The Myth Of The Rock God
(Image of the author aged 15 years old )
I have always had a weakness for musicians. Who actually doesn't? There is something about a rock musician that makes women go weak. Is it the leather trousers? Swagger? Talent? Or is it the thought that perhaps we'll become his muse? We'll be the one who inspires all that creativity?
My first proper rock crush was Michael Hutchence. I was actually the FIRST PERSON N THE UK to be aware of him. He popped up in some grainy satellite footage from Australia during LIVE AID, and despite the fact that he seemed to have bad skin, I was instantly in awe. Here was a man with the sexiest voice. Here was the man who managed to make a curly mullet look alluring. Here was a man that had something primeval and base and caveman about him. This was before the days when you could GOOGLE someone, so the next day I mentioned to a couple of friends that I'd spotted this guy in a band called INXS. Nobody knew who I was talking about. Then not long after, I saw a pin up of him in 'Just Seventeen' and was half happy and half pissed off. Now everyone would love him and it was much less likely that I'd have first dibs (this was my actual thought process), but interestingly when I showed the photo to a couple of mates, they rejected him immediately.
'He looks like an ape.'
'His hair is terrible.'
'You can have him, he's ugly.'
And I was happy with that. I had discovered this man and I would keep him. When his band INXS came to perform in London, I'd be the only fan there and it'd be sad for him, as he'd have to deal with his disappointment, but I'd be ready and when he saw me in my stripy tights, bubble perm and turquoise mascara he'd be all over me. That would be exactly what would happen.
Months passed and there was no tour announced. Then I noticed a few more pin ups in magazines. Then a couple of my friends started to change their tune.
'He's actually cool.'
'He has an interesting voice.'
'I love that one song they did on 'Top of The Pops' last week.'
And I was gutted as this man, this Michael Hutchence, ape-God, lover, sex-man was no longer mine. He was gaining popularity. He was on TV. He was touring. He was reportedly dating a top model. The model seemed very beautiful, and it was hard to find fault with her. Would Michael still be able to enjoy a girl like me? Would he let go the fact that I had short legs and a nose that looked okay from one side but weird from the other? I tried to send some photos into 'Just Seventeen' to see if I could become a model. I got my best friend to take them (who was actually a model). She was tactful and lovely and didn't point out that the brown shorts and halter neck top didn't play to my strengths. I still have those photos somewhere. I'm glad Michael never saw them, put it that way.
Then the time came to actually see INXS in concert. I went mad preparing as best I could. I went to Brixton and bought a very cheap hair extension that was nothing like my actual hair. It was light blonde and super curly but I tried it on under a red bandana so you wouldn't be able to see the difference. My best friend's Mum made me a pair of velvet hot pants which I planned to wear with a shoulder less top and my Doc Marten boots. Michael would see me. The minute he saw me I would explain that my hair was an extension, so he wasn't disappointed when I took the bandana off. I would also explain that I was THE FIRST PERSON TO LIKE HIM IN THE UK, and that many people secretly thought he looked like an ape but were too scared to say it to his face. It would be us against the world. We would be the perfect couple (and hopefully he'd dump the model who I had to admit was very beautiful and had a face like an angel).
We arrived at the venue. The venue was huge. We found our seats which seemed to be about a hundred miles away from the stage. This wasn't what I'd imagined. I persevered. The lights went down. The band started. Michael was an ant in leather trousers on the stage. I stood on the plastic chair but fell off and my leg got stuck. My best friend told me to calm down. I couldn't stop screaming. I wanted him to see me in my hair extensions and red bandana. I hoped that the lights would go up and maybe he'd point to me and usher me to the front. During one of the pauses between songs I stood back on my chair and screamed the words - "MICHAEL YOU HORNY BASTARD." I fell off my chair and my leg got stuck again.
This wasn't what I'd planned to say but I was overwhelmed. Had he heard? But no, the music started up again and then the gig was over. Right at the end he shouted for everyone to come to the front. There was bedlam as hundreds of girls legged it. Pressed up against hundreds of sweating women, I could see just how fine he really was. MICHAEL MICHAEL, I shouted but it was useless because all these twits was shouting the self-same thing. MICHAEL MICHAEL. The drummer threw his sticks into the crowd and I caught one. The girls fell upon me. I curled into a ball and all I could think about was how this was possibly the worst day in my life. I was metres away from my soulmate but my bandana was being snatched off and my extensions were being torn apart and my arms were being scratched and Michael was heading backstage to drink Champagne with his model.
I went back to my regular life. I tried to keep an eye out for Michael. I listened to his songs and imagined he was singing for me, but something had changed. Then about a year later I was sitting on top of the 137 bus on my way into town. The bus was just passing Oxford Circus. I was looking out the window, and I was smoking a Silk Cut (as this was a hell of a long time ago), and I saw him. He was standing against a wall next to 'Top Shop'. There was no one else around. It was night. He was smoking. He was waiting. It was he.
For a millisecond he looked up at the top window of the bus. My mouth was hanging open a little. My cigarette was held aloft. I was half gasping and half smiling. I wasn't wearing a red bandana but I had just had a real flop of a perm and my hair was in a bun. His eyes lingered for a moment. Then the bus accelerated up Oxford Street and he was gone.
Did he see me? I like to think he did. I like to think that a little part of him was intrigued about this girl on the bus with her bun and her cigarette. This girl so full of adoration and promise that nothing could ever come of it.
This girl in love with a myth.
(Image of Michael Hutchence - https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/jul/11/michael-hutchence-unreleased-songs-and-documentary-on-his-final-years-due)