Anyone who follows me on Twitter will know that I’ve been banging on about The Dirt on Netflix for a few days.
For anyone who doesn’t know, it’s a biographical film about Motley Crue and their mind-blowing story. Whilst watching it the flood gates of my own memories opened, and I’ve been basking in them for a few days. Well, you do when you get to our age don’t you?
I was a bit late to the modern music party, well amongst my friends anyway. The radio was always on in our house especially in the morning but it was always Radio Two and Terry Wogan. I was an expert on the music from the 60’s/70’s and the Floral Dance but didn’t really have a clue about current music. I can’t remember exactly when or how I got it, but I had a small radio that I found Radio 1 on. Punk was in it’s dying moments, New Romantics were establishing themselves, I remember there were also ‘mods’. At that moment, this was all I was aware of, and you picked a genre and stayed in your own lane. I don’t know if it was particular to my peer group, but it wasn’t really acceptable to chop and change. For instance, you couldn’t like Wham! one day and Whitesnake the next, without getting a sneer from your friends.
I initially got into Wham! and Spandau Ballet, their posters lined my walls. It’s who I talked about to my friends. However, in 1984 two things happened in quick succession. Firstly I discovered Tommy Vance’s Friday Rock Show on the radio. Then sometime in the summer, whilst doing my paper round, I read a Kerrang! magazine that I was supposed to be delivering. In it, there was a feature about the Monsters of Rock festival at Castle Donington. That year Motley Crue were appearing, they were in the magazine and they caught my eye. I’d heard some of their songs on Tommy Vance, but this was the first time I’d actually physically seen them. Their look blew my mind! We didn’t have Sky so I couldn’t watch the likes of MTV which would have opened my eyes a lot sooner!
I think I discovered Kiss after that, and then Warrant appeared on my radar followed by Poison, White Lion, Def Leppard etc. Whilst writing this blog I really wish I could get out my box of tapes and see exactly who I have! I started to grow my hair out, discovered blonde highlights and perms, and eventually bought a fringed black leather jacket. I did, of course, douse it in patchouli oil! By 1987, I’d come out of the glam rock closet and with me a couple of my friends. We went to The Dolly in Oxford where a lot of rock bands were playing and also a small pub just outside of Witney whose name I can’t remember right now!
By 1989 we were seeing small bands quite regularly. We’d booked to see Aerosmith, Skid Row but first was Motley Crue. I had loved Motley Crue, I wanted the Dr Feelgood album cover tattooed right down my forearm. And I definitely wanted to get up close and personal. But let’s just take a step back for a moment, queue record scratch.
I was a small town girl, who thought that going to Oxford on a night out was big time. There was no internet in those days, the news took ages to move through the channels and into the public psyche. What we were exposed to was heavily filtered. Not like these days when you have so many anonymous gossip sites that will gladly publish the fact that some celebrity was taking god knows what in public and trying to shame them. So I was beyond naive. I thought at the end of the night these ‘rockstars’ took off their high heels, leathers and makeup and replaced them with jeans and a flannel shirt. And probably enjoyed a few bottles of beer in the hotel bar before going to bed for a jolly well-earned sleep. I had no idea about their actual lifestyles.
So when I went off to London that night, excited beyond words that I’d be in the same room as Nikki Sixx, albeit a very very big room, I had no idea about the lesson I was about to learn. Firstly, we had shit seats. And I mean shit seats. Like the furthest back of the room seats that were practically outside the arena. So Motley Crue were like little dancing dots somewhere in the distance. And oh my, did my ego get a bashing. I’d left that night thinking I looked alright, but when we got into the arena and I saw some of the women I felt like a little girl in her Sunday best! I enjoyed the concert as best you can when you have terrible seats, and then I had the thought that maybe we should try and find their hotel where we could get a better look at them. We’d get the bus home in the morning. We excitedly planned it, but then getting towards the end of the concert droves of women with huuuge hair and wearing very little started to walk past us. We could catch snippets of their conversation, they all knew the hotel and were heading right there. One, in particular, was very vocal about she wouldn’t be happy until she’d had a band member, she didn’t care which one! I looked down at myself, I felt crushed! The picture below is me around this time, I mean can you imagine if I’d somehow found my way back to any hotel that Motley Crue were at?!! I’d have been chewed up and spat out, and probably still in counselling!
As we sat on our bus back to Oxford that night, I hated myself. I hated myself for being so naive, so small town and so bloody innocent. I wanted to be one of those women, who I have no doubt probably did end up achieving what they had set out to. Especially with what we know now about Motley Crue! I was due to see them again at Donington 1991, but by then I was battling my own demons which I have blogged about previously. In fact, it was mere weeks before my whole entire world came crashing down around my ears and so I never did end up seeing them again. And no matter how hard I tried, I never did end up looking like those girls either, but I did manage to expand my small town outlook!
Then life happened, and I forgot my love for that era and watching The Dirt has totally reminded me. I have consumed vast amounts of YouTube and documentaries these last few days and completely fallen in love with Motley Crue all over again. So if you were part of the hair bear bunch and haven’t yet seen the film, please do. It’s a fantastic watch! And it’s left me wondering if a middle-aged woman can get away with big hair and fringed leather jacket all over again!