Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Women Who Rock and/or Make History: X and Ada Lovelace

March is Girl Women's History Month.

Fact: girls can do things too!

Fact: girls can't do rock and roll, or so one might conclude from the paucity of females inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (motto: "We've got Randy Newman!"). Real fact: girls can do rock and roll (some of them).

Since I am enjoying getting on my high horse (or getting high on horse), I'm going to double dip with a series of girl-on-girl posts. It's a combination of a female musical act (or a band with a female member [possibly more]) that merits* induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and a female who did something like bake a cake or killed a guy (Laura Bush killed a guy).

There are a couple of seminal punk and new wave bands that I erroneously thought were already inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. X is one of them (this is about X the band, and not Exene Cervenka as a solo artist because... come on).

Their sound matured, then evolved, from raw punk to punk to cow punk to rock to alternative melange. They lacked the consistency of sound of The Ramones and Fugazi (I'm willing to bet a series of A&R executives each had an idea about their sound), and the "rock out with your cock out" frat boy fan base of Red Hot Chili Peppers, but Rolling Stone ranked Los Angeles and Wild Gift on their list of the 500 greatest albums of all time (OF. ALL. TIME.) and Pitchfork includes Los Angeles on their Top 100 Albums of the 1980s. 

And lists are never wrong. 

If you look at the list of things that are never wrong, lists is #2 (I am #1).

Members of X are also sometimes members of The Knitters and also sometimes release solo albums and also sometimes are actors. John Doe was almost David Duchovny in X-Files, and is a musical theater enthusiast. Exene predicted this freaky thing in one of her songs.

Ada Lovelace is not a porn star. She is the product of a mother who did NOT want her daughter taking up after her father's line of business, and of a father who was fucking Byron. Lord fucking Byron. Lord Byron, fuck. 

Her mom, Anne Isabella Noel Byron, 11th Baroness Wentworth and Baroness Byron, insisted that her daughter learn science and math (and probably accounting) to keep her from the insanity and hedonism of poetry. The Byrons were not a happy couple.

She ran with the science crowd (Michael Faraday, Charles Wheatstone, you know the types) and was friends with Charles "the father of computers" Babbage (seriously, if you do a search on "the father of computers" you will get Charles Babbage, and pictures of penises). She also translated an article on Babbage's Analytical Engine from Italian to English (a girl who could read and write BOTH Italians and English? she's a witch!!!) and made an elaborate series of notes and annotations which contain the first computer program. 

That's right, the first computer program predates the first computer.

Take that, males.

* There is a wide spectrum of rock & roll gravitas for the artists included in the 31 I will include. I feel like a reasonable case can be made for each, and everyone one of these is at least as worthy as Randy Newman, 2103 inductee.

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