Madeline

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

IGGY POP - LUST FOR LIFE

40th Anniversary
by Madeline Bocaro
1977 brought us two Iggy albums within five months. How lucky are we?! Just one month after the release and live tour of The Idiot on March 18, 1977 recording began for Lust For Life at Hansa Studio by the Wall in West Berlin in April. Iggy's second solo post-Stooges album (also his second collaboration with David Bowie) was released on August 29.

The crooning cadaver who crawled out of the magnificent murkiness of The Idiot appears with a big goofy grin on the close-up cover portrait on his following album. On the cover of Lust For Life, Iggy Pop comically resembles his lyrical mentor Soupy Sales, who encouraged kids to keep their fan letters to a minimum of words. (Hence the Stooges anthem "no fun my babe no fun".) Coincidentally, the Sales brothers (Soupy's sons) Tony and Hunt appear on bass and drums. (They would later form the rhythm section of David Bowie's future band Tin Machine). Lust For Life also featured Ricky Gardiner and Carlos Alomar on guitar. The cover photo was by Andrew Kent, who had also shot the cover of The Idiot, and documented Bowie's Station to Station tour in stunning black and white.

Lust For Life was Iggy's second album on RCA Records. Bowie composed most of the music. The lyrics are pure Iggy, mostly improvised on the spot. Bowie's used this technique on his next album, "Heroes", released just two months later in October. Lust For Life was produced by Bowie, Iggy Pop and engineer Coin Thurston under the name 'Bewlay Bros.' (a song on Bowie's Hunky Dory album).

Despite the obvious fact that it is about liquor, drugs and sex, the title song has become incidental for so many ad campaigns that it's impossible to mention them all. This cheapens the magnificence of the song because it is the soundtrack of life - and especially of Iggy's life. The catchy riff was inspired while in Berlin, the Glammer Twins were listening to American Forces Network News, which had a Morse code call signal. This was interpreted by the drumbeat of brilliant Hunt Sales, with crashing cymbals. It resembles the riff of The Doors' song 'Touch Me'. The lyrics refer to an addicted character and phrases (Johnny Yen, 'the flesh machine' and 'hypnotizing chickens' in William Burroughs' 1961 and 1962 novels, The Soft Machine and The Ticket That Exploded.

Lust For Life includes some sick little songs. In 'Sixteen' Iggy lusts for a young girl…

"I'm an easy mark with my broken heart 
Sweet 16…
I must be hungry 'cause I go crazy
Over your leather boots 
Now baby I know
That's not normal"

Two songs are heroin-themed. 'Turn Blue' was written with Bowie in 1975, and was originally titled 'Moving On'. The lyrics of this song are mysteriously missing from the album sleeve. At the end, it is deliberately unclear whether Iggy is shooting himself, or shooting heroin. 'Tonight' has a beautiful opening verse, which is omitted on Tina Turner's version with Bowie on his 1984 album also titled Tonight.

"I saw my baby she was turning blue
I knew that seen her young life was through
So I got down on my knees beside her bed
And these are the words to her I said
Everything will be alright tonight…"


Pop also quotes William Burroughs' Naked Lunch ("No one talks, no one reads, no one walks") in the chorus of 'Tonight'.

In 'Some Weird Sin' Iggy yearns for a 'license to live' in this upbeat song, as he stands at the world's edge. Amidst some cowbell and with Bowie's backing vocal, Iggy laments that 'things are 'too straight' and he 'can't bear it'. Though he yearns for a normal life, he instinctively prefers his own primal life of deprivation.

"I'm trying to break in
Oh, I know it's not for me
But the sight of it all
Makes me sad and ill
That's when I want
Some weird sin"

'The Passenger', with its amazing guitar groove by Ricky Gardner is a perfect driving song, inspired by travelling with David Bowie on his Station To Station tour. It was released as a B-side of the only single from the album, 'Success' on September 30. 'The Passenger' is lyrically based on an unnamed poem by Jim Morrison in his collective book The Lords and The New Creatures.

