Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Cherry Bomb

The real Runaways...(left) and the movie Runaways (at the end).


BTW: the winner of the Oro sample, chosen using Random.org, is Rappelyea! Get in touch with me at the email address to the left.

So I got this email from The Cherry Bomb Girls who asked if they could send me some samples. I replied sure, why not, I’d heard of this somewhere. When they came, with pink press release and “Cherry Bomb” button, it kind of cracked me up, because the imagery -- all of it -- for this very modern product actually comes from a time and place with which I’m quite familiar.

If you saw the film “The Runaways,” or remember them, you might recall that “Cherry Bomb” was the groundbreaking girl rock band’s first (ok, only) hit. I remember them well from that and a future time. As the Seventies went from Bad (bloated corporate rock) to Worse (disco) to Even Worse (the election of a faded B-movie actor whose sole skill, as it turned out, was acting presidential) there came to pass, in London, L.A. and a few other places a phenomenon known as “glam.”
This was a sort of double Venn diagram intersection between anthemic midSixties garage psychedelic/punk, guitar-god rock and roll, rampant gender confusion and the more acceptable elements of real punk -- spiky black hair, yes; vomit, no. They intersected for, oh, a couple of years, before the safe-for-the-suburbs ersatz punk-like, whatever, morphed into Industry-sanctioned “New Wave”.  And all that pink, and the buttons, and of course the fashion and a little bit of music and Rodney Bingenheimer’s club the English Disco and, later, his radio show on KROQ comprised it too. And Quaaludes. And Kim Fowley, who was much worse than he is in “The Runaways,” or so I’ve been told.
I had a wannabe glam roommate, for a while, in L.A. She was a tiny girl who drove a TransAm she could barely see out of, wore “french” jeans so tight she had to lie down to zip them, and worshipped this other girl who was better connected to the Strip scene than she was. She had shoes with eight-inch platforms, an eating disorder, and one prized possession, an acetate -- also known as a “test pressing” -- of some obscure B-side by the Who. (I guess she thought I was cool enough that she played it for me once.) Her biggest accomplishment was that she had once interned at Warner Bros. Records. A few years later, when I got a real job there, I thought of her, but not for long. She’d skipped and left me with the bills. I do remember thinking, though, that a creature like her could only have existed in a specific place and time: L.A., mid to late Seventies, the first time all this came around.

These perfumes, “Rebel Angel” and “Truth or Dare” speak to that time in the guise of speaking for this one. None of it has ever really gone away, well, the Quaaludes did, but  this is still a form the girls aspire to (with, one can hope, less victim-identification.) The fragrances themselves are sweet and strong and when I say sweet I mean sweet, but so what? They’re not aimed at me. All that guitar-goddess posing and running down those alleys all night makes one a bit, um, sweaty, so one would need knock em dead perfumes like these. 
A fellow blogger, IndiePerfumes, has already written about these fragrances in great detail, so there's no need for me to repeat. The press release calls them “bakery scents.” Certainly, they stand out! I have no teen kids and don’t really know the demo. It appears that Maria and Alexis do. If I had a daughter I’d be happier if she chose one of these than the latest celeb-scent horror. The packaging is great, too, heart-shaped bottles with keychain tops. Portable. Fits.
So what I’m getting at is this: it’s heartening, really, that this imagery, which should be as iconic as any but for some reason is not, is being mined for its power now. More power to ‘em.
A bare-bones Glam primer:
Movies:
 “Velvet Goldmine” -- with an early performance by Christian Bale 
“Almost Famous” -- with one of the best screenplays ever, by Cameron Crowe
“The Runaways” -- pretty accurate, especially the dust-bowl Valley settings
“”Mayor of Sunset Strip” -- about Rodney Bingenheimer; perversely fascinating
“Fast Times at Ridgemont High” (uncut version) kids raising each other in the Valley
“Foxes” Awful music, great performances from Jodie Foster and ex-Runaway Cherie Curie
Music:
The Runaways records -- there are many versions
David Bowie’s early 70’s records
T. Rex (Marc Bolan) anything
Iggy Pop/Stooges
Sweet (“Ballroom Blitz”)
Slade (England)
New York Dolls
Lou Reed (for awhile)
Writing: 

The late Lester Bangs, compilation books, or anything he ever wrote, really, including his pieces for Creem Magazine; imho the best, maybe the only, music writer who ever really got it.

The “real Runaways” photo came from LatinoFilmChatter.
The “movie Runaways” photo (below)  is a publicity still from the 2010 film.



9 comments:

Tamara*J said...

YAY! For Donna! I bet you love it Rapple, it's very good. Please let us know yes? Perhaps on the next lazy day thread? Take care sweety<3

flittersniffer said...

These scents are not for me either, but I remember the era very well. The guitarist from Sweet played a medley of hits and album tracks at a gig down the road the other weekend, and Mr Bonkers has played at a glam rock festival in Belgium on the same bill as them and the remnants of other dinosaur bands from the 70s - Mud, The Rubettes, Suzy Quatro etc. (He plays with Roy Wood - ELO/The Move/Wizzard). Roy is pushing 60 and I am pleased to report his hair is still resplendently purple.

Rappleyea said...

Hmm... I remember the English invasion and I remember disco, and I try to forget the awful music of the '80's, but I don't remember any of this stuff! Where was I? Or more likely, it all by-passed central Ky.

Great post; I just love your writing!

And a big thank you for the sample. I'll email you.

Hi Tamara! Yes, I'll let you all know.

Olfacta said...

Hi FS -- Wow. I had no idea!

Did this seem like a bad review? I didn't mean it to be. I'm just about, oh, maybe 30 years out of the demo.

Purple hair huh? Keeping the faith -- that's great!

Olfactarama@gmail.com said...

Hi R -- Yeah, glam was pretty much a London/LA/NY thing. Lots of lost souls there, too.

Not all the 80's music is bad -- it's kind of like niche perfumes, some are great, hardly anyone knows about them. Most people have barely heard of Angel. Sad but true.

flittersniffer said...

Hi Olfacta,

Not at all - when I said these scents were not for me either, I was also referring to my being long since out of the demographic! As you summed up:

"If I had a daughter I’d be happier if she chose one of these than the latest celeb-scent horror"

If I had a daughter I'd agree!

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