Saturday, August 11, 2012

Glamourous Glue

Some months ago, I abandoned a piece about the ambiguity of glamour. At the time, I had immersed myself in cautionary pop-tales about pretty teenage girls falling headlong into drug addiction. I tried to make sense of why alarming messages were so frequently accompanied with beautiful imagery. I returned to the glorious scene of Christiane F., the scene of junkie-friends, shrieking and running down the tiled hallways of Berlin's Bahnhof Zoo, occasionally tumbling but never stopping. They were running feverishly, with David Bowie's Heroes playing in the background. It's like they were rushing forth like the heroin running through their veins.

It's an allegory that's been sitting at the pit of my stomach for some time now. Never digesting, never making sense. I was reminded of it, when I saw a picture I'd saved of Gia Carangi, a model and heroin addict who succumbed to HIV/AIDS in 1986. Her beauty and her antics are commonly discussed, in tones of reverence and horror. Stories circulate, such as the legend of the November 1980 Vogue spread, that contained (arguably) visible track-marks on her arms. The tragedy of it is exacerbated by her youth, her femininity, her alluring sense of glamour. She somehow obliterated that traditional preconception: a pretty young girl shouldn't be mixed up with that sort of thing!

I suppose it will be some time before I work out what it all means; what is the function of the cautionary tale in teen literature, what is the importance of veracity in the retelling of the drug tale, what is the role of glamour in making that very warning believable. When I saw Gia's photograph just before, I was instantly reminded of that Frou Frou lyric: there's beauty in the breakdown. I can only assume that I'm turning to that perversely romantic notion that we can unravel and we can deteriorate and no one need stop us. We can self-destruct and yet, it can still be beautiful.

No comments:

Post a Comment