Chrissie Amphlett

Sleeping Beauty

“I’ll get over it - I’ve got songs to sing, I’ve got stages to perform on. I’m a keep-on-going sort of girl... It’s shit and it’s unfair, but life is not fair - even rock stars get breast cancer. But there’ve been many girls before me who have dealt with it successfully. It’s easy to feel sorry for me but I feel sorry for people who are suffering it alone.”

— Christina Amphlett, October 25, 1959 - April 22, 2013

I remember the first time I saw The Divinyls - or to be precise, the first time I saw Chrissie Amphlett. It was 1982, and 'Boys In Town' had come out on the album Monkey Grip. They were on Countdown, and Chrissie was - well, Chrissie was Chrissie.

And I was eleven years old. I didn't understand most of the song - and I sure as hell didn't understand Chrissie Amphlett.

That didn't mean I immediately didn't want to be like her.

And as I got older, and the songs kept coming, and Chrissie kept being Chrissie, secretly I wanted to be the one strutting on that stage, being the object of desire, eyes rimmed with kohl, bed hair from hell (or maybe heaven), skirt rucked up to nowhere, and letting everyone know just how naughty I was.

Even if I wasn't.

And her voice... that I would happily have given my left arm and probably several other body parts as well for. Because it's hard to be a very high soprano and sing 'I Touch Myself' with any degree of true sex appeal.

I was lucky enough to see Christina A in The Boy From Oz and she was magnificent. Intense, and brooding, and funny - she almost - almost, Hugh Jackman - stole the show. It must have been on the cusp of her diagnosis with MS, and I wish I had known, because I was misdiagnosed with MS before finally being correctly diagnosed with Early Onset Parky, and was desperately seeking someone who was cool to show me a way to see the positive in the disease. Annette Funicello (and in this I was mistaken) just wasn't cutting it. But Chrissie? Well, she would have - and did - inspire.

For a woman of such vitality and vigour to have to deal with both MS and then breast cancer seems like the cruellest of blows. To be unable to have the maximum treatment options for the latter because of the former - even crueller. But I get the feeling that expressing pity of any sort would have been met with politeness and kindness, but also a quiet scorn. Because this was a woman who knew what it was to live, and love, and love life and blaze like a meteor - and was lucky enough to have someone love her back and be there til the end.

I may be being presumptuous but I like to think that she would consider that a life well lived.

Too much too young?

Too young - absolutely.

Too much? Hell no. Not nearly enough. If there is a fine line between pleasure and pain, then she was the mistress of walking said line exquisitely and with ease. And of making every girl - or woman - in Australia - want to unleash their inner Amphlett.

And of making every man hope and pray that they would.

I hope that her meteor continues to blaze across the heavens, because I can think of no better place than the Milky Way for this wonder woman - because after all, what was she?

A star.

Rock on.