Friday, February 8, 2008

Punk Rock Girl



I’ve been thinking.

I know, a dangerous thing, especially for one who maintains a blog on the W.W.W. and updates it on a regular basis. But I can’t help it; if I don’t get these thoughts out of my head and onto e-paper I’ll have to actually talk to someone real, and that is infinitely more dangerous, so…

…I’ve been thinking.

About the different groups of people I hung out with during my ‘formative years’, and what kind of influence they had on my musical tastes and prejudices. There were many different groups and each had a profound influence on who and what I listen to.

But I just want to talk about one today. Her name is Tammy, and she was about as rock and roll as it gets. Spiky hair, ripped fishnets, dark eyeliner, leather jacket, some politically incorrect tee-shirt, smoked too much and drank like a fish (didn‘t we all?). A real Goth-punk chick, but in a very cool way. She was espousing the virtues of David Bowie before it was cool, and she shared a love for the more adventurous music of the day, which was primarily punk and underground ‘new wave’, a term I absolutely loathe.

During those halcyon days way back in the 1980's, I’m sure most of my old friends would agree, getting ready to go out partying took some preparation. For me, it was lacing up those knee high Yugoslavian army boots. Took ages, man. Ripped jeans, a white or black tee-shirt (I believe my tee-de-jour said “EAT THE RICH”), black leather jacket (‘natch!) and a doo-rag, or bandana covering my head. With our respective boyfriends and girlfriends (I always got the psycho chicks!) we would go to underground dance clubs like the now defunct Matches and RPM, dance under the strobes to bands like Fad Gadget, The Sisters Of Mercy and Tones On Tail, smoke and drink too much, usually throw up and then go home. Man, were those some good times…yeah, good times.

Actually, they were. I’m not being funny. Really. Everything except the throwing up, that usually wasn’t too much fun. But come on, we were in our teens, we were freakin’ invincible, IMMORTAL!

But, as I'm often want to do, I digress.

So back to Tammy. My mother is fond of reminding me of an incident Tammy and I had with my Grandmother, one of the most prissy, Victorian proper “ladies” who ever walked this earth. Whenever I ate dinner at her house she would make me say, “I am replete, may I leave the table?” instead of my usual “GOD I’m stuffed, I gotta go pinch a loaf!” response. Get the point? She was old school baby, and she didn’t take kindly to freaks.

Of course, being the guy I am I decided it would be a good idea to bring Tammy to meet dear Nana. Can’t quite recall the circumstances leading up to that meeting, but it happened nonetheless. I thought it would be fun to see Nana’s reaction. Tammy didn’t dress up for the event, either (again, my memory is a tad hazy on some of the details, so forgive me if I’m wrong, Tam), wearing the same clothes she always wore, as described above. Meeting my grandmother was a little bit like meeting the queen; usually a very formal affair, with lots of protocol. Bow slightly, always address her initially as Mrs. Fletcher, then each subsequent time you address her in later conversation you will use “'Ma'am.” Do not, under any circumstances chew gum. Do not turn your back on her. Always wear gloves in her presence. Do not, under any circumstances, fart in her presence.

Bottom line was that I knew Tammy would just ‘be Tammy’, and I was ready for some real fun.

But something strange and unexpected happened. My Grandmother LOVED Tammy. Actually adored her. They sat there chatting about God-knows-what while I was left on the other side of the couch, bored and sucking on stale peppermints. Tammy must have really impressed her, because as we were leaving my Nana gave her $20.00! Not me, her favorite blue-eyed doting grandson, but Tammy, this ripped stocking spiky-haired rock and roll freaky chick I thought for sure would have given my Nana a freakin’ heart attack, or a stroke at the very least!

But she gave her $20 instead.

Tammy is now married to another friend, Steve, and are now living in New Zealand (please explain someday, Tam?). She tells me she doesn’t smoke, burned all of her punk rock garb, had a beautiful baby and is a responsible citizen concerned with saving the earth from it’s impending doom at the hands of the intergalactic space warriors, the Unarians.

Actually, I made that last bit up, but the rest is true.

I think.

Damn Molson Canadian!

*(By the way, the photo at the top of this post is NOT Tammy, just a crude facsimile.)

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I totally remember that day with your Grandmother but cannot remember why I got to meet her.

Here are some other formative thoughts for you:
-The Bel Aire
-that little plastic face (bugga bugga bugga)
-bonfires on the beach (remember keith having a nice big puke there?)
-bonfires on Appleby Line

Uncle E said...

Ah yes, the little plastic face. Had to think about that for a while. Paul Crowe...and the other three I remember as if it were yesterday.
I still can't believe me parents let us have the bonfires at their house!

RumpRoast said...

I was a relative latecomer to the bonfires at Uncle E's "rural" retreat.

I recall one particular event with particular hilarity. There was a fellow there who was showing off some of his wide array of martial arts moves near the bonfire. (I have no idea what his name was... I've since dubbed him "Skarate")

The Specials came on the stereo, and this genetleman kicks it up a notch, and proceeds to demonstrate some sort of run/jump/kick move THROUGH the (quite large) flames of the bonfire. The smoky silhouette lands in the lap of my freind Pam. The putrid smell of burnt hair was overwhelming.

He pops up out of Pam's lap, brushes himself off and casually states "I love the Ska", and walks away.

I'll always remember that... and E's mom's sunglasses which featured blue tinted lenses, diecut in the shape of Texas. Classic.

Brave Sir Robin said...

Right on!! Great trip down memory lane bro! I always loved your friends, never a dull moment, and everyone of them treated the little annoying brother with respect (at least to my face) and never resorting to the usual torture and torment.
I never knew that about "Nana", quite interesting! To give Tammy $20 bucks and not you says something....or as she calls you "her favorite grandson".....I know that because she told me. "Ian's my favorite"...anyway, I'm getting off topic!!
Keep the posts coming of "life on appleby line", and "tales of the basement scene".

Anonymous said...

I was totally laughing my arse off at the fire walker. Seems to me that was our good friend Mr. Hawthorne no?

God, that basement. I can remember one time watching movies (I think it might have been Eraserhead??) with Ian, Keith, and some other guys and it was time to go home so we went upstairs and I fainted in the garage. I remember coming to and there were 3 or 4 confused and worried faces staring down at me.

Here's a question for you...how many times did we see the Forgotten Rebels? I honestly can't remember!

And hey little bro! How are you doing?