It was the early nineties. I was little kid running around my living room, dancing to the music videos on VH1 that my mom had on. Then, all of the sudden, for better for worse, I was pre exposed to the gender bending, enthusiasm & energy of New Wave lover boy Adam Ant. While, I cannot account for the exact words that my perplexed juvenile brain produced upon freezing dead center in front of my television, determining just what to make of the video, it was something to the extent of “what the hell is this?”
“Your aunt Christine loved him when we were younger.” Really? This guy? There was just a lot of things I just didn’t understand. What I did grasp was the effeminate playfulness of the video, lending itself to a catchy chorus that inspired the silk-clad man with earrings and a giant forehead to throw himself theatrically from room to room of the video. What I didn’t understand was why. Maybe I just hadn’t hit puberty. Maybe I instinctually knew that it was just a bad video. There were questions I couldn’t answer, and I remember having an underlying sense of uneasiness because of it.
Was he wearing makeup? Eighties new wave was complicated. I knew what I was witnessing was rooted in some sort of rock music, but it was something my aunt and mother liked and something I knew my father would not be caught dead listening to. I suppose my frozen intrigue was due to so many opposites clashing inside my head I needed to reserve all my mental energy into reorganizing them on the spot. For instance, I didn’t understand the foppish demeanor nor the victorian romantic backdrop. I thought the eighties was supposed to be defined by garish neon colors and a throw-away culture. Why then prance around in old world traditions? My little kid life experience didn’t prepare me such cultural developments as complex as the sub-genres of new wave, or in this case new romanticism. Retrospectively, I’m pretty sure the music video was “Strip,” which I’ve included down below.