"…Modern life is a journey by car. The Passengers 
change terribly in their reeking seats, or roam 
from car to car, subject to unceasing transformation. 
Inevitable progress is made toward the beginning 
(there is no difference in terminals), as we 
slice through cities, whose ripped backsides present 
a moving picture of windows, signs, streets, 
buildings. Sometimes other vessels, closed 
worlds, vacuums, travel along beside to move 
ahead or fall utterly behind."

Bowie covered 'Neighborhood Threat' as well as two other Iggy songs on his 1984 album Tonight (along with the aforementioned song 'Tonight' with Tina Turner, and 'Don't Look Down' from Iggy's next album New Values). On 'Neighborhood Threat', Iggy is once again an outlaw.

"No, he don't share your pleasures
Did you see his eyes?
Did you see his crazy eyes?"

The totally fun 'Success' was Iggy's personal Declaration of Independence. With his friend Bowie's help, he was now his own man. He can taste success, while playfully mocking those who have become overwhelmed with material possessions. Iggy gets his Chinese rug in a litany of all the riches coming his way. At the end, Iggy is liberated, 'wigged', hopping like a frog and doing anything he wants. When his final ad-libbed lyric doesn't fit the measure, he playfully yells, "Oh shit!' which the Sales brothers repeat, in theme with the improvised call-and response theme of the song. This was the only single from the album, which did not chart.

'Fall In Love With Me' is an ode to Iggy's German girlfriend Esther Friedman. The band members swapped instruments for this long jam, edited for the album.

The album's highest chart positions in 1977 were No. 28 in the UK, and 120 on Billboard's charts. RCA label mate Elvis Presley's death derailed the label's attention from promoting Iggy's album when they focused on reissuing Elvis' back catalogue. 

Iggy's Lust For Life tour included seven shows in the USA (starting at Santa Monica Civic on November 18, and ending at New York City's Palladium on October 6, with the Ramones as opening act.) At the Palladium, the band was introduced onstage by Soupy Sales himself! Iggy came prancing out in patched jeans and white T-shirt, one black shoe and one white as he sang 'Sixteen', wearing a beautiful horse's tail! There were two dates in Canada, one at London's Rainbow theatre and one in Rotterdam.

In time, this legendary album by just a modern guy has earned a million in prizes! It was the last great collaboration between The Idiot and The Oddity until Iggy's eighth solo album Blah Blah Blah in 1986.

In 1978 RCA Records offered Iggy an easy way to deliver the third and final album of his contract. They paid him $90,000 to release a live album of soundboard tapes from three of his 1977 gigs (some featuring Bowie on keyboards, and on some, Scott Thurston). Iggy spent $5,000 re-mastering them and pocketed the rest. The album was titled TV Eye (1977 Live).

Saturday, August 05, 2017

IGGY POP 1977

THE PALLADIUM, NEW YORK CITY
LUST FOR LIFE tour October 6, 1977

By Madeline Bocaro

The lobby of New York City's Palladium was filled with punks. Ripped T-shirts, dog collars and chains, safety pins, plastic sunglasses from Woolworth's - you name it, they wore it. Halloween? Nope, too early. This was the night of Iggy Pop's New York concert appearance, and everyone was all decked out for the occasion! Most of us had recently seen Iggy here on March 18th at the start of The Idiot, tour with Bowie on keyboards, and Blondie as the opening act. How lucky are we to be seeing him again just seven months later!
Opening act – the Ramones. Those blitzkreig boppers kept everyone jumping on their seats. The Ramones did their usual short set, intro including 'Sheena is a Punk Rocker', which even made the charts! They did some new tunes; 'Rockaway Beach' and 'Here Today Gone Tomorrow' during which there was an outburst in the third row. Patti Smith was fighting off five ushers at once, punching and yelling until she finally climbed over our heads and into a front row seat.

Then came Iggy, prancing out in patched jeans and white T-shirt, one black shoe and one white one, and wearing a horse's tail as he sang 'Sixteen'.

Most songs were from his latest RCA album Lust For Life; 'The Passenger'. 'Some Weird Sin' (which he sang from inside a black bag lying on the floor), and 'Fall in Love With Me' sporting an army helmet and smashing a chair at the end.

Iggy also did 'Nightclubbing' from his previous LP The Idiot, only this time with a new twist. He sang it in German while climbing stacks of amplifiers. His voice was cold, alien - almost frozen.

