Alexa Chung: There are many modern versions of Pamela Des Barres' Sixties groupie

Girl About Town

Share
Related Topics

So here we go, another elaborate postcard from me to you. I'm still in Australia watching patient surfers bobbing along on the waves, I'm still downing mojitos and I'm still worried about the deadly-spider situation... wish you were here etc.

When the clock struck 12 to welcome New Year's Day, all the boats in Sydney Harbour lit up to reveal the outline of a variety of different animals and fish (my favourite was a somehow smug-looking whale). But my childlike sense of happiness at seeing this electric spectacle was cut short when I discovered that nobody my age knows the words to "Auld Lang Syne" – not even the first line. So depressing. I made a promise that the next day I would print them out so that in a year's time we'd all be up to speed; this is something I have yet to do, because I quickly realised I'm the only one who cares.

Having read half of Nancy Mitford's Love in a Cold Climate, my Penguin Classic mysteriously vanished. I later decided it must have been among the collection of valuables that were swept off the edge of our balcony in the gusty almost-storm. Perhaps, finally, this is my cue to purchase the book people have been recommending to me for a disturbingly long time, possibly even before Judy Blume's Blubber was brought to my attention.

All too often girls say to me: "You should read I'm with the Band." It's a memoir written by a groupie (Pamela Des Barres) in the Sixties and Seventies in which she documents how she slept with at least one member of every cool band of that era. Apparently Des Barres is pretty awesome because, as my friend so eloquently put it, "she wasn't even that hot but she boned Jim Morrison and about 100 others". Well done her.

Thus far, I have refused to pick it up, probably because I refuse to admit I would be interested in groupies, because I refuse to admit that I probably am one. I logged on to Facebook so that I could ask various girlfriends who have had various dalliances with band members, their opinions on groupies and groupiedom. The most interesting thing I discovered was that not one of them considered themselves to be a groupie.

I tried again, this time providing them with the internet dictionary definition of the noun "groupie": "A young person who is an ardent admirer of rock musicians and may follow them on tour." In light of this new information, most of them changed their minds.

The fact that so many of the girls were reluctant to admit they are groupies implies that it's no longer perceived to be the glamorous job option it once was. Following a band around on tour nowadays seems like a fairly unfulfilling thing for a woman to do. And given the terminology that bands fling about in reference to groupies, such as "pussy passes" (the tickets tour managers hand out to hot young things loitering near a venue's exits), it's no wonder some girls want to distance themselves from such degrading behaviour.

I suppose the groupies of yesteryear have been replaced by footballers' WAGs: women who are admired for looking glamorous and pretty side of pitch, as opposed to side of stage. But I can assure you there still exist plenty of modern versions of Des Barres' blueprint. The other night, at the aftershow party of a Mystery Jets gig in Sydney, I observed the behaviour of two girls with triple-A passes stuck to their hotpants. Although they were talking to each other, neither was listening to what the other one was saying. Their attention was out in the room, eyes flickering from side to side, scanning at speed, mapping out which member of the band was where and calculating just how many other girls they'd have to cast aside before they reached their chosen target. It's important to note that none of the boys seemed aware of the imminent attack. I sighed and looked away. Ugggh, groupies.

And yet here I am weighing up whether or not to stay in Australia so that I can follow around a band I "ardently admire" as they tour Big Day Out. Those girls I looked upon with pity and disdain are no different from me or any of my friends or counterparts. They're just younger and haven't yet worked out how not to look like a groupie. Of all the girls I contacted and told I was writing this column, one replied with a rather astute comment. "If there weren't so many groupies willing to sleep with boys just cos they are in a band," she said, "then there wouldn't be so many shitty bands filled with boys who just want to sleep with groupies." Profound. This girl, too, said she definitely wasn't one.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Digital Marketing Executive

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A luxury beauty house with a nu...

Recruitment Genius: Housekeepers - Immediate Start

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This company are currently recruiting new exp...

Recruitment Genius: Head Concierge

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning Property Man...

Recruitment Genius: Content, SEO and PPC Executive

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Clean energy should be our mission to the moon

Martin Rees
Angela Merkel and David Cameron say goodbye in the Bundeskanzleramt after their meeting in Berlin, Germany, 29 May 2015  

The complacency of Europhiles could lose them the referendum

Steve Richards
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral