(Alan Rankine – fondly remembered — late at night — by at least one journalist)
“Can a red-blooded hetero with a troglodyte’s penchant for curvy Page 3 ‘stunnas’ also be in love, albeit platonically, with geezers in bands?” asks the Guardian’s Paul Lester. Hey, why the heck not? But where’s the love for King Diamond?
Personally, when it comes to blokes, I like ’em alien and androgynous, weird, skinny and fucked-up. I’ve got one picture of Todd Rundgren sitting cross-legged on a bed at the height of his post-psychedelic whiz-kiddery in 1974 in which he looks so transfixingly translucent and transgenderly divine it makes me die a little inside. He’s my number one heartthrob pin-up, always was, always will be. The fact that he’s a genius is neither here nor there. He takes a good photo. But I’m not the faithful type. I also go ga-ga for Sly Stone circa There’s a Riot Going On, the intelligent but degenerate (good combo, that) Alex Chilton, white Hendrix Randy California, David Cassidy at his pretty peak, the Cheap Trick sex gods, Alan Rankine of Associates when he looked like Rudolph Valentino and Liam Gallagher’s lovechild, the surreally cute Nick Heyward, Michael Jackson just when he went all mutant-extraterrestrial on our ass circa 1984, and Wayne Coyne before he morphed from clean-cut cosmic boy to mature grey-beard.
See, a lot of male musicians have a Beauty Moment, while others sustain it over the distance. Bernard Sumner kept up his adorable lad-naif thing for over a decade. Keef looked better the more drugged-out he got, although there was a turning point when iconic debauchery gave way to dishevelled chic then simply to decrepit. There are categories of shaggability, from northern bit of rough (hi, Ian and Liam) to studio brainiac (Eno, say – come on, Eno in the mid-70s was a fox!). Certain styles give me the horn: the baggy shorts and shaved barnets ensemble of the postpunk/white funk brigade always did it for me.