It isn’t often you can call a woman a moll and live to tell the tale, but to self-professed rock moll Anne Bentley it’s almost a badge of honour earned over the past five years spent documenting Sydney’s own queer punk collective, Scooter Rock Chix.
Now in its 10th year, the movement has grown from a once-a-week showcase night into an internationally known and respected organisation with its own venue.
To celebrate this progression to big girl status Bentley is staging a retrospective of photographs, providing audiences with an insider’s tour of the underground.
In 2002 I went to a gig at the Imperial, and walked in and thought -˜I’m home, this is fantastic’. It was a bit of sanity once a month, going to a Scooter gig and being amongst women and like-minded fellas and fabulous lesbians, Bentley recalled of her introduction to Scooter gigs, which soon developed into an artistic relationship after being inspired by the stage explosion which was Baby Maker.
It was more or less instinctive, said Bentley, who never intentionally set out to document the rise of a scene.
I’m not a documentary maker in that I’m doing those stock standard -˜rock shots’. Mine are just more how I see it. Some of the photos are not going to be the most pristine works and the lighting isn’t fantastic and maybe there’s movement in the photo, but I’m getting what I’m seeing. My main thing is to get it so you can walk up to that photo and feel like you’re standing right at that stage.
It was from this intimate position that Bentley captured startling images of everyone from the very first BugGIRL gig to Bra Code, Mz Anthropic and Scum System Kill -” all of whom Bentley watched grow from music scene lepers to queens of their own domain, with the collective purchasing its own venue last year, the Red Rattler in Marrickville.
Scooter started in ’98, really just to give women an opportunity to get up on a stage and play, even if you couldn’t and you weren’t confident. I’ve seen some bands that are just absolutely dreadful but that’s OK, because they got up and played and felt what it was like in an atmosphere that was safe -” there wasn’t moshing or violent, drunk boys, so that’s what’s been important about Scooter.
It’s almost come full circle now, Bentley added, pointing out that Scooter has become known and respected by female artists worldwide who seek out gigs with the collective. But supporting Scooter is still really important, because you’re supporting women in music. It’s a bit like feminism, you’ve got to stay vigilant.
info: 5 Years as a Rock Moll shows at Ruban Rat, 76 Parramatta Rd, Stanmore, January 22-26.
For more information on Bentley go to www.artzinephotography.com.au.
Bra Code at the Marquis.