Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Chrissy Amphlett

I love myself,
I want you to love me.

There was a certain soft sexual fantasy in there. The word risque was made for this. I remembered her as softer and blonder for some reason but she clearly wasn't. Not quite so rasping and husky. She was older too, the grainy video never lies it just gets more recurring hits. This version has four million hits or so. I suppose that's good going and inch for inch, groan for groan a lot of on screen sexual fantasy. I didn't ever buy the single, I probably hummed along to it myself. It was all about self really and in truth it was a tacky piece of embarrassment. Just about acceptable on Radio 2 in the afternoon and probably talked over by some inane self important DJ. Self rules again.

The guitar was nicely out of tune, thin and squeaky, a Les Paul Jnr. and she was writhing about and pouting, touching wispy hair and moving in and out of shot. The editing was deliberately annoying, never settling on anything long enough for it make sense and it was all interiors and a soft focus muddle. It look cheap and probably everybody was surprised when it became at hit. You can imagine the high times and the celebration meals, the hope of building on this foundation, world domination beckons. When I heard that she was dead I played it on You Tube, I got about three quarters way through it before I clicked back onto the BBC. That was enough. The Huffington Post had some link to her Facebook page, there were a few tributes there. She was older, a bit puffy, defiant with two illnesses, the pop career long gone and filed out only by the vague memories of some floating generation of innocent voyeurs like me. There was a Judy Garland episode, that's entertainment for you.

I guess that that kind of fame, short and burning then settling into a more conventional arc, bit parts and the possible creeping income that goes with it is better than most achieve, it's a living and a video archive existence. Art in suspended animation, a kind of media art anyway and everything is a kind of art. Innocent, angry and at it's peak full of dangerous, latent energy then gone, replaced by some other, younger piece of titillation.

A while ago I went into work and a dumb receptionist was singing along to it and giggling without irony. The radio again. It was proof of how blatant rock and roll innuendo misses so many listeners, lost in the ozone layer. All they hear is a glossy beat and a lah lah lah lyric. You feel sorry for the Dylans, Cohens, Mitchells and Waits with their blunt pencils, typewriter fingers and their researches into fine literature. All that work and depth recognised by the few but missed by the masses, that's the problem with entitlement, education and the black hole of erotica. “I don't want anybody else, when I think about you...” it does say a whole lot. That's culture and value and meaning all grasping their respective nettles when all you need to say is what it is you really mean. Direct messaging I suppose. I thought about her back story, somewhere in New York, seeing the downhill path, becoming sick, some medical expenses. Cancer and Multiple Sclerosis and five minutes of fame and a promising career on the stage, a curious set of gifts. That's too cruel an ending at fifty three. I hope she's still dancing and pouting some place else.

I forget myself,
I need you to remind me.

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