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

Savvy Media Ltd: Media Sales executive - Crawley

£25k + commission + benefits: Savvy Media Ltd: Find a job you love and never h...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Solicitor NQ+ Oxford

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: CORPORATE - Corporate Solicitor NQ+ An excelle...

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Muslim men pray at the East London Mosque  

Sadly, it needs to be said again: being a Muslim is not a crime

Yasmin Alibhai Brown
In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible