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Vi Subversa dead at 80

Poison Girls vocalist and guitarist passes away after short illness

Vi Subversa, the singer and guitarist of anarcho-punk outfit Poison Girls, has died aged 80.

Her son Pete Fender confirmed the news on Facebook.

His statement reads: “It is with deep sorrow that I have to announce the mourning of my wonderful mum Frances Sokolov, known to many as Vi Subversa, who has passed away peacefully following a short illness.

“We know that her death will come as a shock. Vi had recently celebrated her 80th birthday and only a few short weeks ago gave what was to be her final performance.

“Vi led an extraordinary life in a variety of fields, but was no doubt best known as the lead singer, lyricist and rhythm guitarist in Poison Girls. She was a key figure to a lot of people and we know that there will be a great many who would wish to pay tribute to her music and words, as well as to her remarkable achievements in life. We know too that she would want this to happen.”

While her funeral will be private, Fender says he hopes to run a public event later in the year to celebrate her life and work.

He adds: “We are confident that Vi would not wish her friends and fans to overindulge in sadness. We all feel that her life was complete and should be celebrated. She made it to the milestone, and her time had come. Flesh and blood is what we are.”

Subversa was a 44 year old mother of two when Poison Girls released their first single Closed Shop – a split 12-inch with Fatal Microbes – in 1979.

The “militant feminist, peacenik, anti-fascist, anti-capitalist punk” became a leading figure of the counterculture movement, with her lyrics focusing on sexuality and gender roles.

Poison Girls released three studio albums: Chappaquiddick Bridge (1980), Where’s The Pleasure (1982) and Songs Of Praise (1985), while their only live record, Total Exposure, came out in 1981.

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