We were treated to some Stooges songs. 'I Wanna Be Your Dog' was snarled out by Iggy who was on all fours, growling and howling his way into our hearts. A rendition of 'Raw Power' was inevitable. 'I Got a Right' was amazing (the only recording of which is a mono 45 made from James Williamson's tapes of the Raw Power album rehearsals). There was an encore of Bowie's 'Fame'.

The black leather-clad band (this time sans Bowie, and not suffering at all because of it) included Tony and Hunt Sales, sons of Soupy who introduced the band onstage! They served as a low-key backdrop for dominating Iggy, slavishly throwing himself around the stage, occasionally dropping to the floor exhausted – the Id foremost as he contorted his beautiful savage face into looks of lust, and at times vacancy.

Iggy seemed alone, exposed, giving his all as we stared at his naked torso – stunned as if each of us had received a slap in the face. His small frame seemed larger than life under the spotlights and in the shadows. His body rippled with perfectly formed muscles, sweat and scars from his days of vengeance. Through his movements both graceful and savage, it seemed as if he was trying to break out of his skin, into some nameless freedom.

What kind of people attend such an exhibition? Suckers for his affections/ his inflictions? Necrophiliacs? The type who peek through ambulance windows, or those who secretly pull the legs off spiders. The most gratification must have been felt by those who cut worms in half and watch them suffer and squirm. Iggy was doing the same – he was slimy, sweating, writhing and sprawling all over the stage. We left the hall pondering, 'I loved it – what's wrong with me?

There was not as much violence as in the days of the Stooges when acts of self-hate turned to self-abuse by Iggy. He would physically punish himself while the audience gasped in ambivalence, at first unaware and suddenly realizing own latent needs for punishment and masochism by watching Iggy act out for them.
Iggy's performance still runs along these lines, only now more restrained with indirect hints of violence. Still, Iggy is for real. He's more than slightly bent, without sense of self-preservation, having more animal instincts than human ones. He is unleashed on us and we love it, finding our lost strength and desires magnified in the bravado of this live wire – the sultan of destructo-exorcism.

The show was virtually the same two nights ago at the Palace Theatre in Waterbury CT. The audience were more calm than the manic New Yorkers. Nevertheless, everyone remained in the theater for at least fifteen minutes cheering for a second encore, which never came.

Iggy seemed more relaxed in CT, as if this were merely a rehearsal for the big night in NYC. Iggy feeds off the crowd in New York, making it much more than just a performance. Everyone is involved, and we all leave deep in thought, stunned and euphoric.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

‘ALL THE YOUNG DUDES’ AT 45


by Madeline Bocaro



Mott The Hoople were extremely fond of their wildly passionate, loyal and steadfast fans, but their live gigs always outsold their four albums. The band was at a breaking point.

David Bowie gave Mott the song 'All The Young Dudes' after their bass player Overend Watts approached him for a job when Mott decided to disband in 1972. Bowie loved Mott and had seen their riotous live gigs. He first offered Watts the song 'Suffragette City'. Luckily, Mott rejected that song in favor of 'Dudes'. Bowie gave them the right song at the perfect time. 'Dudes' saved Mott from oblivion.

'All The Young Dudes' was recorded by Mott The Hoople in May and released on July 28, 1972. Bowie's lyrics name-check his trend-setting friends from the gay discotheque, Yours And Mine beneath El Sombrero restaurant on Kensington High Street. There's suicidal Billy, stealing Wendy, butch queen Lucy, the queen Jimmy and star-faced Freddie (Bowie's clothing designer Freddie Burretti – nee Burrett). These real life characters inspired Bowie to write the future Mott The Hoople hit. The song celebrates the 'juvenile delinquent wrecks' of the 70s who are unable to relate to their brothers' Beatles & Stones records, not wanting to live past 25, and stealing clothes from Marks & Sparks.

