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Menopause Army

Menopause Army is a movement and a punk band who are "not merely the convenient consumers, cannon fodder breeders and slave carers they would have us be." With the majority of the the members based in Tottenham, they will performing their 'Virtual Puppetry' at the next WIT meet up event. Rachel Ho took the opportunity to find out about more about the group ahead of seeing them live in action.

Photo Supplied: Menopause Army

What is Menopause Army and how did it came together?

Generalissima (aka Lucy Childs, band founder, lead guitar and vocals): Menopause Army is a punk cabaret music performance group formed by me, Lucy, A.K.A. La Generallissima. All my life I wanted to be in a band and once I hit 55 I thought I’d give it a go and I’ve written all the songs so far. The band’s a dictatorship because that makes organisation and decision-making straight-forward! It’s an army, we’re five now, with an honorary extra, but we’re always recruiting. We’ve got two drummers so if on can’t make the gig the other can. Apparently the only other creatures that get the menopause are certain kinds of whales and it’s the older females that secure the future and wellbeng of the pods by sex-educating the young males and leading the pod to the best feeding grounds. 

What is your relationship to Tottenham? 

Generalissima: I live in Tottenham, I’m self-employed in Tottenham and my MP is David Lammy.

Photo Supplied: Menopause Army

Private Thompson (rhythm guitar and b.v.): My name is Claire Thompson, I live in Tottenham on Black Boy Lane. l run a book distribution company in Wood Green that employs 55 people and sells and distributes over a hundred publisher based in UK and USA. We were forced to relocate our warehouse and staff to Hertford to make way for a St Williams housing development. (A loss of forty jobs to the borough) employed many living in tottenham. So, I live, work, in tottenham and also employ people who live in Haringey and that will also include Tottenham.

Lieutenant MoBbIt_fOS (bassist, singer, go-go girl and all-round ballbreaker): I have been partying in Tottenham squats and occupied places for the last ten years, well, now not anymore as even here the squats are being cleared out for redevelopment. I have been living in between Philip lane, the Wetlands and Turnpike Lane area for ten years on and off, and have moved to Tottenham permanently two years ago when Walthamstow got totally gentrified and couldn’t bear it anymore.

Photo Supplied: Menopause Army

How does being women influence your art?

Generalissima: A continuous fight for all the unfairness we have been subjected to for… ever, really. The songs I write have a female perspective but aren’t just about female experiences – like ‘Flowering Pools’ which is about creative block. And, of course, being an older woman I have a good supply of toy boy groupies after me all the time, just like the killer whales.

What advice would you give to women who are starting out in the music industry?

Generalissima: Lobby for local venues.Write your own material. Practise every day. Collaborate out of your usual sphere.

Photo Supplied: Menopause Army

As women, how do you think the Tottenham has changed? What would you like to see change?

Generalissima: Tottenham seems to have got more male…More men on the corners, in the shisha bars, more barber shops and kebab shops…more stabbing…more cursing…more jostling and barging of the elders. More shops selling junk food and cheap nonsense.

I'd like to see more older women-friendly venues not just about eating and drinking, stinking of meat-fat, and not chains; run by locals and open late. We’re not all carers and has-beens! It’s so good Tottenham Women is doing its thing!

Lieutenant MoBbIt_fOS: More diverse small independent businesses run by women, more creative spaces run by local for local, less council-tick-the-box-bullshit just to get funding, less fake-charities funded by council or EU money and run by businessmen for money rather then locals for locals. Private Thompson: I see a lot of development. Im not against development but it would be better if this could benefit the local community and businesses  rather than pushing them out of the borough because of increased property prices, rents and rates.

I would like to see more opportunity for young people to have a space they can call their own, where they can create and learn. Creative space.

More business opportunities eg lower business rates to allow local business to grow and provide job opps for young people.

Favourite thing to do in Tottenham?

Generalissima: The Angels who roam the streets at night and sometimes turn up unexpectedly when I’m feeling threatened.

Lieutenant MoBbIt_fOS: Walks on West Green Road amongst real people and raves in the marshes.

Anything you would like to add?

Generalissima: What happened to T Chances? The Garden Ladder, even the Wellington! Where are the medium sized venues with cheap hire run by locals?

Find out more about Menopause Army at their website

#punk #womenpunks #womeninthearts #menopause #womenbands


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