Friday, December 12, 2008
So long, Miss Page
Exactly a week ago, I put Bettie Page on my girl crush list and this morning I found out that she died yesterday, aged 85.
Back in my teenage goth/metalhead phase (I was always too happy and smiley to be a proper goth) I used to buy such fine publications as Kerrang and Metal Hammer, the back pages of which were always filled with ads for gigs in random locations around the UK which always sounded fierce exciting to my underage self. There would also be ads for online merchandise shops for posters, t shirts, studded dog collars and whathaveyou, listing out all the different stuff they sold. One thing that kept popping out at me was this name "Bettie Page", and these old black and white photos of a dark haired girl in stockings and the like. Intrigued, I Googled the feck out of her and discovered this whole cult following the lady has.
I had always liked pin up girl art and I think this sort of cemented my appreciation of the whole genre. In college I even wrote my 3rd year dissertation about the origins of the pin up girl, and talked about how Bettie was one of the most popular photography pin up girls in 50s America. I love how she could look really cute and fun in the beach bikini photos and totally switch it round, practically growling at the camera in black knickers, brandishing a whip in the bondage and fetish type shoots. The fact that she had no problem posing with whips, or being gagged or catfighting with other girls was what made her so popular. She even used to do all her own hair and makeup and made most of her outfits herself. Bettie packed it all in around 1958 and converted to Christianity, kept a low profile and was totally unaware of a huge revival in her popularity in the 70s, 80s and 90s. She wouldn't allow anyone to photograph her in her later years, saying that she wanted people to remember her as she was, and I know I'll certainly remember her as a fun, sexy and flirty icon, winking at the camera with a big saucy smile.