“Watch TV go goggle-eyed, See a horror movie get petrified, Go dye your hair use peroxide, Smoke a spliff and get red eyed ….. From the dance floor I can see, Decadent society, And that’s bad, so bad …… Attitudes of some would say, I got money, I’m okay, and that’s bad, so bad ….. These are the things that drive me crazy, These are the things that make me bad …..” BAD. Big Audio Dynamite.
Even though I was at times pretty heavily into the drug scene, (to say the least), I still had my standards. A line I would not go below. Never use needles, never go without, nor leave the house without, a red lipstick, and always have a good hair cut. To credit my vanity with saving my life is not an understatement. Self-respect is everything, and I saw many people lose theirs. And most of them are dead now. But this is a fun Strange Tale so….
Mick Jones. Co-founder and songwriter, co-lead vocalist and lead guitarist of The Clash until 1983. In 1984 he formed Big Audio Dynamite with Don Letts. Favourite lyricist. Favourite bands. (I saw The Clash a number of times.)
I never went anywhere without my red lipstick. In the early days of my relationship with Chris, he would ask why that was such a thing. It was always perfect and reapplied as often as necessary. I would answer the same each time: “You just never know, one day I just might bump into Mick Jones.”
AMSTERDAM JULY 1987. LIPSTICK AND POP HEROES.
I worked at the Melkweg in Amsterdam. It was and still is a famous music venue, and cultural centre. It used to be a milk factory, hence the name. It had a music hall, theatre, restaurant, cinema, and tea house. It was in the tea house that you could legally buy hash and weed. I saw bands too numerous to mention there. One of the more memorable gigs was The Ramones who played a three night stint; I still have some of their monogrammed guitar picks.
One summer night we were in the Paradiso, (also a music venue, a converted former church) watching the Hoodoo Gurus, when half way through the gig a colleague of mine from the Melkweg, tapped me on the shoulder and yelled into my ear. He said that the boss of the Melkweg wanted me to come over and look after an English band who were visiting. I had absolutely no intention of leaving the gig, but of course asked him who it was. “Big Audio Dynamite,” he replied. I kid you not. I yelled at Chris that I was going over to the club because Mick Jones was waiting for me. I touched up my lipstick and legged it.
Chris stayed until the end of the gig at the Paradiso and then came to join me. We hung out with them for the rest of the evening, which included helping them to sort out some of their uhm, needs. We met up again for breakfast the next morning. Don’t ask. What happened in Amsterdam, stayed in Amsterdam. B.A.D. were touring with U2 as their opening act, and had a couple of days off, which explained their presence in the city. We got tickets for the gig in Rotterdam. Very cool.
Of course we did not become friends, but when we were in Boston, 1989, B.A.D. played The Channel Club on three nights, and guest listed us. That was Big Audio Dynamite at their height and three of the best gigs I have ever been to. And then again in 1990, at the Paradiso, back to where it all started with that tap on the shoulder. We went along to that and spent time with them afterwards, taking them some Afgahni Black (superior hash) and it rendered them comatose. No stamina, those Brits.
Never underestimate the powers of a red lipstick.
I don’t wear red lipstick at the moment. I prefer to wear an extremely high shine clear lipgloss, amusingly called Crystal, and a lot of dark blue and black eye make up. Both together would be too much. But I still don’t leave the house without it in my bag. Just in case.
“So when you reach the bottom line, The only thing to do is climb, Pick yourself up off the floor, Anything you want is yours.” The Bottom Line. Big Audio Dynamite.
CQ of APJ
*Parts of this Strange Tale first appeared on Australian Perfume Junkies in 2015.