27 April, 2013

Brushes With Fame V: Christina Amphlett

A pale sun was providing little in the way of warmth for downtown New York City that April morning. It was 1991 and The Love of My Life and I had walked from our midtown Manhattan hotel to Tower Records in Greenwich Village.

I'd bought a swag of CDs at cheaper American prices for friends and family and  stepped outside for a cigarette while TLOML stayed to fossick through the racks a little longer. Across 4th St opposite the store was a huge billboard advertising Divinyls, the new self-titled album by that great Australian band.
I thought it was cute that there I was, an Australian in New York standing in front of a big ad for an Aussie band's album. The artwork featured a striking shot of the Divinyls' voluptuous singer, Christina Amphlett.

It was quite early on a Saturday morning and there weren't too many people around but as my gaze turned west along 4th St I noticed a woman walking towards me on the other side of the street. She had long auburn hair and was wearing a pale mustard coloured leather overcoat. She looked up at the billboard as she drew closer to it and smiled.

"Ha," I thought, "she looks a bit like Christina Amphlett. How's that for a coincidence? Wait, wait a minute, shit ... that's her, that IS Christina Amphlett!"

We were almost the only two people on the street. She had been completely oblivious to me but I'm not embarrassed to admit I was gawping at her. Let's face it, all of Australia had been gawping at her for the better part of ten years. She turned the corner and kept walking.

Not long after, TLOML emerged from the store with her purchases. "See that billboard," I told her. "Well, you're not going to believe who I just saw..."

Christina Amphlett passed away earlier this week at her home in New York City after a long struggle against breast cancer. So long, Christina. I always thought the Divinyls were one of the great Australian bands and you one of the great Australian singers.


Andrew said...

Always nice to have even the vaguest connection with someone like that. Vale Chrissy.

Unknown said...

Definitely. A true legend. Vale to Chrissy.

iODyne said...

That's a great Brush With Fame, but oh dear. if only you had yelled

"hey it's the billboard chick oh wow"

she would have loved that.

go here and page down to the gallery

for a pic of old man Jagger putting on his grey cardy before The Stones played a 'secret' gig in LAX, and L'Wren tagging along behind

Lad Litter said...

Thanks to you both, ANdrew and Kath. I would rank I Touch Myself as one of the all-time great Australian rock songs.

eleanor bloom said...

What a great moment! So jealous. Before 91 I used to watch her gigs on tape of a school morning to help get me through the day. Bless her. x

Lad Litter said...

You must have been a genuine fan of the Divinyls then, Eleanor. A sad loss for you.

In other news, don’t laugh but I’ve recorded Streetcar Named Desire so I can watch it for the first time. Always meant to catch up with it but just never did. I’ve seen every parody and recognize every cute reference to the movie – so really looking forward to it.