TANYA’S RAINBOW OF RUBBISH: Babes In Toyland = “Bruise Violet”

Riot Grrls and I have an unhappy history together, readers. Of course when they turned up they declared war on dreary boyrock, and that’s a battle I’m always happy to fight, so I went along to the UK recruiting office. It turned out to be a smelly Brighton flat but hey, all revolutions have to start somewhere. More worrying was the fact that the flat was full of musical instruments – guitars, drums, a bass, even a microphone!

‘Do you play these?’ I asked in horror.

‘No way sister!’ replied one of the grrrls. I breathed a sigh of relief. Clearly they had stolen these instruments from evil BOYROCKERS and were now going to have them humanely destroyed. I told them to count me in!

‘Great!’ she said, ‘You’re in! We’re rehearsing Tuesday.’

CURSES! Too late I realized the error of my ways. My fearful question had been misinterpreted – of course the riot grrls could not ‘play’ their instruments the way the phallocrats defined it. However they certainly planned to get onstage and make a racket with them. Your reporter made her excuses, left, and then shopped the lot of them to the bailiffs.

Even so, wiping out all music made by half the Earth’s population is an aim I could get behind. But there were two problems with Riot Grrrl. First of all it became clear pretty quick that the problem was not so much men as the Riot Grrls! terrible taste in them. Take Courtney Love: Trent Reznor, Julian Cope and Kurt Cobain had one bath between them during the entire course of the twentieth century, and Billy Corgan is a bald egomaniac goth. Of course she’s going to have ‘issues’! Back in Britain meanwhile the grrrls from Huggy Bear were full of praise for one Blood Sausage, aka a tubby bloke called Dale who yelled ‘What law am I breaking now?’ over music sounding like a tramp humping a shopping trolley. The answer was ‘none’. Unfortunately.

The second problem was that Riot Grrrls weren’t very scary. The word ‘Grrrl’ should have tipped you off. ‘Grrr’ is what those scary riotous rule-breaking figures Tony the Tiger and Alan Partridge say – oh, and founding your whole movement on a weak pun is also no path to quality (see also: trip-hop). Riot Grrls talked tuff but they were as threatening as a Scooby Doo monster.

Which brings us to “Bruise Violet” by Babes in Toyland. Specifically the lyrics thereof which prove my point most elegantly. Here’s how they start: “You got this thing that really makes me hot / You got a lot and more when you get caught / You got this thing that follows me around / You fucking bitch I hope your insides rot / Liar liar liar” Wow this is hard-hitting stuff, brilliantly capturing the feeling when lust and loathing collide, etc. etc. Let?s see what they do next: “You see the stars through eyes lit up with lies / You got your stories all twisted up in mine / You were born with glue instead of spine?” – you tell ’em Babes in Toyland! Now finish them off with a killer last line:

“Of thee I sing tied to a string”