Scene 1 – Iggy Pop playbacking ‘Lust for Life’ on Toppop.
I was 8 years old. Toppop was our primary channel of (new) music in the 1970’s. I didn’t see at the time how drugged up Iggy was, nor did I notice how paper-thin he was or the sloppy make up on his body. I just saw a guy being totally comfortable with his body and his act, dancing like a snake, tearing down the plastic plants in the studio. This was a guy who didn’t give a fuck, at a time when the opinion of others meant the world to me. Watching Iggy opened a door, a door that would remain semi-closed for another 5-6 years. I just know that all these years I kept thinking of this scene, this guy, this level of confidence.
Scene 2 – Blondie performing ‘Denis’ on Toppop
Sexual awakening. I remember thinking: “why is she standing in the background? I can hardly see her like that…” I didn’t care about the 5 guys playing, it was all about her. For years I thought Blondie was her name, not the band’s name. Look at the knee-high boots, look at the shirt, look at the those tiny shorts, all red, then look at her eyes and red lips, and try to imagine what an 8-year-old boy would see into it. I remember watching with my parents, and pretending not to be interested, secretly staring at her from the corner of my eye. I bet my father was doing the same. Did I notice Chris Stein wearing a New York Dolls t-shirt? Not at all. I was only interested in her, and not only that evening.
Scene 3 – Boys keep Swinging
Two years later and even more scary. It’s 1979, Punk is already over and there is David Bowie, all over the screen, singing about what it means to be a boy or a man, and literally showing that you don’t have to conform to stereotype, that everything is possible, if you want to, even dressing up like a girl. Did any artist ever deliver a stronger message of diversity? I can analyse it all I want right now, but as a 10-year-old I only saw opportunity, I only saw freedom in an otherwise (still) pretty restrictive world, even in the West, even in Holland. This time I really didn’t dare to look. This was way more forbidden than staring at Debbie Harry.