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Summary

Best music books of 2020

Lead singer of multi-million-selling rock band Skunk Anansie, solo artist, LGBTQ+ activist and all around trail blazer – Skin is a global icon, and she has been smashing stereotypes for over twenty-five years. Her journey from Brixton to one of the most influential women in British rock is nothing short of extraordinary.

‘It’s been a very difficult thing being a lead singer of a rock band looking like me and it still is. I have to say it’s been a fight and it will always be a fight. That fight drives you and makes you want to work harder... It’s not supposed to be easy, particularly if you’re a woman, you’re black or you are gay like me. You’ve got to keep moving forward, keep striving for everything you want to be.’

Born to Jamaican parents, Skin grew up in Brixton in the 1970’s. Her career as an artist began in the ‘90s, when Skunk Anansie was formed in the sweat-drenched backrooms of London’s pubs. Since then she has headlined Glastonbury and toured the world, both as lead singer of Skunk Anansie and as a solo artist.

Her success has been groundbreaking in every way, which has come at a personal cost. She has always been vocal about social and cultural issues, and was championing LGBTQ+ rights at a time when few artists were out and gay.

Told with honesty and passion, this is the story of how a gay, black, working-class girl with a vision fought poverty and prejudice to write songs, produce and front her own band, and become one of the most influential women in British rock.

©2020 Skin and Lucy O'Brien (P)2020 Simon & Schuster UK

Critic reviews

"One of the most important females in British music of my lifetime." (Colin Murray)

"A beautiful, raw and exhilarating book that will leave you feeling empowered." (Fearne Cotton)

"The pioneering Skunk Anansie frontwoman’s memories offer a very different take on the Britpop era…Skin’s story is one of a rhomboid peg spurning both the round and square hole, drilling dimensions of her own…We now have a lot of language – intersectionality, microaggressions – to describe many of the events in this memoir. However, nothing can really equal candid, first-hand experience, recounted matter of factly here. It would be instructive for anyone who thought they knew the story of the 90s to spend 300 pages in Skin’s Skin." (Observer)

What listeners say about It Takes Blood and Guts

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Hooked

Only started listening to today and can’t turn off. skin’s voice is captivating and beautiful

8 people found this helpful

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Epic

Great chilled listen. Utterly engaging and inspiring. 99% of the narration is spoken by Skin.

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What a joy!

Absolutely loved every part of the book but having Skin reading it, was just a bliss! Brilliant idea of starting chapters with songs! loved it ! loved it! loved it!

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Captivating audio book

A captivating listen from the start to the end. Being read by Skin herself is a real treat to the listener.

1 person found this helpful

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Love Skin

A wonderful listen. I could listen to Skin read the telephone book though! Biography of a true rock goddess and queer icon!

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In her own voice

I loved hearing Skin tell her story, from roots to present, in her own voice. She took me on a journey from where she started to where she is now with anecdotes, highs and lows. I have loved Skunk Anansie since the 90’s and have been fortunate to see them live a number of times. Last being the Live25 tour. Skins energy (and crowd surfs) have always been legendary. In a post pandemic world I wonder if we will ever get back to those deeply moving moments of being in a crowd, watching a band you love, jumping and dancing with strangers all smiling and glowing with shared joy of the musical moment. Listening to this book took me there, sharing her journey, getting an inside view I felt part of the moments that made Skunk Anansie the great band they are. Thanks Skin!

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Great to hear

Loved This, Skin is certainly a trailblazer as a black woman, rock legend and Human, Such a beautiful soothing listen, Thank you Skin for sharing your journey

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Brilliant book

Absolutely loved it. I was a huge fan of her and the band, saw them live and will again. It was great hearing the story read by her own voice too.
A very talented and inspirational woman.

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Interesting insight into Skin's life

I am a huge fan of Skunk Anansie and their edginess as a band puts them in a category of their own. I first went along to a gig over 20 years ago and watching gigs practically every night then they kind of stood out for me (in a very good way). Anyway 20 years later I'm even more of a fan now than I was then randomly going to gigs and in someway Ace would be the man living my best life, although after listening to this book maybe it's not all glamorous as we think. Anyway, I think they are all complete legends who have been influenced by so many but yet stand out as being influencers in their own right. Love you Skin, and thanks for this book its really given me a great insight into your life. It kind of makes perfect sense having an audiobook as well as for someone who is a vocalist specialist, it would be a bit crazy not to have Skin read it to you and express herself as she does so well.

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Brilliant deep kind

Skin reviewed as a great human, congruent, funny, brave and with tons of great stories and observations