"We were the 'young dudes' who shaved off our eyebrows just for camp, because you could paint them on higher up — that gave us a strange unearthly look which David adopted. He was always open to suggestions and went through our wardrobes like a magpie!"
-       Wendy Kirby

'‘Dudes’ is actually a very sad song. One line depicts a sad teenage Pierrot-like figure at the end of a performance: "Freddie's got spots from picking off the stars from his face." The narrator carries news of cultural and urban despair and decay - the aftermath of Ziggy Stardust’s apocalyptic ‘Five Years’ and a prologue to the year of the Diamond Dogs, set in the dystopian Hunger City where ‘Dudes’ became ‘Droogs’. A 1974 lyric sheet for ‘Future Legend’, the opening pronouncement of Diamond Dogs, bears Bowie’s crossed-out title, ‘Fugue for the Dude’.


"'All the Young Dudes' is a song about this news. It's no hymn to the youth, as people thought. It is completely the opposite."
- David Bowie

"I never saw anything all that sexual about Dudes as a lyric. I know it sounds daft, but to me it was just a great song. After Dudes we were considered instant fags in America. It was comical. A lot of gays followed us around, especially in America. We were scared at first because we all happen to be straight but then we started to talk to people and there wasn't anyone pushing you. I met some incredible people. It's like another nation. It's just scary at first because we were small town boys, but once we knew no one was going to grab us every minute of the day, everything was fine." 

- Ian Hunter, The Horse's Mouth


"Dudes sounded like a great rallying cry to all the dissaffected youth worldwide. With the addition of Ian rapping and ranting, the whole thing coalesced into an instant classic. I remember when Blue Weaver joined the ranks later on he played us an ancient early 1900's, French recording of a melody identical to the melody of 'ATYD'." 
– Dale 'Buffin' Griffin

 'Dudes' was also a commentary on the early 70's, and the glam/gay element was there in Bowie's lyrics

"It's a Gay Anthem! A rallying call to the young dudes to come out in the streets and show that they were beautiful and gay and proud of it." 
-       Lou Reed

"A song has to take on character, shape, body and influence people to an extent that they use it for their own devices. It must affect them not just as a song, but as a lifestyle. The rock stars have assimilated all kinds of philosophies, styles, histories, writings, and they throw out what they have gleaned from that."
-       David Bowie (William Burroughs interview: 
Beat Godfather Meets Glitter Mainman)Rolling Stone, February 28, 1974

The ad-libbed ending was purely Ian Hunter's. In the fad-out 'rap', Ian is ribbing a kid in the crowd, coercing his friend bring him to the front. Ian pulls him on-stage so the kid can feel what it's like to be a 'star' and asks him, "How do ya feel?!"  You can almost see the grin on Ian's face as Ian says this! The line, 'Hey you with the glasses' is from a 1950s radio show called the Billy Cotton Band Show.

Hey you with the glasses
I want you in the front! 
Are you his friend? 
Bring him down!
I want him right here
There ya go!  
How does it feel? 

(Ian’s vignette of a fan ending up onstage predicted the advent of Punk, when fans of Mott The Hoople (Mick Jones –Clash) and the Stooges (John Lydon - Sex Pistols) formed their own bands and incited others to carry their own news – which was the exact spirit of the song ‘All The Young Dudes’. Bowie of course, was in a completely different realm at the time, recording his albums Low, Heroes and Iggy Pop’s masterpiece, The Idiot.)

'Dudes' was censored lyrically by BBC radio and TV. The line "Wendy's stealing clothes from Marks and Sparks" refers to UK department store Marks & Spencer. The line was replaced with: "Wendy's stealing clothes from unlocked cars".

Bowie introduced Mott The Hoople on stage at the Tower Theater near Philadelphia on November 29, 1972 and performed the song with them. (Released on Mott's All the Way from Stockholm to Philadelphia in 1998 and the expanded All The Young Dudes in 2006). David also performed the song on his 1973 and 1974 tours. Twenty years after their Philly duet, Bowie and Ian Hunter performed 'Dudes' at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert with Mick Ronson on guitar in 1992. Bowie later performed it during his Outside and Reality tours.


A version of the backing track for Mott the Hoople's version with Bowie's guide vocal exists. A variant of this; Bowie's vocal on the verses with Ian Hunter's on the chorus, was released on the 2006 reissue of All the Young Dudes.

Bowie's own studio version, recorded in December 1972 during his Aladdin Sane sessions went unreleased until 1995, in mono on the album RarestOneBowie. Bowie also used the music of 'Dudes' played backward in his song 'Move On' on his album Lodger in 1979.


