in-dublin - December 1st - 7th 2005

Page 17
BLONDIE
We have 2 sets of tickets to see the legendary Blondie and her band play the Point Theatre on Tuesday 20th December, to be in with a chance to win, email your contact details including phone number to competitions@indublin.ie
Don't forget to include the word BLONDIE in the subject box.

Pages 18 & 19
MUSIC REVIEW
Blonde
on
Blonde
Blondie brings her unique sense of style to the Olympia.

Blondie terrifies me, not the band just their front lady. It's not her singing or her reputation, or hell raising antics or über short hem lines of the past that give me the willies, but it's the whole mutton dressed as lamb thing that she's got going on. As a woman, I look at the former blonde bombshell and I think yikes, it brings a whole new meaning to the Curse of Blondie. I'm no model, I do have my moments unlike Debbie Harry who's had her decades but God, if I was still trying to squeeze myself into a pair of six inch stilettos and matching six inch mini in my fifties I'd hope that at least one of my entourage, mates, fans or perhaps even morto kids would set me straight. If it's the Liz McDonald look that she's going for, it should be Weatherfield she's living in, not New York. Naturally I'm all for women looking sexy and beautiful no matter what age but what happened to growing old gracefully? It's a scary enough prospect to wrap your head around and come to terms with over time without Blondie scaring the living daylights out of every woman alive. Thrilled to hear that she and the band were heading back our way again to play the Olympia on Monday and Tuesday December 19th and 20th respectively, I eagerly did a quick ring around to highlight the night for a few heads and then the panic hit once more. Is one of the women I admire most in the music industry, going to make another spectacle of herself or will she let the focus shine where it should, on the real Blondie?
In the heady days of drug fuelled Rock n Roll, stilettos-and-lipstick Glam of the New York Dolls, raw Garage by bands like the Stooges and the experimental off the wall music of Talking Heads, Blondie emerged with their sweetly seductive pop wrapped in Punk. The original Blondie was formed in 1974 by art student/guitarist Chris Stein and ex-waitress and Playboy bunny/vocalist Debbie Harry. Drummer Clem Burke and keyboard player Jimmy Destri joined them in 1975. The band played the New York downtown circuit in CBGB's, Max's Kansas City and Mothers. They gained a big following and in 1977 released their first eponymous album, which was extremely well received. Their third, Parallel Lines sold a staggering 20 million records worldwide. In 1982 the band broke up but reunited a staggering sixteen years later in 1998. To prove that they hadn't lost their touch they recorded a new album No Exit, the first single Maria went to No. 1 in fourteen countries and the album sold over two million copies.
Blondie did to 60's girl-group pop what Blink 182 did to modern-day boy bands; took it, turned it on its head and mixed it with tough ass sexy Rock attitude. As lead singer, the striking Debbie was the personification of the doe eyed sex kitten with razor sharp claws. Her look and seductive soulful voice and their New Wave sound were a formula that ensured long lasting mainstream success, which is still strong today.
In between trips to hang with New York's coolest in their original haunt CBGB's (which closed this year) the band continued to create new, inventive music by covering obscure artists like the Nerves and the Paragons. They also took a brave and innovative step by diving into the numerous relatively unexplored musical genres Ska, reggae and rap that only helped to further cement their reputation as musical experimentalists.
Unlike the lassies, why do aging male rockers escape criticism? They don't. Take a look at two of the biggest and longest running Rock legends that Blondie toured with just after they released their first album, David Bowie and Iggy Pop. Bowie has completely toned down his wacky look, but that doesn't mean he's gone boring; he still looks amazing, and much younger than his years. Maybe Iman has been whispering a lot more than sweet nothings in his ear but whoever is responsible for his changing image over the years could earn mega bucks for doing the same for a few other celebs. When Blondie was starting out on the pop ladder Iggy Pop and the Stooges were also knocking and rocking about the New York pop scene. Just like Debbie to this day, Iggy still fashions himself as if he were time warped back to the mid 70's, with his long hair, tight stone washed jeans and red Superman knickers. Just like Debbie he still has it on the talent front but that image has gotta go. Reality is another thing however, the man is knocking on sixty but unlike Debbie, he was never a stunner to begin with. She deserves to be put back up on the pedestal that her looks carved out for her way back when, so that women of her age, or indeed any age can once again not only look at her with pride.
What do you wear if you are a female rocker in your 50's? I'm not a fashion designer but there's enough talented designers and stylists here, both budding and established to satisfy that small but highly lucrative niche. With the onslaught of numerous new fashion houses in Ireland over the last year, including House of Fraser and Harvey Nichols in Dundrum Shopping Centre or the new International flagship Stephens Green Topshop store, the first and the three new H & M stores in Ireland, all of which stock and store both Irish and international designers, there's no lack of talent available. One look at the recent DIT/NCAD fashion show will also argue convincingly that we are well capable of whipping up a couple of funky designer outfits that'll compliment this legendary singer come actress who deserves nothing but the best of cool gear to help keep her looking like the best Blondie she can be. Considering Blondie is still going strong thirty years on, considering they took sixteen years off between their sixth and seventh albums but still came back with more, that they almost broke up when they were reaching the peak of their success but hung in there, considering they are arguably the greatest ever American pop punk band and the fact that many of their peers in the new wave and punk movements are now in the grave or living in Florida (maybe there really is something to The Curse of Blondie), the woman deserves every ounce of cred coming her way. Considering that she and the band had the coolest, hippest clothes at a time that set fashion trends around the western world. Considering all this and more somebody should go ahead and make Debbie Harry's day.
Picture This, Maria Hanging on the Telephone with a Heart of Glass in a Rapture crying Denis Call Me coz the Tide Is High, all the classics plus some of their new songs too await in a New Wave night to remember.

Blondie plays the Olympia, on Monday 19 and Tuesday 20 December 2005, doors 8pm. Tix 49.50, to book contact your local Ticketmaster outlet, Tel. 0818 719 390 or visit ticketmaster.ie

By Taragh Loughrey-Grant


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