Stealing Licks

(A week with Sisterboots)

Monday: Our guitarist, Catherine, has the ability to play rhythms that put me into a song writing trance. I fall asleep and dream that I am trying to play the piano - stumbling along with my short-sighted sight-reading. Women are standing beside me, extending helping hands, filling in the missed notes. The song we play is "Oh What A Night" by K. C. and the Sunshine Band.

On Tuesday we do a cover of the traditional "I Never Will Marry". Three women. Three accordions. Upbeat and raunchy. Squeezing out each note with delighted ran(g)e.

We spend Wednesday and Thursday at other people's places, wrecking their amplifiers with our version of Aerosmith's "Dude Looks Like A Lady".

Friday: It has been a week since we released our first CD. Of course, the media get our name wrong, i.e.: Sisterslippers, Sisterthongs, Sister-hi-heel-sneakers.

Saturday: We have a gig at a small festival. It's being held in a city square - a site where we are normally invisible or erased for our creative clothing and hair. But today, our voices are amplified. Pedestrian bodies and patrolling cops absorb our words. Our voices resonate off the colonial facades that protect government and real estate offices. We receive everything from verbal abuse from 20-year-old boys to knowing looks from 40-year-old girls. Later, a friend tells us she has heard us miles away, in another part of town.

After the show we talk to some of the women in the crowd. We want to hear what they have to say - to find out if they "get" us. We are careful about what our songs say to our listeners: a coded balance of signs and pleasure.

Sunday we maintain. We work hard to be happy. Don't tell us our happiness is just an emotion and not a real epistemology. We are always singing. Even in our fucking sleep. But sometimes, I think, we cannot move fast enough to keep up with our songs.

We gather all of our old, broken guitar strings and string them to the walls, so we can play our room. We construct a theriman out of a gutted television set. We are a new band, a new sound formation every day. Tonight we specialize in subtle energy instruments. Extra Low Frequency radiation. Our instruments are capable of picking up radio waves; we tune into weather reports as they most accurately reflect our changeable reality.

We try to make our listening habits follow our breathing habits: letting it go in one ear and out the other, instead of holding our breath.

We decide that the best thing about songs is when you're singing them, it's hard to fight.

Excerpt from The Serial Fiction of Margaret Rind by Joanne Bristol