Lipstick, Perfume and Pop Heroes: A True Story


Post by Val the Cookie Queen


The Clash and subsequently Big Audio Dynamite are amongst my all time favourite bands. Mick Jones is my lyric writing hero.

Amsterdam 1985. I never go anywhere without my red lipstick. In the early days of my relationship with Chris he would ask why it was so important. I always answered the same “You just never know, I might bump into Mick Jones one day.”

Lipstick, Perfume and Pop Heroes: A True Story

Red lip-gloss openClips PixabayPhoto Stolen Pixabay

Amsterdam 1987. We were in the Paradiso at a Hoodoo Gurus gig. Which all these years on is kind of fab since they were Sydney´s coolest band, and now I´m with Sydney´s most sublime drag queen. But life IS strange. About half way through the gig, a colleague of mine from the “Melkweg” where I worked, tapped me on the shoulder. (The Melkweg is a famous concert venue and multimedia centre. It includes an art gallery, cinema, dance/theatre and teahouse. It was founded in 1970. It is known as the “Milky Way” in english.)
He asked me to leave the gig and go over to the Melkweg as the boss wanted me too look after an English band who were visiting. I had absolutely no intention of leaving the Hoodo Gurus gig. I yelled at him over the music, asking who it was. He replied “Some band called Big Audio Dynamite.” I kid you not. I leaned over and told Chris I had to leave because Mick Jones was waiting for me. I touched up my lipstick and left.

Mick Jones. The Clash WikipediaPhoto Stolen Wikipedia

Chris stayed on until the end of the Gurus, and then joined me. We hung out with the band for a couple of days, and they went onto support U2 at a stadium gig in Rotterdam. Don´t ask. What happened in Amsterdam stayed in Amsterdam. 🙂 It did not lead to a life long friendship, but we did get to join up with the band in 1989 for three brilliant Big Audio Dynamite gigs in Boston.

This is a perfume blog so it would do to mention what I was wearing. Amsterdam would have been

Chanel No. 5Photo Stolen instyle

Chanel No 5 Extrait

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Aldehydes, bergamot, lemon, neroli, ylang-ylang
Heart: Jasmine, rose, lily of the valley, iris
Base: Vetiver, sandalwood, vanilla, amber, patchouli

Boston was

Samsara Eau de Parfum Guerlain FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Samsara EdP by Guerlain

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Bergamot, lemon, ylang-ylang, peach and green notes
Heart: Jasmine, iris, narcissus, violet, rose
Base: Sandalwood, vanilla, Tonka bean, amber, musk

Samples of CHANEL No 5 Extrait and Samsara EdP both available Surrender To Chance

I still carry my red lipstick.

Be Prepared. You never know.

Happy 2015.


45 thoughts on “Lipstick, Perfume and Pop Heroes: A True Story

  1. I love this post!! Thanks for sharing-much of it resonated with me as I am both a red lippy and live music fan! When we meet we must lacquer up and go to a gig!! Were you wearing the 2 fragrances layered? Xx


    • I can’t wait Ainslie! Nope. No 5 in Amsterdam and Samsara in Boston. Only ever had one ir maybe two perfumes at a time in those days, not including patchouli oil. Haha. Bought Samsara when it was new at Heathrow, heading to the States. Hugs. xxx


  2. We used to listen to the Hoodoo Gurus on the radio. When we were about 13/14 there was a one day outdoor music festival in our area and we went and saw them there. To be honest they were totally eclipsed for us by Soiuxie & the Banshees.
    Portia x


      • I would put perfume just a touch ahead of career and self-sufficiency, if the truth be known. Or as a necessary correlary to the need to afford some perfume..


  3. Hi Cookie,
    What COOL and fun times and great stories! I have to admit to being out of my depth here as far as name recognition. My musical world/generation is/was a totally different place but similar thrills apply and so does the red lipstick!
    Azar xx


    • I Azar! We don´t have any control over where we are thrown into huh? Not really. And I was slap bang in the middle of Punk Movement 1976. Say no more! See you soonish. Hugs. xxxx


    • Hi Sherry! You are more than welcome, thanks for dropping by and even reading it. It was mostly fun, with a few tough moments in between. xxx


  4. Oh wow, what’s left unsaid is just as intriguing as what you did say 🙂

    Fab tale, Val. I hope i get to hear more in person before too long. Red lipstick suits you perfectly and you were prepared when the big moment came.

    The two gig perfumes show you always had great taste. Not that I ever doubted it.


