The Collective /
Top fives are irresistible but at the risk of sounding too boy-crazy this particular selection is limited to a trio. A brief list of my dream 1970s boyfriends? Well, why the hell not?
1. Bruce Springsteen.
I bought Darkness On The Edge of Town at the markets next to my house one hazy weekend and I’m not ashamed to admit it was a decision based almost entirely on the cover art. After playing it a couple of hundred times I was a true convert to the heartland-via-stadium rock of the Boss and his penchant for undershirts is not the only reason why. When I was working in a convenience store a friend referred to it as the 'Springsteen Dreaming' period of my life, which made it seem exciting and even enviable. It wasn't. But that's the great charm of Bruce, he makes shitty things appear romantic. Like hokey amusement park rides and sleazy gambling cities by the sea. He understands desperation and restlessness and dead-end towns. He's sympathetic to the secret hearts of girls. Plus he can actually pull off double denim, which is like some kind of superpower. He's not called the Boss for nothing.
2. Richard Hell.
Then there's Richard Hell. When he and Tom Verlaine were choosing their new names, Tom went for the homage and he went entirely as his own creation. He's kind of my role model, which may be cause for concern, and his list of achievements is both impressive and highly underrated: he accidentally invented some of the most enduring iconography of punk, indirectly influenced the forming (and fashions) of the Sex Pistols, and was the founding member of two of New York's most notorious bands of the '70s (Television and The Heartbreakers) both of which he quit before they recorded their debut albums. He wrote the anthemic Blank Generation and had a hand in Chinese Rocks. He starred as a version of himself in Susan Seidelman's first film Smithereens and was Madonna's doomed Atlantic City date in her follow-up, Desperately Seeking Susan. Lester Bangs both loved him and thought he was full of shit. My love for him is equal parts hero-worship and lust. He's a dubious object of admiration for sure, a dangerously attractive junkie with an impeccable turn of phrase.
3. Jonathan Richman.
It's pretty much legend by now that everyone who saw the Velvet Underground in their heyday immediately went out and formed bands of their own. But my pick of the bunch would have to be Jonathan Richman, the stripey-tee-wearing, endearingly goofy black swan to cranky Lou Reed's white; an awkward New Englander who sings about bank tellers and art museums and how you should ditch your boyfriend if you can’t have conversations. He's bonafide if unlikely punk royalty, don't get me wrong: he’s filled on drums for Patti Smith in the past and the VU inspired band he created was the legendary Modern Lovers. Actually, there are 99 reasons Jonathan Richman is for me, and here's just one of 'em: