Vivienne Westwood began Get A Life, her online diary, in 2010 with an impassioned post about Native American activist Leonard Peltier. Since then, she has written two or three entries each month, discussing her life in fashion and her involvement with art, politics and the environment.
Reading Vivienne’s thoughts, in her own words, is as fascinating and provocative as you would expect from Britain’s punk dame – a woman who always says exactly what she believes. You might find Vivienne highlighting tribal communities’ struggles to maintain the rainforest; another might see her visiting Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy, or driving up to David Cameron‘s house in the Cotswolds in a full-on tank. Then again, Vivienne might be hanging out with her friend Pamela Anderson, or in India for Naomi Campbell‘s birthday party, or watching Black Sabbath in Hyde Park with Sharon Osbourne. The beauty of Vivienne Westwood’s diary is that it is so fresh and unpredictable. In book form, generously illustrated with her own selection of images, it is irresistible.
Get a Life is a fresh, unpredictable look at the life of one of the most influential artists and campaigners of our times. Spanning six years of Climate Revolution, fashion and activism, the book is as provocative as you would expect from Britain’s punk dame.
Beginning with a great sweep through those early decades of activism and fashion (activism in fashion) – rebelling through clothes at 430, Kings Road; plundering history for the Pirates collection; quietly shaping a manifesto that would later evolve into the Climate Revolution project – the idea is to access Vivienne’s point of view. What we have here then is a story of the last six years of Climate Revolution and the journey that got us there.
Learning from the past to understand the present. Giving the complete picture.
My diaries are about the things I care about. Not just fashion but art and writing, human rights, climate change, freedom, Westwood said.
While the diary was written, primarily, with the intention of warning people of the danger we’re in from climate change (a subject that feels particularly pertinent given fracking’s recent UK go-ahead, despite a rejection from Lancashire council), it is, as Vivienne puts it, also a great thing to do for yourself. “It marks your life, you know where you’re up to, and where you’re going,” she says. “You pin down your ideas, adjust and develop: a constant résumé and improvement”.
I call the diaries Get a Life as that’s how I feel: you’ve got to get involved, speak out and take action.
With that in mind, she writes about fashion to alleviate the hard focus which we must apply to save the world, but also because it’s her life and she loves it. She writes about art because the Art Lover is a freedom fighter for a better world, but also because so many of her experiences are tied up within in it: trips to galleries with her son Joe, bicycle rides to the Barbican with Andreas. She writes about Sudoku because, well, she likes Sudoku. But it’s all connected. You get out what you put in – says the writer Matthew Whitehouse.