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–The Last Living Slut: Born In Iran, Bred Backstage

–The Last Living Slut: Born In Iran, Bred Backstage (2010)

By Roxana Shirazi

“Love your body, love your sexuality, and realize that you are a bad human being only if you are unkind and cruel and do harm unto others–and not because of your sex life.”

So proclaims author and famous rock groupie Roxana Shirazi as she redefines the word, “slut,” in her introduction to The Last Living Slut: Born In Iran, Bred Backstage. Right off the bat, Shirazi decries the sexual double-standard that champions men for practicing sexual promiscuity while denigrating, or crucifying, women for living similarly sexually-adventurous lifestyles. Not only is Shirazi promptly presenting her own distinct position on sexuality and women’s rights, but this introduction serves to entice the reader to read her story freely without passing judgment. “Let he who hath never sinned cast the first stone.” That is the sort of empathetic sentiment that Shirazi inspires in this, her first novel: a book that delivers an honest, gripping and, ultimately, fun account of a young Persian woman who comes of age in the company of hungry and virile hard rock musicians.

Shirazi was born in the early 1970s amid the political oppression of Iran’s Western-backed Shah regime. Danger always lurked on the streets of Tehran for young Shirazi and her friends and politically-active family members, many of whom became prisoners of the state. Yet Shirazi writes with warmth of her early years growing up in Iran, describing in vivid detail her fond memories of her grandmother’s home cooking, the large and jubilant family gatherings, and her special “dark” place for sweet daydreams – her mother’s cellar. It is while still living in Tehran that Shirazi bravely endured sexual abuse, all the while beginning to explore her own sexuality with a spirit of joy and freedom. There is a vivid sense of nostalgia and humanity in this early portion of the book, which Shirazi presents as a sort of “good-old days” before the storm of her later life.

However, in this true story things get much more brutal in a hurry. At age ten, Shirazi and her grandmother fled Iran to escape Khomeini’s extreme Islamic fundamentalist regime. Their destination, Manchester, England, only offered Shirazi and her grandmother extreme poverty, dismal living conditions in opaque gray slums, and cruel bullying at the hands of the local school kids. Here, both Shirazi’s grandmother and her childhood innocence became casualties of the “promise” of the West. She describes how she retreated into herself and focused on reading literature, writing fiction and enjoying the music of hard rock bands such as Guns N Roses. Shirazi is also candid in her description of the sexual inspiration she took from watching W. Axl Rose sing and slither along the dance floor on MTV. From here on out, her life would be about rock – and her love of rockers.

The ensuing depiction of Shirazi’s wild and debauchery-filled life in the underground British rock scene has to be read to believed. She enjoys continuous sexual, and occasionally romantic, episodes with bands such as Towers of London, Velvet Revolver, Avenged Sevenfold, Buckcherry, Motley Crue, GNR and many more. At this point, the autobiography adopts a rapid-fire, matter-of-fact tone that evokes concurrently thrilling and disturbing feelings within the reader. Shirazi’s graphic and clinical descriptions of the (oftentimes drug-enhanced) sexual acts are much more mind-numbing and repetitive than titillating. However, this may be a deliberate attempt to recreate the soul-crushing emotions that are often associated with being caught up in an addictive sort of lifestyle. Once the reader has become tempted to pass moral judgment on Shirazi, she states how much she just wanted to be loved and how easily she does fall in love. And yes, she reveals this endearing human tenderness when she falls hard for GNR keyboardist Dizzy Reed, only to have to abort her baby and endure wrenching emotional abuse at the hands of her former lover. It is this point that Shirazi truly understands the distinct double-standards and misogyny inherent in the hard rock universe. Like all of us, she longs to experience truly caring and sincere relationships, and we feel her pain.

Ultimately, The Last Living Slut is an addictive and complex portrayal of a remarkably brave young woman. Shirazi shows us, in an entertaining fashion, what it means to be a sexually-free human being who also happens to love literature, postmodernism, and animal rights. Above all, she reminds us to think twice before picking up that judgment stone. Look for it on a bookshelf near you, and enjoy the sizzling tour-bus ride.–Jonathan Kollnot

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~ by jonnyboyrocker on June 25, 2012.

One Response to “–The Last Living Slut: Born In Iran, Bred Backstage”

  1. Read her book in one straight sitting, and I loved it, and her.
    She has lived the full rock ‘n’ roll lifesyle as a dedicated groupie and felt extremely maternal towards most of the bands she followed.
    She fell in love with a high profile member of Guns ‘n’ Roses, and had her heart broken and reputation trashed by him.
    Don’t judge this amazing woman before you read her story.

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