X is Y (Richard Kern, 1990)
“She was photographer Spencer Tunick’s girlfriend back then. I met her through him. She was real cute, real young, and was up for anything. This photo is from a time when I didn’t think anything of doing something weird with my models. Right after this setup, I shot her in another archway in my apartment, hanging upside down. The ropes broke and she just bounced on her head. It freaked me out! That’s when I realized that I have to watch what I do because if she broke her neck and I had the cops up here and she’s all tied up and dead, naked except for combat boots, what am I going to say? ‘We were just taking some photos’?”
Source: Vice Magazine
Lydia Lunch in Richard Kern’s Fingered (1986)
When I was a dawdling young whipperslapper whose ur-aesthetic somehow became Patricia Morrison in the This Corrosion video clip (the rather less vulgar Danielle Dax came a little later), I became desperately torn between wanting to be Lydia Lunch and wanting to be a Robert Palmer girl.
Or rather, wanting to look like either. Not the most compatible of aspirations, and never shall the twain meet when the only thing they seem to have in common is a penchant for zealous eyeliner application and exhibitionism, but I was an odd child who considered her first viewing of The Labyrinth some kind of paroxysmic erotic awakening.
Given that despite their smoky-eyed mousse-headed aura of fembotty and slightly castrating awesomeness - and I still love them, bless their fragmented-by-montage disjointed bodycon-clad all-girating body parts - Robert Palmer girls have very little agency of their own (to state the no-what-Joe-Eszterhas-isn’t-really-feminism’s-most-eager-advocate-no-really-surely-you-jest obvious), and, like crotch-shot-popping Busby Berkeley chorus girls whose fetishised identical compliant bodies can only perform together as a somewhat sinister single unit, they similarly only ever exist as a collective de-individualised image of scopophilic male fantasy par excellence, it’s rather a good thing that Lydia eventually won.
…That was an exceedingly long sentence. I’m a bit of a ranting mess this week, rendered all cantankerous Angry Young Woman by this Australian election bollocks. Never mind that I’m so puerile I giggle like a schoolgirl every time the phrase “hung parliament” is used.