Bowie then produced Mott's album titled All The Young Dudes, recorded from May – July at Olympic and Trident studios in 1972 and released on September 8. The now famous cover concept and art direction was by Mick Rock. George Underwood tinted a vintage illustration – a cover of the Saturday Evening Post that Mick Rock had intended for the cover. The original drawing was from an ad for men's suits in 1917.  The old English typeface came from the Society Brand Clothes logo. 





Mick Rock had originally submitted a photo of a young kid posing with a guitar. Here is the story of how they located the kid years later…





The following album simply titled Mott contained a song called 'Hymn For the Dudes' the moniker by which their own fans came to be fondly known.

Mott The Hoople bid their fans farewell with a lone single in October 1974 after a final album called The Hoople. 'Saturday Gigs' was their final anthem - a love letter to their fans chronicling the band's history from the 1969 Roundhouse gigs to their week-long 1974 Broadway engagement in NYC (with Queen as opening act) and their fizzled out European tour that same year. At the end of every Def Leppard concert, Joe Elliott tells the cheering crowd, "Don't you ever forget us, and we'll never forget you!" These words come from deep within Joe's heart. They were the fade-out lyrics of his favorite band Mott The Hoople's farewell single.

At Mott The Hoople's reunion gigs at Hammersmith Odeon in 2009, the bittersweet finale was 'Saturday Gigs'. The band poignantly put down their instruments at the song's end, chanting the 'goodbye' coda acapella as the lights went down. Mott exited the stage, as the joyful yet tearful crowd carried on chanting 'goo-ood byyye', echoing through the hall.




'All The Young Dudes' 1972
·       Verden Allen – organ, backing vocals
·       Dale 'Buffin' griffin – drums
·       Ian Hunter – lead vocals, guitar, piano, keyboards,
·       Mick Ralphs – guitar, backing vocals
·       Pete Overend Watts – bass
·       David Bowie – backing vocals

(An addendum by Mott's Morgan Fisher):

Thanks for the article Madeline. Dudes is indeed a bit of a classic and on occasion I still play it live.

Buffin’s memory about Blue isn’t quite right. It was me that created a spoof recording, with my synths sounding like an old 78rpm record of an orchestra playing the Dudes melody. I had the band believing me for a few minutes!

Check it out here:


Cheers!

Morgan

DANDY & THE DUDE
by Madeline Bocaro

Shortly after Bowie's passing in 2016, Ian Hunter wrote a beautiful tribute song. It appears as a single, and on his album Fingers Crossed.


I think it's so sweet that although Ian recorded with Bowie, and is much older than him, he wrote the song from the viewpoint of a fan during the Ziggy Stardust era. 'Dandy' is clearly reminiscent of Mott's farewell 'Saturday Gigs', a love letter to Hoople fans upon the band's breakup, taking us through the years of wonderful memories. 'Dandy' has an equally sweet guitar melody (like Ronson's on 'Saturday Gigs') and a similary long 'goodbye' fadeaway.

Ian starts the song with his hero Bob Dylan's line from 'Ballad of a Thin Man' about our very own 'Mr. Jones' (Bowie's real surname). So cool that he name-checks the Spiders, and credits Ronson (as Little Lord Fauntleroy) who let the genie out of his lamp / amp.

Ian manages to incorporate Bowie's future masterpiece 'Heroes' which is what he made us all feel like. I also love the mentions of 'The Prettiest Star' and 'Life on Mars?' And the Cabaret Voltaire reference is spot on!

The line makes me cry is:

Dandy - this world was black-and-white 
You showed us what it's like 
To live inside a rainbow 

The middle eight 'Lie lie la lie…' refers to Bowie's 'Starman' yet it has a Germanic Brecht/Weil vibe, which David would love. I wish Bowie was here to sing backing vocals on this one!

Thanks to Ian for getting it right, and dedicating it to the fans!

