BOOK FESTIVAL – Kristin Hersh

Reading selections from her autobiographical memoir Paradoxical Undressing, Kristin Hersh is as engaging sitting down talking as she is when onstage singing with her band Throwing Muses.

Telling an audience of thirty and fortysomethings how her songs seem to exist outside her own head, and touching matter-of-factly on her battle with schizophrenia, Hersh describes her writing – based on her teenage diaries – as covering several phases of her life. The teenage, the psychotic, the pregnant: her eloquent and poetic words provide a glimpse of life on the road with a rock band who never once bowed to the pressures of the mainstream of the music industry.

Indeed, that industry seems to be a bete-noire for Hersh, who describes its demise at the hands of digital downloads and free sharing with relish. Unsurprising from a singer-songwriter whose band produced some of the most startling and leftfield music of their time; and who continue to do so without compromise.

Hersh also reveals a particular affinity for Scotland and Edinburgh, explaining that her love for Scottish people’s truthfulness and poetic nature was the reason she choose to first read her memoirs aloud in Glasgow; and recalling the time she wrote the song Your Ghost alone at night in an Edinburgh hotel room.

Genuine and honest without a trace of an ego, Kristin Hersh causes Edinburgh to warm to her even more with this revealing and enjoyable talk; showing the woman behind the music to be just as fascinating as the lyrics she pens.

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