My own little ‘Dark Entry’ began back in high school. I was coming of age during the whole New Wave explosion during the early ’80s. Then for my birthday, I was given a little bit of money. Since I loved music, I ran down the local record store. Brought two albums on vinyl (we’re talking about the days before cassettes and CDs). On a whim, one of the albums was from a band I used to read about in the magazines. The Sex Pistols’ ‘Nevermind The Bullocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols.’ The other one was a mainstream rock album by Billy Squire. Guess which one ended up in the trash soon afterwards? Squire’s AOR record was cast out as the Pistols spun regularly on my turntable. Even if it was a few years after the Pistols crashed and burned.
That just fueled my curiosity about Punk Rock even more. Despite all the other kids in my junior high school mocking me for not listening to Michael Jackson. I used to wear all these New Wave band pins on my jacket. Bands like The Go-Go’s for example. Joan Jett was my hero back then. So she scored bonus points when I found out she had been involved in the early days of Punk.
Since I hated my junior high peers so much, I applied and got accepted into High School of Art and Design. It was such joy leaving my close minded neighborhood behind. Only now I was the normal one in a sea of arty teenagers. That normal phase only last for about a hot minute. A classmate took me down to explore Greenwich Village, and that became my Pandora’s Box. Remember, the Village was a lot different during the 1980s. Just think of West Village as today’s trendy Williamsburg area, and the East Village as Bushwick.
At first I embraced the immediate classic punk bands, like The Sex Pistols, The Ramones, The Dead kennedys, etc. Meanwhile I was still listening to radio friendly alternative bands like when U2.
One of my first introductions to Gothic, or Death Rock as it was sometimes called then was through a high school senior. She totally fascinated me. I think her name was Julie and I would watch her as she walked alone in the school hallways. Tall, thin, androgynous, she could have been a model. Her hair was shaved on one side as it’s long crimped ice blue hair hung on the other over her eyes. Her skin was naturally pale, almost porcelain white. She filed her long nails to extremely sharp point, so it looked like witches’ nails. Back then, I thought her nails were one of the best things about her whole look. Her outfit consisted of boots, fishnet stockings and a black mini skirt. The skirt might’ve been leather, not sure. Although she was pretty she never smiled. The high school homeboys into HipHop all made fun of her, but she never once acknowledged them. Julie’s only friend seem to be this shorter girl, not as fragile looking as Julie, but more tougher as she wore black hair, black eyeliner, might have been either of Hispanic or Italian heritage. Both Julie and her pal wore all black except for the occasional white band tee shirt. The band was Sex Gang Children. Looking back, Julie and her friend were the perfect Propaganda models. (I’ll discuss Propaganda Magazine in another post.)
Julie and her friend graduated that year, and within that month of their graduation, I discovered Siouxsie and The Banshees. At that point, game over. Over the course of the summer of 1984, I dyed my hair pitch black, wore plaid flannel shirts in July, brought second hand combat boots from Bleecker Bob’s, explored West. 8th street. My excursions in 1980s Greenwich Village brought me to Flip, The Pit Stop, Unique, Antique Boutique, Canal Street Jeans, Trash and Vaudeville and Manic Panic when they used to have a small store in St. Mark’s Place.
When it was time to go back to school, I was still adjusting my wanna be Siouxsie makeup. Someone gave me a tip on crimping irons for the hair, and my Siouxsie cloning was complete. It was also the first time I saw The Cure live at Radio City Music Hall during their ‘Head On The Door’ tour.
It was a record store signing at Tower Records to meet The Cure that fall, when I spotted Julie’s tough cohort. She had also been in line waiting to meet The Cure. I didn’t see Julie. In fact, after high school graduation, I never saw Julie ever again – but her arty loner high school presence and visual influence was enough to last a lifetime.
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