I suspect that many lads of a certain age who read this journal will have just had a sudden moment of “oh, yeah, I remember then,” before wandering off to youtube one of their other videos. I say this because I spent about two years with Transvision Vamp’s first album on the tape-deck of my car in my mid-twenties and every male friend who got a lift would hear the opening bars of I Want Your Love and get an immediate flash-back to their adolescence.
And yet once you get past the gratuitous objectification of Wendy James, there still something fascinating about Transvision Vamp. I have a moderate fascination with Andy Warhol and his relationship to celebrity that was heavily reflected in the band’s first album (Pop Art, which included a song about Warhol’s death). I’m intrigued by the number of former punk musicians who ended up playing pop-rock in the background (including former members of the X-Ray Specs and the Partisans). I’m freakin’ amazed that James’ post-Vamp solo-album was written by Elvis Costello, and moderately bummed that I never actually tracked it down in a record store. I’ve spent years trying to work out whether they were a punk band who got coopted or an experiment in controlled branding that used capitalism against itself, and I’ve never realy come up with an answer.
I really do need to go find a copy of Pop Art on CD though.