DANDY
Something is happening - Mr. Jones
My brother says you're better than the Beatles or the Stones
From Saturday night to Sunday morning
You turned us into heroes 
Can you hear the heroes sing 

Dandy you are the prettiest star 
There ain't no life on Mars - but we always there might be

Dandy - you opened up the door 
You left us wanting more 
And then we took the last bus home

Who let the genie out of the lamp?
The Little Lord Fontleroy who let him out of his amp
From Saturday night to Sunday morning 
Well Trevor's getting bolder 
and Woody loves the hit thing

Dandy - this world was black-and-white 
You showed us what it's like 
To live inside a rainbow 

Dandy - you thrilled us to the core 
You left us wanting more 
And then we took the last bus home

Lie lie la lie 
Lie lie la lie...

You beat up the 
You had it all
The voice, the look the songs that shook
The gift of the gab and the gall

From Saturday night to Sunday morning 
When all we had to look forward to was the WEEKEND
You made our lives worth living

Dandy - You're still the prettiest star
There ain't no life on Mars but we always thought there might be
Dandy you took us to the fair
With Cabaret Voltaire
And then we took the last train home

Dandy - You know we waited long enough
They should put a statue up in Picadilly Circus

Dandy - You blew us all away
Outta the drab and the gray
And then we caught the last bus home
The keeper of the flame
We won't see your like again
Oh Dandy was a one-off

Hey look at what you've become
I guess I owe you one
So thanks for the memories













Thursday, July 27, 2017

NEW YORK CITY 1977 - The Heavenly Year of Hell

by Madeline Bocaro


Can you believe that 1977 was 40 years ago? I saw a great documentary on VH1 called NY 77 The Coolest Year In Hell, about the summer of '77.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFgyezfS6ik

It's amazing to see it all now in perspective. Elliot and I were two spoiled 17-year old kids who laughed about everything back then. We ventured into the city from our safe houses in the suburbs. We thought New York City was the greatest thing. Now, seeing this documentary about the extent of the decadence, murder, depravity and danger brings to light how scary it actually was.

Elliot realized and appreciated the danger more than I did. I was too naive. It was the hottest summer on record. Bright flickering neon signs reflected in pools of scum on the streets, exactly as the city looked in the film Taxi Driver. Son of Sam – a real life Travis Bickle was on the loose. The President had forsaken the bankrupt New York City, denying federal assistance. A Daily News headline read, "Ford to City: Drop Dead"

We thought it was all a big laugh. Despite the peril, we loved going to the city; me for the music; Max's and CBGB, and him for discos and turning tricks at the Playland arcade.

There was the infamous 25-hour long blackout in the hottest July ever with a 10-day heatwave over 100 degrees. People went insane. They were coming out of stores with arms full of clothing, appliances or groceries. Vans pulled up to store fronts, hauling off washers and dryers. It was like scenes from Pirates of the Caribbean - looting and destruction - total chaos! As a result of severe NYC budget cuts, police force had been reduced. The police (unarmed at the time but for night sticks) had no plan in place to handle anything of this caliber. There were almost 4,000 arrests without enough prison cells. The aftermath of the rebellion looked like scenes from Iraq! During the anarchy, 1,000 fires were set, trash everywhere, broken glass. New York City, the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens were ravaged by the blackout. In the South Bronx, slumlords had already been paying heroin addicts to torch their buildings so they could collect the insurance money. On this night, flames burned for hours with blaring sirens of fire trucks that couldn't keep up. In the quiet calm of the morning, there were smoldering ruins

Alongside the decay and nihilism was exhilaration and cultural evolution. I remember Debbie Harry & Chris Stein of Blondie telling us at CBGB one night that we should join them uptown to these wild clubs where "It's like a party - people just talk in rhymes over the music - like stream of consciousness." I was sure they knew what was cool and it was probably legit, but I knew that it wouldn't be my scene - I was more of a Punk. Out of this came the Sugar Hill Gang with the very first use of music sampling, Chic's 'Good Times' on the very first Hip-Hop song, 'Rapper's Delight'.

There were other great stories about CBGB in the documentary. The most interesting one about the city was when rap artists spoke about the origins of scratching and Hip-Hop culture. I always wondered how they had those sound battles with turntables in the parks. Where did they get the electricity? They hotwired street lamps using extension cords to snake all the way into the park! The most cred was given to the guys with the LOUDEST sound. They battled, scratching and blasting Queen's song 'We Will Rock You' and blew each other out of the park!

