Monday, May 23, 2011

when we’re old and full of cancer, it doesn’t matter now, come on get happy ‘cause nothing lasts forever and i will always love you

It's an almost surreal experience to hear an icon of yours - for style, music, and attitude - being so frank about their insecurities and perceived flaws. This is what occurred for me when reading the transcribed interview with Debbie Harry on Radio 4's Desert Island Discs today. Along with frankly discussing about her drug habit - from which she has long recovered from - and admitting her regrets about not having children, the rock star revealed her insecurities regarding growing older. Harry said, "As far as aging goes, it's rough. It's hard. I rely on looks a lot. Women's calling cards, unfortunately, are based on their looks." And as much as a die-hard Blondie fan (like I) doesn't want to admit it, Harry's success wasn't completely based on her immense talent - it did, in part, have to do with her looks. I remember reading a book on Patti Smith a few months back by Victor Bockris, and in it friends and fellow 70s scenesters discussed Smith's contempt for Debbie Harry as a performer back in the day. Debbie was the physical embodiment of all the women Patti worshipped - she was blonde, wide-eyed, and beautiful. Patti loved the likes of Anita, Marianne, Nico, and Edie for their ethereal beauty, but hated it in Debbie. Perhaps because Patti loved these beauties as they were seen as muses, the inspirations for poetry and music - not the writers of the music itself. Debbie integrated herself in the same scene as Patti, and had talent to match the reigning Princess of Punk. Bockris writes, “Debbie had all the physical attributes of the women that Patti celebrated in her poetry: blondeness, beauty, and charisma. However, those attributes encountered in the flesh, combined with talent, a voice, and a healthy dose of ambition, constituted a threat” to Patti, who fancied herself the female Keith Richards and physically mirrored the Stone to androgynous success. There was a moment when Patti admitted both her dislike and love for Debbie, telling the Blondie singer to get out of rock'n'roll and they could run off together, as detailed in an interview with the High Times Reader. Debbie in turn interpreted it as Patti's declaration that there was only room enough for one of them in music and Debbie wasn't good enough to withstand Patti's talents. 
Thank goodness Debbie didn't let any intimidations from Miss Smith or any of the other numerous critics get to her, because if she lacked a steely resilience and undying passion for music, we might not have Blondie in our iPods blasting on our way to work. Harry seems to have the same view in coming to terms with how her outward appearance altered her music and life, concluding to Radio 4 that, despite everything, "I'm glad I've had all the radical experiences in my life. I have a better perspective." 



Title: from "Don't Forget Me" (Marianne Faithfull)

16 comments:

make the world a prettier place said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

This is such an interesting post! I agree with you - it is very brave of her to talk about her insecurities. A very-well wirtten post!
I really like to read your blog!
- Marie
PS You should include a Twitter button to your posts - I would like to Twitter your posts sometimes.

JessM said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I really love this post. I never knew that Patti Smith had issues with Debbie Harry... Makes it seem like one woman who I always thought was sort of bad to the bone(Ms. Smith) was actually insecure in some ways.
I also love how honest Debbie is about aging. What she says is true about women's looks usually being the same as their identies. It's unfortunate but true.

Ix said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I´m a fan of Debbie since long ago, and I love her way so much...I think we must be more than appeareance but what the hells I like to look fine too :D

RetroBlonde said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Debbie was heart stoppingly beautiful then and still is. Everyone gets older...if they're lucky. She still looks amazing.

honeyboney said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

oh i love the song you used as the title. i love it, love it, love it.

i wish somebody would sing it to me.

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

sad post!! but interesting and also beautiful.
if I may do a suggestion, please post about the Ormsby-Gore girls, Jane, Victoria and Alice (former Eric Clapton's fiancée), they were very much into the fashion scene of the 60s and 70s.
and forgive my horrible english!
peace!

The Cat Hag said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Amazing article, thanks for sharing.

It offered a bit more insight into their long-standing rivalry. :)


xoxo,
Addie
The Cat Hag

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

i like your site. How long have you had it? How long do you think you will keep it going? if its for ever then that would be beautiful.

Peace!

Alexis said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Hi Marie - Thank you for the compliment! And I will definitely work on linking a Twitter thingy to the site. That would be so awesome if you could reblog (or retweet I suppose?) some posts :)
xxo

Alexis said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Jess - I think that the honestly on both of their parts makes them such goddesses. That Patti, who for all intents and purposes can do whatever the fuck she wants, had issues when someone 'prettier' and as talented as she is entered the game, it's so humanizing and makes us realize how we really are all the same.
Same with the sentiments that Debbie expressed - we all get old, we all become faded. It's how we live, even when we're unhappy with our looks and lives, that really counts.

Alexis said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

lx - I definitely agree! I honestly think that Debbie and Patti were so much more than they looked. I think Debbie is beautiful, and I think Patti is beautiful (despite her own protests) because they seemed to never use overt sex appeal to get ahead. But on the flip side, I have the same insecurities about my looks as Debbie - and I certainly don't look an inch like Ms. Harry. And I have the same freakouts that Patti had. When I see a gal who is smart and with great style, great skin, and shiny glossy hair, honestly I kinda want to punch her. Always.
It's the truth.

Alexis said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

RetroBlonde - that's a refreshing way to look at aging. We are LUCKY to grow old, get wrinkles, sag and fade. A lot of other people never get the chance to bemoan the lines on their foreheads.
True beauty, while it may fade a bit, never goes away.

Alexis said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Honey boney - if we ever meet, I'll sing this song to you :)

Alexis said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Anonymous,
Thank you for your wonderful suggestions! I've read up a little about the Ormsby-Gore girls in the past, mostly Alice due to her relationship to Eric, but I would most definitely like to learn more about these sisters.
And your English most definitely is NOT horrible - it's really, really good!

Alexis said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Addie - I'm glad you enjoyed my post. It's interesting their rivalry because there are so many different layers to it. There is love and respect but also deep-seeded jealousy and misunderstanding. I commend both women though for not publicizing their differences to make it into some grossly sensationalized thing, a la Hilary Duff and Lindsay Lohan.

Terrible comparison, I know ... but it was the only one I could think of. (Hey, it's almost 3 in the morning, I can get an excuse haha)

Alexis said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Hi Anonymous!
I'm glad you like my site! I've had DRG since the second half of my senior year in high school (I'm now a rising junior in university, so it's been about two and a half years). Honestly, I'd like to keep it going for as long as possible. I have no plans to stop writing anytime soon because I'm just writing about the things I love. So tentatively, yes, for forever! haha
I hope to expand Dolly Rocker Girl - I want to do a personal style section in hopes to attract more readers and turn them on to my style icons (actually those icons are more like obsessions... though in a non-creepy way haha). I do want to increase my readership in hopes to create a platform where I can write about films and culture in other forums like magazines, other blogs, etc. I know I'm not gonna be like one of those mammoth blogs with thousands and thousands of followers - and I'm way okay with that, because I just love writing and here on DRG I'm writing about things that truly inspire me, things that I needed a place to talk about in my spare time in order to not drive my friends crazy with my useless facts about 60s cinema and fashion. Hopefully I can in some way transition blogging from being a pastime to being a more dedicated, full-time focus of my life where I can weave more ventures in with the site...

Haha, do I make ANY sense at all?
:) xxo