A hugely important figure in the music and counter-cultural movement often called Anarcho-Punk, but so much more besides. An inspirational woman. Has left us… but leaves behind a legacy and extended family to whom she was a spiritual mother-figure.   (Below is how her son, Pete Fender broke the news on Facebook)

Vi Subversa
20th June 1935 – 19th February 2016

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.
We are holding a private funeral for her close friends and family, and naturally there will be a public event to celebrate her life and work later in the year. We, her family, ask that our need for privacy be respected during this very difficult time.
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.
Love,
PF x

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Ged Babey is 56. from Southampton, has written since 1985 for Sound Info, Due South, various fanzines and websites, contributed to Record Collector magazine and was sole author of 'Punk Throwback' fanzine -the name of which was taken from an insult hurled at him by the singer with a young band he managed for a while. Ged believes that all good music and art has a connection with punk rock.

10 COMMENTS

  1. my condolences, this is so sad- your loss is our loss. I found Poison Girls very influential in my youth. I thank Vi for the inspiration that she gave me and all the enjoyable music that I still play to this day. Her memory will live with us.

  2. Thank you to the original uploaders of the two youtube videos featured above. Both of which are priceless and inspirational and capture the spirit of Vi beautifully. Thanks Nogsi Si and sandrifting. x

  3. How sad, and a little bizarre too, just two night ago I was searching online to see if I could find out the date the Poison Girls played in Bolton. I think it was about 83/84, it was the first punk band I ever saw live.

  4. I speak for everyone that ever met this woman a big BIG influence on my life and I will miss her – long may her talents be passed on to new generations of people who see the truth told unapologetically as only Vi could. RIP Vi

  5. I loved your Mum and I’ve written a tribute to her on my blog. We were so hoping to include her in our documentary; she was brave and brilliant and completely inspirational, and the world was a better place for having her in it x

  6. As a child in the late 1950s I remember your mum very well, she used to visit our house in Fulham, South London to attend Colin Ward’s monthly anarchist meetings. Back then she was with her then “husband”, Philip Sansom.

    I also remember her being a very talented potter and operated from a unit off the Fulham Road, a stone’s throw from Chelsea football ground.

    She was certainly a “character” the like of which won’t come our way again.

    Condolences in your loss.

    Alan Balfour (now of Southampton).

  7. I was honoured to meet Vi and the “Girls” when they were based at a squat in Epping, Essex, and some of the band were signing on at the same DHSS office. The big old house in extensive grounds was due for demolition to run the motorway through. This would have been about 1977 – 1978. I gave Vi my poems to read for her critique. She read them. I can’t remember her opinion, but she probably thought I was a pain in the arse. I am proud to say that she used the title of one of my poems (but not the words) as the title for one of the tracks on “Hex”, “Take the Toys from the Boys”. She expressed eloquently the lot in life of women in “Tart’s Song” – “I don’t want to be like my mother, hang around, wait on all the others, her price is low, she doesn’t bother” ( probably a few words wrong there). I’d never heard anything like that, but that was how I felt, and around that time there was David Bowie singing on his Lodger LP “Boys keep swinging, boys always work it out” – jammy buggers. I liked the fact that the album had no copyright. John Peel went down a few pegs in my eyes as I never heard the Poison Girls played on his show – too hot to handle I suppose. Interesting to read about Vi’s background as I didn’t know. She was an extraordinary and high talented woman.

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