MTV/MuchMusic made stars given the right product. One of those photogenic products was Billy Idol. Carefully packaged, he was a sensation who almost became a superstar. He carefully curated image wasn’t enough for him to rise beyond charts of the times. I admit that I was drawn to him for those great videos – White Wedding, Flesh For Fantasy, Catch My Fall: and also by his willingness to exploit his body. Flesh for Idol Fantasy 🙂
His cover-song hits (Mony Mony) had a sort of a Punk Monkees feel to them – safe songs with a sneeringly dangerous look. Catch My Fall was a gay porn dream that kept its pants on. White Wedding was Meatloaf reheated with a hot spice thanks to Billy. Even his name is a call back to those teen boy, one hit stars of the Brit 60’s. Idol managed more than one hit though.
I have stand-alone Rebel Yell; and in mp3 collection the hits: Vital Idol. Thanks to the amazing guitar work of Steve Stevens, Rebel Yell transcends the standard pop sound. His work on Flesh is sublime. Idol’s singing is solid but lacks, for me, emotional depth – he’s mostly loud but never really sexy, angry, introspective. But he is a good song writer as he co-wrote all the songs on Rebel Yell.
Sadly he never became the superstar he hoped. I’m not sure what actually happened: drugs, ego, booze, fame undermined him. I have heard his work after his initial star burst & it lacks the drive of his MTV era work. He never re-invented himself as Madonna (another of those MTV video stars) continues to do. I hope he isn’t stuck in some Pittsburg Holiday Inn lounge singing for his supper.
‘What do you think?’ the clerk sprayed some cologne on a small card and handed it to me.
‘Pleasant.’ I didn’t really like the smell of wet cardboard but it was easier to feign pleasure than become a grump.
‘It’s the latest thing from Loginfield. Trust.’
The smoked glass bottle had a golden tinge. It was completely round, a ball with a small atomizer on the top. It came with a special stand to keep it from rolling around through one’s make-up.
‘Perhaps sir would like to see how it smells on him?’
‘Trust me I wouldn’t you.’
The clerk’s face wrinkled slightly as if I had imposed on her valuable time.
‘But thank you for the offer.’ I stepped away.
‘We have another you might like. ‘Patience?’
Patience had a sharp floral cardboard smell on the card she sprayed it on.
‘No, thank you. I’m not in the market for any of these. Today.’
I resisted pushing her aside so I could keep on my way.
‘We have a special on ‘Don’t Hesitate.’’ She stepped towards me. ‘There’s also a bonus with the ‘I Forgive’ line. This limited edition umbrella.’
‘No. No. I’m sure they are all quite nice but …’
‘Sounds more like you want the ‘Not Sure.’ It has become one of our best seller.’ She reached for a clear glass bell shaped bottle. There was a hazy green liquid in it. ‘One whiff and I’m sure …’
‘Look.’ I stopped and faced her. ‘I am not interested. Leave me alone. If there was a way into the store that allowed me in without passing the perfume counter I would sure take but there isn’t.’
‘Ohh, I know your type. You want ‘No Escape.’ Too bad you missed last week’s special on that but I think I may have one left somewhere. The cutest little key chain.’
‘Yes. Why don’t you see if you can get that special for me? I might be interested.’
‘Really?’ Her face lit up. ‘I know exactly where it is.’
She ducked behind the counter and I high-tailed it to my original destination – the bedding department. I checked behind me to make sure she wasn’t following me. Though, now that I was in the store, I had to find away out without being seen my her or any of the others. Perhaps if I bought a couple of pillows and carried them so my face couldn’t be seen. That might work.
I examined a duvet. There was a tap at my shoulder. It was perfume counter clerk.
‘Perhaps you might prefer this. It just came in. We call it ‘Trapped.’
every Tuesday 2019
June – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C. capfireslam.org