When singer, actor and activist Olivia Newton- John passed away in August last year, it felt like a piece of our collective childhood had also gone. Despite being thirty something when she portrayed Sandy in ‘Grease’, archetypal virgin given sexy makeover, stitched into those satin leggings and wank banks of many, she’ll forever be that character. Girls liked her too, she was an underdog.
It got me pondering who the new female role models in pop culture are. Tik Tok is ephemeral and too trend-driven. Make-up tutorials aren’t culturally significant.
Billie Eilish blotted her copy book by dating Jesse Rutherford, ten years her senior and losing her tomboy image in the process. Quelle horreur.
Cue King Goth himself, Tim Burton, to bring a new kind of heroine. Well, revive, really. His Netflix series ‘Wednesday ‘, is a reimagining of the iconic Charles Addams kid, now a pouty mid-teen. Jenna Ortega in the titular role, did a little dance to The Cramps track from 1981, ‘Goo Goo Muck’, and the world lost its shit.
Part sixties routine, part Siouxsie and The Banshees, Ortega made up the routine herself (in an interview Ortega said, ” I got it from their song ‘Funhouse’, you know? ” She actually meant ‘Happy House ‘, not The Stooges song).
Of course, the dance clip went viral, and everyone – from teachers, to ice skaters, to Lady bloody Gaga- has been homaging it, and the song has been rediscovered by a new generation.
The problem is, only this song is trending, not the entire Cramps back catalogue. So they are now rendered a one hit wonder by normies. The Tik Tok generation aren’t getting into ‘Psychedelic Jungle’ ‘Flamejob’ or ‘Smell of Female ‘, because that would require effort. The bandwagon jumpers are like Father Dougal in the classic ‘Father Ted’ episode, bringing his one single, ‘Ghost Town ‘, to the disco and unaware there’s a B side.
It’s a shame. As an icon, Wednesday undoubtedly endures. That’s great to see. But so too do The Cramps. I want people to get into the equally filthy, euphemistic ‘You’ve Got Good Taste’, etc. Go on, give them a spin. Make up your own dance.