Thursday, February 17, 2011

I *Heart* you Adam Ant!!!

I finally had to purchase this book from the UK because it had not been released in the United States.  I waited a month and a half for it to arrive and started reading it almost as soon as it hit my doorstep.

Now, let me explain something.  I love Adam Ant.  I love his music.  Most of the music I listen to now (Cut Copy, M83, The Futureheads, Franz Ferdinand) remind me of Adam Ant.  I love the double drums.  I love the costumes.  As I write this I'm listening to "Antics in the Forbidden Zone" - a greatest hits compilation.

My brother and I were not allowed to put up posters in our bedrooms.  We did, however, have full license to decorate our very large walk-in closets.  Mine was floor to ceiling Adam Ant.  Posters and pictures from Teen Beat and Tiger Beat.  Any article I could find was cut out and put on the wall.

I saw Adam Ant twice in concert when he toured the United States - with the Price Charming and the Strip tours.  I had the concert t-shirt from the Strip tour and it featured Adam Ant, shirtless, in leather pants.  When I tucked it into my jeans it looked like I had a naked man on my chest.  My mother loved that shirt - kidding!  I don't think I could wear it to school.

This was before YouTube and Tivo so if Adam Ant was scheduled to be on the Motown Tribute, or Grammys, or as a guest on Northern Exposure, my friends and I would be glued to the TV to watch the appearance.  If people asked me to babysit I would ask if they had cable.  My friends and I watched MTV for hours to catch every Adam Ant video.  Luckily this was when MTV still played videos and Adam Ant's popularity meant he was on often.

As much as I loved him, as sexy as I thought he was, I was still a teenager.  I was never going to meet him.  He was an idol.  An innocent crush without adult complications.  In the book, Adam Ant makes the point that at the time he was hitting the music scene there were not as many outlets covering pop stars.  I'm glad about that because Adam Ant had a lot of troubles going on behind the scenes of his hip shaking, dancing, Kings of the Wild Frontier/Prince Charming/New Romantic personas.

I think he is a sex addict.  He also suffers from manic depression.  His recent run-ins with the law in Britain have publicized his illness well after his initial fame.  My mom said she felt old when she read about him being arrested and they listed him as being 50 years old.  Selfishly, I'm glad there weren't outlets covering his very personal life when he was my favorite musical artist.  He seemed to be having fun and I wanted to have fun.  Isn't that what rock music should provide?  Something to make you dance around your room?  Something to have in common with others?  Did I understand what it meant when I sung along with some of his music?  I probably understood some of the innuendo but not all of it.

The book is funny.  I am assuming Adam Ant wrote it himself because he does not credit a co-author.  It's well-written by someone who enjoys being in the public eye.  He makes funny references to his songs - he buys a house "in the country".  He tells a newspaper reporter that he doesn't drink and doesn't smoke so he is a "goody two shoes".  You have to either like him or not, he's a fellow Scorpio so you have to be "friend or foe".  I laughed out loud in some parts.

As an adult I could handle reading about his misery and self doubts.  I found it interesting to find out the inspiration behind some of his songs.  I'm still glad I did not know this when he was my teen crush.  I can respect his struggles and achievements as an adult.  I still think kids should get to have idols but that is harder as the internet, tabloids, magazines and 24-hour news channels, work to find out every nitty gritty detail about a celebrity.

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