Image by Asterio Tecson

When I was twelve I discovered music. It wasn’t as if I was deaf to the stuff before that. We were brought up with the Little River Band, Boney M and the dreaded Aled Jones. But they were my parents’ choice.

In the late eighties there was something called a record club and if you bought a certain number of records they would be cheap. You’d send a piece of paper away in the snail mail (yup, no internet then) and a few weeks later there would be a knock at the door and hey presto! your music would arrive.

This was when I met Whitney. She was a young, sometimes bald lass with long legs, a gorgeous smile and an incredible voice. She had a little bit of grunt to her, she wasn’t all sugary sweetness. My brother thought she was a bit too daggy, too girly for his liking. He ordered records such as Warrant, Public Enemy and Paula Abdul (busted! she’s a girl brother!!!!!).

So it was just left to me to dance around crazy like to the boppy tunes of miss Houston. And yes I did use the hairbrush to sing those love songs to my future love. I also used to pretend I was a pop diva like Whitney. Crowds of screaming fans adoring me for my awesome talent as I belted out a few tunes with incredible hip hop style dance moves! I thought I had a future there, but it wasn’t meant to be. Sigh.

So this week my first pop hero died, way too young, too troubled. It is so sad what fame and money  and dumb husbands and drugs does to a person. It was hard to believe that she had lost her voice last year when she came to Australia. It was like the door had closed on a more pure and beautiful era.

It was clear she had lost her way and was struggling. If only she had bought an island and lived out the rest of her life in luxury, peace and happiness. Surely that would be better than continually putting yourself out there when you know your talent is slipping away. But perhaps fame is an addiction, just like the drugs.

I’m going to embrace my inner 80s girl nerd and say thanks to Whitney for many hours of entertainment, soulful singing and hip hop dancing. So very sad that she is gone.

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