UK Q Magazine - July 1999

"Touched By Her Presence, Oh Dear"

Deborah Harry
Platinum Blonde
A Portrait By Cathay Che
ANDRE DEUTSCH, 14.99

DESCRIBED AS "a portrait" rather than a biography, Time Out New York critic Cathay Che's study takes a splintered approach to chronicling the life of the Blondie front woman. With access to Harry and Blondie mainstay Chris Stein, she splices her scattershot question-and-answer sessions with chapters in which she details her subject's life and career.

By casting something of a native New Yorker's eye over the Blondie story, the scuzzy aura of mid-'70s Greenwich Village and its similarity scuzzy alumni are nicely invoked, some of the survivors being wheeled out to weigh in with their reminiscences. There's a resume' of past personnel clashes to spice up the narrative (original Blondie bassist Gary Valentine was apparently ousted for jumping around too much on stage), while Harry's film career and non-rock excursions with The Jazz Pazzengers are also examined. But while the singer herself appears charming and utterly determined to scotch the notion that she - and she alone - was Blondie, Che's perpetual undercurrent of heroine worship ("Do you ever sing to your dog?" she gushes at one point) swiftly galls. This, combined with the rather fractured approach, leaves the reader with the nagging fear that for all Che's enthusiasm and thorough research, there's still a better book to be written about Deborah Harry. ** Mark Blake

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