by Angeliska on May 27, 2010
Okay, so even though it’s a little bit late, I want to wish a happy belated
birthday to Stevie Nicks. I’m a latecomer to the enchantments of the Welsh Witch,
as my parents were definitely not into soft rock of any kind. I was raised listening to
old country music like Hank Williams, Kitty Wells, Jimmie Rodgers, and The Carter
Family. My parents played traditional old-time folk music and Irish reels, and were
more likely to drag me to a Sacred Harp Shape-Note singing revival than to a concert
where people were wearing feathered roach clips in their hair. My dad plays bagpipes,
banjo and concertina (as well as a dozen other instruments), and has exposed me to
incredible music my whole life. When I was in high-school, all the rich hippie kids would
be wearing their mom’s crochet blouses and listening to all their old Fleetwood Mac and
Led Zeppelin records. I scorned them, scowling in my dog collar and ripped black rags,
listening to Skinny Puppy, Legendary Pink Dots and (oh yes) My Life With The Thrill Kill
Kult. Cokehead faux 70′s bourgeois brats could suck it, as far as I was concerned. I can
remember a few times hearing a snatch of Stevie on the radio, and being oddly captivated
by the catchy hooks and mystical allusions, but then feeling sort of guilty and embarrassed.
I managed to grow up completely innocent of almost an entire era of music featuring permed
performers, but there was something alluring and forbidden about the songs I’d hear still being
played at the dingy Playland roller-rink amid the disco lights and the constant danger of falling over.
I’ve never been able to successfully enjoy roller-skating (gasp! I know.) so maybe that’s why
I focused so hard on the music while waiting for my friends to finish their spins and join me in a heated
game of air hockey (still obsessed!) This might explain how I came to adore ABBA as well. (My thing with
Cher, I promise I’ll get into another time! I know!) I remember an afternoon shortly after I moved
to New Orleans, getting dressed to go into the French Quarter to get coffee. My sister was watching me
lace up my black platform boots and giggling. I was wearing them with a long, tattered cream lace dress
and, a gold fringed shawl. I thought I looked very magical. “What, it is too Stevie?” Uh, yeah – it was.
It looked rad though! I think I changed, but now I wish I hadn’t! I wish I’d rocked my Stevie look without
shame, man. A few years later, I had a spate of loved ones dying in quick succession, and was mired
in some of the darkest times in the Crescent City. All of the sad, bleak music I’d always relied on for years
fell short. I couldn’t listen to Death in June or whatever, because there was no music depressing enough
to resonate with where I was at, and I knew I needed not to feed it. In order to keep going, and keep my
head above water, I found the only solution to be music I had previously scoffed and cackled at.
Fleetwood Mac – Gold Dust Woman – Live in Japan 1977
(Naysayers, behold! I think this video is spectacular — surreal, dark and oh so Biba!)
Oh yes, my darlings. That spring and summer, I listened almost exclusively to the Mac, and to George Michael.
“Father Figure” was guaranteed to make me laugh instead on wanting to lay on the floor weeping, and when it
seems like everyone around you is dying, well – sometimes you just need to listen to some ridiculous shit to make
it through. What’s the word for a sense of nostalgia for a time and place you only barely experienced? I must admit,
out of all my passionate anachronisms, I’m most embarrassed by my weird thing about some of the tackiest elements
of the 1980′s. To be fair, or at least more specific, I get really excited by anachronisms of anachronisms – like 70′s does
Art Deco/Art Nouveau (swoon! My favorite!) or 80′s does the 30′s-40′s (shoulder pads, draping, killer hair, red lips) as
well as 80′s does renaissance (unicorns, flowing shifts, fluffy perms with bangs). The fluffy renaissance redux perm is
my hair fixation of late. Why can’t I have this hair? Flashdance hair! I think it’s so, so pretty and I love seeing curly-headed
girls rock it. So tired of blow-outs and silicon stick-straight mendacity. I’m ready for big hair to come back. Let’s do it, y’all.
NIGHTBIRD by Stevie Nicks and her sister in law Lori, who I think is really gorgeous. Kohl-eyed sorceress, yes!
Obviously my favorite Fleetwood Mac song. The video is absurd, and I love it.
I’d love to go to Night of a Thousand Stevies in New York one day, speaking of absurd — have you ever been?
Imagine a thousand queens, spanking each other with tambourines and twirling, twirling the night away! Too dreamy.
While I’m at it, I’m afraid you might need to go see this video of Xena, Warrior Princess playing Stevie in a SNL skit -
she actually kind of nails it, and it’s so right. We won’t go into any backstage stories or witchcraft denials (lame),
since it’s the lady’s special day (or it was earlier, anyhow). It’s all part of the magic, right? Viva la Belladonna!
“I still look up
I try hard not to look up
That girl was me
Track a ghost through the fog
A charmed hour–a haunted song
Track a ghost through the fog, baby…“