    • Of course you can have the unedited version when we meet. Talking is so much safer than writing don’t you think? Those days were definitely easier because perfume was not yet an obsession. Getting older mean I have to use a lipliner as well now. Which Idon´t have. I shall purchase one tomorrow. 🙂


  5. Great story! I haven’t had a day without my red lipstick for more years than I care to count. Never got to meet my favorite musician, but I am still hopeful since the next concert is in May. Now I just need the right perfume….


    • Hi Dayle! Nice to see you. Well May is far enough off to prepare I think! Never give up hope. I ams sure we can find a perfume ….. xxxx


  6. Absolutely loved your post! This one, along with others lately, have convinced me of 2 things. First is give red lipstick another try. I usually look silly, not sexy. The other is to try Chanel No 5 again. I was given a bottle in high school and all I remember is that I thought it was uninteresting and somehow cold.


    • Hello Maya! Honestly, I have not worn Chanel No 5 for years. I would like a bottle again but we´ll see if one comes along! The thing with red lipstick is you have to find the one for you, then you can wear it fine. There are so any different tones of red. It requires patience and lots of tissues to wipe all the trials off. I have worn it most of my life. I gave it up for a few years in my forties because I was bleaching my hair and the two together looked kind of ……….! (fill in the dotted line) Since I have gone gray though I wear it all the time again. xxxx


  7. Wonderful story of an amazing encounter. Memories from those sort of one off events last a lifetime.

    Me, I can’t wear proper red lipstick – only glosses with a bit of a red leaning – but I shall wear it vicariously through you. Chanel 5 I can do!


    • Hi Ms Bonkers. Depends what you call proper red. We´ll go on a lipstick mission when I am home next time. That´ll be a laugh huh? xxxxxx


  8. How cool is that?!
    I like your “always wear a red lipstick just in case…” advice much better than the usual “wear decent knickers in case you get run over by a bus.”


    • Hi Sabine! Hahahahaha! Indeed it is. I too had a mother who encouraged clean underwear for that very reason. Hilarious. Thanks for the reminder, I am in Vienna tomorrow. Lots of buses. Hugs xxxx


  9. I love everything about this story. And I’m SO jealous you got to see the Ramones! I remember Melkveg in Amsterdam! Came a few times in 83-85. I won’t say what I did, just that it had a questionable ethical value…

    Fun times! Thank you, Val! :*

    Still looking the perfect red shade…


  10. I love The Clash and thought they were just adorable back in the day. I never got to see them live and in person. I still have the London Calling album in my basement. 33rpm record, baby!
    The band I was wearing red lipstick for was Def Leppard. I loved the long haired boys back in the day and then went on to marry a bald man. Go figure.
    You need to write your memoirs. You have some great tales to tell.


    • London Calling is one of the best albums ever. I saw The Clash, hmmmm, about 11 times. Such great gigs. Ha! I think we all could write memoirs. xxx


  11. Wow, wow, wow! Awesome. Love the story.

    I’d love to wear red lipstick. I tried and failed miserably. The last time I wore red was when I was 19, and a cute girl at the cosmetic counter told me that I looked like someone with a few kids. Ha.


  12. Cool story I remember The Hoodo Gurus – they were quite big in NZ back in the late 80’s. And Big Audio Dynamite too. That old adage What Goes On Tour Stays On Tour is definitely appropriate. And thank god there was no social media when I grew up (think I still am??) It would have been horrendous. It’s really tricky to navigate that space as a parent now with young kids. Red lipstick + Music + Perfume = Rock On Val


    • Hi Megan. Social media has wiped out the fun of so many things – especially for the youth. You can’t turn around without having a picture taken and how do you get into a gig when you have to hold your phone in the air the whole time? Our/my kids think they are “rebellious” but they have no clue what that means. Rant over. Nice to see you!!! Have a good day. Hugs. xxxx


  13. Just wonderful when you unburden your soul to us in the manner of a confessional. Your saintly deeds are their own absolution.
    Bless you my child,
    Sister Mary


  14. Great post. And way to be prepared!

    It was also fun for me to see Melkweg spelled out. There’s that bit from Cracker’s great song ‘Euro-Trash Girl’ —

    Sold my plasma in Amsterdam /
    Spent it all in a night /
    Buying drinks at the Melkweg /
    For a soldier in drag.

    I never could tell what he said there, tho’ the context was clear it was a club. Sure I could have Googled it, but so much cooler to find out here, via you! Cheers.


    • How cool is that? Thanks so much for telling me. Brilliant. You made my day. Drop by again please. Off to look up The Cracker’s track. Hugs! xx


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