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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Old Punk Memory 87 1/2

Frankie Says Relax (your sphincter)

This is as much my brother's memory from 1984 because he worked in NYC and saw a number of people afflicted with Frankie Goes To Hollywood disease. He thought it was hysterical.

I rarely saw the infamous Relax shirt on Long Island (pronounced Lawn-Guylind) but Frankie was one of the last nails in the coffin of New Wave as a genre one could take seriously. Duran Duran started digging the grave and Culture Club bought the wood and nails. They all have a special place in my version of hell.

In 1978 the Village People came out with "YMCA", my first experience with an obviously gay song embraced by straight people and even (I imagine) homophobes who never bothered with lyrics. What made the Relax shirt different was that you had to buy and wear it. It took conscious effort and money to get one.

What made my brother laugh was seeing obviously heteronormative and macho homophobe types wearing it in full-blown obliviousness of what Frankie was saying you should relax.

Every time I think of Frankie Says Relax I remember the imitation my brother did of your typical NYC numbnut saying it like it was the cool thing to say.


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