To celebrate the release of our 103rd 33 1/3 on Live Through This by Anwen Crawford, we bring you the first installment of Hole week: a look the prologue that didn’t make it into the book!
A BRIEF HISTORY OF AMERICAN BLONDES
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome our lovely contestants to the stage. Tonight they are competing for the title of American Blonde — a great honour, ladies and gentlemen, a glittering prize. The winner will be part icon, part anti-hero, part sign of the times.
Audacity, ambition, determination, poise: these are the qualities we’re looking for this evening. And beauty. Beauty of a particular kind.
Our first contestant is Miss Mae West, known to many of you as Diamond Lil, Lady Lou, the queen of camp. She’s five foot of sass and nothing will shut her down, not even the New York City Police Department. Tonight she’s ravishing in mink and diamonds — goodness, Miss West, what beautiful diamonds! What’s that you say? Goodness has nothing to do with it? Well, Miss West, you are a delight.
Next onstage is a platinum idol with the shining halo of hell’s own angel: Miss Jean Harlow, ladies and gentlemen. Can any of you match her colour? It entrances, it astonishes. Tonight Miss Harlow is appearing for us in a bias-cut white silk gown that makes the most of her tantalising curves. She’s a vamp, she’s a tramp, and she’s a long way from Kansas.
If vice is your style, you should be most taken with our third contestant, Mrs Phyllis Dietrichson. Did you know she killed her husband for the money? Her wave is blonde, her robe is white, and her heart is blacker than the depths of hell. That’s a honey of an anklet you’re wearing, Mrs Dietrichson.
Fourth to the stage this evening is Miss Marilyn Monroe. You see the way her hair catches the light? She whispered to me earlier that the only natural blonde is an albino, but I’m not sure that’s right. As you’ll see from some of our other contestants this evening — but here I am getting ahead of myself! Miss Monroe will be performing “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” in the talent round, a special treat for you all, ladies and gentlemen, and a sentiment that I’m sure Miss West can agree with.
Here she comes, you better watch your step — it’s our poor little rich girl, Miss Edie Sedgwick. What she lacks in curves she makes up for in cool. Miss Sedgwick comes from a long line of upstanding American citizens, and now she’s making a name for herself with the assistance of Mr Warhol — a real artist, ladies and gentlemen. We expect big things from this young lady. The chandelier earrings set off her silver hair perfectly, wouldn’t you agree?
And now it’s time for a glimpse at our first natural blonde — so much for your theory, Miss Monroe! Please welcome onstage the beautiful Miss Stevie Nicks. Doesn’t she look lovely all in black? Miss Nicks will also be performing a song for us this evening, a song she wrote herself. What a talent. Rock on, gold dust woman.
Next is Miss Nancy Spungen. She’s an acquired taste. Miss Spungen will be modelling black rubber in our evening wear round — a bold look, you’ve got to give her credit for that! Ignore the blood, if you will. Poor Miss Spungen has been stabbed in the back so many times that she’s simply covered in wounds.
Entrant number eight is known to her friends as ‘blondie’ — a worthy competitor for tonight’s title! Ladies and gentlemen I give you Miss Debbie Harry, a New Jersey girl turned New York star. She looks her best onstage, and her gown this evening is particularly special, a mesh underlay hand-sewn with razor blades. The blades match her cheekbones, I think you might say.
Coming right up behind Miss Harry is Miss Madonna Ciccone, who also calls New York City her home. Miss Ciccone is the star of a book called Sex, and not for the fainthearted among you! Tonight she’s modelling a bustier and — Miss West, you have a comment? You staged a play called Sex in 1926? Very audacious. I’m sure our judges will score you highly in that category.
Our penultimate contestant this evening is Mr Kurt Cobain. A man? Well, I wouldn’t be too sure. He does look rather good in that dress, as you can see. We all envy your colouring, Mr Cobain, a real blue-eyed blonde! A musician, too. Quite the singing angel.
Now, this is a turn up for the books. Our final contestant this evening is married to Mr Cobain. A husband and wife competing for the same crown, it’s most unusual! Last but not at all least — Ms Courtney Love. Her motto is ‘pretty on the inside,’ but we think she’s quite something on the outside, too. A fierce competitor, ladies and gentlemen, and she plays the guitar in heels.
Our eleven contenders for the title of American Blonde — please give them a round of applause. The competition only gets harder from here. – Anwen Crawford