The Slits

Wanna Be a Typical Girl: Video Anthology

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The Slits are one of those cult bands who are fringe enough to make a commercial DVD anthology/documentary a risky commercial proposition, but popular enough that a lot of people do want to see vintage footage of the group. Well, at least enough to instigate a bootleg release of such footage, which is contained on this erratic 68-minute disc. It's a slapdash mix of genuine live footage, promo clips, excerpts from retrospective U.K. punk TV documentaries, and interviews, as well as the bits from the film Jubilee in which they can be seen. As is sadly too true of many video remnants from punk's golden years, the live clips -- which include examples of their ramshackle initial punk phase and, to an unfortunately lesser degree, the more dub-influenced sound toward which they evolved -- are of fairly mediocre quality, both in sound and camera work. More disappointingly, the promo clips really aren't in appreciably better shape, and are often filled with trivial scenes of the group horsing around, shopping, eating, etc. that really aren't much more interesting than the kind of trivial scenes that filled much slicker, more commercial promos in the early days of music videos. The scene of them doing "Typical Girls" in a park at least shows them playing (or, rather, miming) with energy, though it still falls short of being a pleasure to watch. Less pleasant are the bits from the documentaries and interviews, which are not only taken from ragged multi-generation sources, but are also jarringly edited together so that only the very short bits in which the Slits are shown or speak appear. There's obviously sufficient interest in the Slits for some enterprising video company to do a good break-even documentary that could draw upon some of this source material, but this raw collection of clips doesn't do this very interesting band justice.