph P. Librarian writes in College & Research Libraries about the number of libraries using standard workflows and the statistical impact on user services.

Here are the topics I’m interested in that directly relate to what I do every day:

  • serials and electronic resources acquisitions
  • serials and electronic resources management
  • collection development
  • personnel management

Am I any kind of authority on any of those topics? Hell no. So who am I to even think about writing anything about them that anyone would want to read? I’m not enough of an egotistical poseur to pull that off. Which brings me back to where I started. Trying to find something scholarly to write about that other people would want to read and that I have more than average knowledge about.

the slits

One of the first female punk bands of the late seventies was the Slits. Never heard of them? You should.

One of the first female punk bands of the late seventies was the Slits. Never heard of them? You should. They toured with better known acts such as the Clash and White Riot, but did not gain the long-term fame and attention of their tour mates. Koch Records has recently reissued their 1979 recording Cut on CD with two bonus tracks, “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” and “Liebe and Romanze.”

When the band formed in 1976, none of the members could play instruments very well, but thanks to the punk movement of the time, that was no impediment to their musical creation. Cut has minimal instrumentation, with heavy emphasis on vocals and percussion, but it works. The producer, Dennis Bovell, came from a reggae background, and this is evident in the recording. The combination of reggae and punk stylings with a feminist approach to rock music gives the recording its unique sound.

It is obvious that the Slits influenced many of the all-girl bands of the 80s like the Go-Go’s and others. The retro music revolution that is sweeping through modern indie bands should pause and take a page from the Slits, as well. Their use of repetitive musical and non-musical sounds, call-and-response, and emphasis on lyrical song crafting are techniques well worth paying attention to.

Don’t expect to find this band on your top 40 radio station or MTV (do they even show videos anymore?), but if the music directors at the college stations are paying attention, this reissue will be heating up the CMJ charts, if it isn’t already.

Article first published as The Slits – Cut on