Then, on the night of the historic blackout (July 13) all the poor ghetto kids who had their eye on the finest amps, speakers, and turntables in the windows of electronics stores looted and stole all the equipment they'd ever dreamed of having. It was like the best Christmas ever – in the middle of the hottest, most vicious summer. That was the night hip-hop was born! (And everyone got free sneakers!) Overnight, the sonic battles became bigger & louder. The contraband high-end equipment was extremely desirable, so each DJ had to guard all his stuff from rival rappers, each with their own posse of gunmen in the park.

The documentary also illustrated graffiti artists' pride in their achievements in leaving their mark on the trains. They would steal spray-paint cans from the stores by pinning the sleeves of their denim jackets closed, putting 4 paint cans down each sleeve and slinging their jackets over their shoulders. The stealth artists descended into the tunnels at night to paint in the dark, after practicing their drawings for weeks, also in the dark for that sole purpose. They considered their paintings works of art, but the public viewed them as garbage. There were also segments on Discos like Studio 54, and Plato's retreat with their all-night orgies.

Elliot would always take me to Times Square late at night, where the most prominent letters in flashing lights on all the marquees was 'XXX'. There was a huge poster store on a corner, which had rare British glam rock posters mixed in amongst thousands of movie star posters. I would spend hours in there looking through each and every poster, while Elliot said he was going to the disc-O-mat record store. Years later, he told me that he really went to 53rd & 3rd to turn tricks. A scene right out of the Ramones song 53rd & 3rd about a guy killing a trick due to his own shame. (Their debut album had been released six months prior). My mom thought I was 'safe' in the city going with a 'guy' to protect me!

8th Avenue featured hundreds of peep shows, over a thousand hookers, and pimps in alcoves who whistled at me - oblivious to the danger in my glam outfits at eighteen. The 10-block stretch of 8th Avenue from Times Square and up was known as the 'Minnesota Strip' because teenage prostitutes flocked there by the busload when Minnesota toughened up its' prostitution laws. There were some book stores where creepy, disgusting fat old cigar-smoking men sold dusty old movie posters and glamorous publicity photos of 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s movie stars. One shop sold back-issues of Circus Magazine with my favorite rock stars; Bowie, Iggy Pop or Mott The Hoople on the cover. I went there searching for these magazines. I would have paid $100 for this one Ziggy cover! When I asked the guy how much, he said 25 cents! I quickly handed him the quarter and got out of there quickly before he realized that he had just sold me the holy grail!!! He couldn't care less.

Elliot and I would walk around Christopher Street at night, eat at Taco Rico, and watch the gay couples walk by, wearing leather or drag. I loved the queens and trannies - they were so committed to the art of being themselves! It was like all of the bizarre characters from a Lou Reed album converging in one place! One walked by dressed in a nurse's uniform with blood all over, dragging a headless doll. We hadn't realized it was Halloween because people looked so weird and fabulous there every night.

Back then, the 'meat packing district' was just that; a double entendre for packing meat in the culinary sense, and also in gay sex clubs.

Punk rock was already in full swing. Elvis died in August, effectively ending an era. In Greenwich Village, we'd run into the Ramones, Blondie or the New York Dolls buying boots or jeans at Trash & Vaudeville or Manic Panic. We literally bumped into Andy Warhol many times in Union Square…and Lou Reed during the Halloween parade on Christopher Street, way before it became commercialized!

We began to notice kids with Mohawk haircuts – another Travis Bickle reference. Now they are commonplace, but then it was scary to see this tribal / military cut that was traditionally ceremonial or the sign of a warrior on teenage kids.

Once I was in a NYC taxi with my innocent mom. She had escorted me from the suburbs to a concert in the city. Some women walked in front of the cab, and mom said, "Look at those girls - they're dressed like hookers!" Hey ma - they ARE hookers!! Those were the days.

New York City was still a dangerous place in 1984, when subway passenger Bernhard Goetz shot down three attackers on the train and was hailed as the 'subway vigilante'.

In the mid 1980s when NYC had been 'cleaned up', there was a billboard near Times Square advertising the Waterfront Crab House in Long Island City. It read, 'The only place in the city that still has crabs!'