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What ’80s Dress Are You?

Train of thought.

Listening to playlists built around travel themes – Texas, California, a Southern road trip – I realize I’ve never done an Australian music playlist. So many good bands I recall, popular, infamous and obscure. INXS, Paul Kelly, Divinyls, Eurogliders, Hoodoo Gurus, Models, The Church…

Now what was the name of the band that had the song in the cocktail party scene in Crocodile Dundee?

Hey there you with the sad face

Come up to my place

And live it up

I have to ask my husband, who answers immediately. Mental As Anything.

Remembrance of the party scene = recognition that the red dress Linda Koslowski (as journalist Sue Charlton) wore was so kick-ass*.Version 2

To have the confidence to wear that.

I did not, in the ‘80s. But if I had, that would be my ‘80s dress. Slinky and surprising.

What Google can do: ‘great dresses from 80s movies’.

7,290,000 results.

All those Pinterest Halloween costume ideas make me feel old. When my kids want to dress up like the ‘80s they usually go with the RUN-DMC look. My Adidas! Then, now, forever.

Brain works back to ‘80s dresses. A Top Five forms:

  1. The downtown dress, Crocodile Dundee (Linda Koslowski)
  2. DIY prom dress, Pretty in Pink (Molly Ringwald)
  3. Like-a-virgin prom dress, Footloose (Lori Singer)
  4. The backless, spaghetti-strap numbers, Scarface (Michelle Pfeiffer)
  5. A-whore-at-the-opera red formal, Pretty Woman (Julia Roberts)

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If I wrote for BuzzFeed, I’d tell you what your favorite dress says about the self-image you desire:

  1. Self-assured but desperate for a little artistic cool cred. Attracted to Australians 😉
  2. Strong, crafty and rebellious though drawn to moony, spineless men. Go figure.
  3. You really, really want to be loved for your brain not your body. Good luck with that.
  4. You, however, don’t mind being eye candy and you really don’t mind doing nose candy.
  5. Purely aspirational. You believe in fairy tales and the transformative power of money.

I soundtrack my thoughts with Paul Kelly’s Greatest Hits and INXS’s The Swing.

And then I realize: Ah! I haven’t even gotten to Winona Ryder’s goth gown in Beetlejuice. Or Demi Moore’s trashy strapless pink postage stamp in St. Elmo’s Fire!!!

’80s Dresses!

(Demi wore those attitude glasses so well.)

I send a message

Hope it gets through

 

The train continues on the tracks…

*To something random and related. A man named Mark Kalan, who crewed on Crocodile Dundee, bought the red dress at auction and started a photography project. Calling it The Red Dress Project, Kalan aimed to photograph at least 100 women – of all ages, size 6-8 or under – in the dress for a gallery show and book.

Now where was I when this went down (and I was still a size 6)???

The Absolutely Unofficial Angry Hillary Rodham Clinton Playlist

“Sophistafunk, aristocats
Distinguished dogs, clean up your acts
Pull up your pants, ladies and gents
Please, act like you got some sense”*

Don’t stop here if you’re looking for feel-good inspiration. Only one uplifting anthem to be heard today**. I’m not posting about being stronger and braver. Being confident, happy, outstanding fighters with full hearts and the eyes of tigers, together.

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Don’t worry HRC, we got you. (photo by Keith Kissel***)

I don’t want to roar or rise so much as smash.

And try to convey through song the utter stupidity, venality and ridiculousness of the past 12+ months. Like Luther to Barack, I am here to translate Hillary Rodham’s Clinton’s anger. She’s held her tongue long enough. Her reserves of superhuman patience must be wearing thin. The insults, dismissals, muckraking and lies, lies, lies. It’s time for release. Time to ask Trump, the GOP and all of its supporters: What. The. Fuck?

I have prepared well because hey! HRC would expect that.

I searched, I googled, I listened to a lot of Metallica and Nina Simone. And most importantly, I called my Mom – age 76, lifelong Democrat, family rebel and self-proclaimed bleeding heart liberal. For many years, she lived in small-town, conservative Texas so you can imagine how often she had to hide her true feelings when talk turned to politics. She also likes to play her music real loud and was once front-row with me at a Pretenders’ concert. Helpful. She chose Pink Floyd’s ‘Us and Them’ for this list and suggested some James Taylor and John Lennon for further listening. Then she told me a story about when she’d gone back to college (after having 4 kids), and a young girl, fresh out of high school, came in to class all excited, carrying a new album. She showed it to my mom and said, “Doesn’t he look like Jesus?” The singer on the album cover was Cat Stevens.

Well, it was a Catholic university, a long time ago. But I digress.

Funny thing – as I found out, most angry women songs are about lovers and being scorned, betrayed, spurned, cheated, done wrong.

But what if you’re just tired of dealing with fucking idiots? Under-qualified, over-compensated, hypocritical, heartless bullshit artists who mansplain their way through life. Where’s that playlist?

Here it is.

*Words by Andre 3000 from OutKast’s ‘Behold A Lady’.

**That would be Monica’s ‘Still Standing’ (guest rap by Ludacris).

***Hillary Clinton photo licensed via Creative Commons & Keith Kissel. Find him at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kakissel/

Monday Morning Music: ’80s ALL WEEK

Hi all, how’s your summer going? It’s EIGHTIES WEEK at therockmom as I revisit and revise one of my most popular posts: Can It Really Be Summer Without ’80s Music? New! Improved! Now with Spotify playlists!

maneaterIt’s a funny thing, nostalgia. Recently, I found myself sitting in the way back of my stepmom’s minivan listening to her Best of Hall & Oates CD as we drove to dinner. Now if that’s not a recipe for summertime teen regression I don’t know what is. But there I was, YO sitting next to me, both of us enjoying ‘Maneater’. See a cover version of that track (by Grace Mitchell) was used in the recent Ben Stiller movie, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. YO’s good pal likes the new, cover song while YO is partial to the original. Me too. That groovy rhythm section to begin, then the sneaky guitar line, a hint of sax and… oh oh here she comes. We sang the chorus together – a small but sweet mother-daughter bonding moment – and I wondered: is it weird to be proud of my child’s taste in music?

On a slightly more musi-cophical note, I don’t know why bands/singers/artists insist on covering ’80s songs because it’s extremely difficult to improve on the original. I’m talking specifically about Moby’s recent ‘Rio’ cover as well as London Grammar’s take on the INXS tune, ‘Devil Inside’ – used for a Game of Thrones trailer. While I’m a big fan of both acts, I have to say these cover tunes were overly serious, dreary and well, just plain boring.

Eighties music is supposed to be fun!* So don’t forget the lightness, the slinky-ness, the insouciance. Guys in deconstructed linen blazers on the bow of a sailboat in the tropics!

I’ll leave you with that image as well as the first of FIVE ’80s playlists – all killer, no filler – to get you through the week. Enjoy!

*Unless of course you’re Morrissey.

 

FULL DISCLOSURE

There was a time when I thought ‘You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling’ was an H&O original.

We grow, we learn…