My View

Julie Moore: Honky tonk woman

March 21, 2014 

So I’ve told you a few of my secrets … about my messy house, my crush on Santa, my sketchy past where food’s concerned, my disdain for the Pinewood Derby.

Well, here’s a real beauty of a true confession: I always wanted to be a rock star.

Not just a flowery female singer, but someone edgy and rockerish … like Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders … or a female version of Jack White. I know, hilarious, right?

You will not find a more unlikely rock star. Rock stars are so cool – they look cool, they pose and swagger, they wear great clothes ... and people scream for them! You can look at the photo up at the top of this column to see that I don't look or behave anything like a rock star … In all my chubby, bespectacled, short, nerdiness … I look exactly like the middle-aged mom that I am.

Of course, “chubby, bespectacled, short, nerdy-looking” also describes Elton John, who was my childhood idol. His ordinary looks were real proof that you don’t have to look and swagger like Mick Jagger to be a rock star. Unlike Elton, though, I have no talent whatsoever. 

I actually took piano lessons for several years. I spent hours in the basement of our family house pounding out Beatles and Elton John songs on our out-of-tune piano. I was never that good, though. Adequate, but not ... gifted or anything. My singing, also, is ... um... well, it sounds OK to me, but... what's the opposite of “affirmation?” Whatever it is, that’s what I have received from other people regarding my singing – all my life.

I do LOVE to sing, and am pretty good at picking out harmonies, but ... no one really wants to hear it. Even my child would rather not hear me sing. Ever since he was small he would yell out, "No singing!" whenever I attempted a few bars.

Obviously, serious musicianship is not required for being a rock star, but I also lacked the necessary confidence and determination – not to mention charisma. Back in the Eighties in Chapel Hill, lots of my friends actually worked really hard, formed bands, wrote songs, made records, performed live and toured. My own little brother had a band!

But I, being kind of shy, just hovered in the corners looking on. The closest I ever got to my improbable dream was dating a guy in a band. And I'm not going to lie to you – it was reeeeally cool. I mean, seeing the band live, traveling with them occasionally, meeting other bands, being referred to as his girlfriend, wearing the stylin' rock-star girlfriend clothes ... that part was awesome.

The other parts – dating a person of questionable maturity, an artistic temperament and a not-quite-enough-to-support-himself-and-his-dream income ... not so awesome.

But instructive, nonetheless.

My true role in rock and roll, I have accepted, lies in being a fan. Admiration from afar. Like Penny Lane and William Miller in the fantastic movie “Almost Famous,” I'm just here to say, “It's all happening!” And instead of being or marrying a rock star (not that one would have me, of course), I married someone just like me – a fan. And we have a fantastic time holding hands and following the music.

Chapel Hill is a perfect town for pursuit. With plenty of live music venues and recording facilities, our scene continues to be lush and fruitful. And you can’t swing a dead cat (not that you would, of course) without hitting a musician in this town. Your neighbor, or your mailman, or the gal you’re sitting across from at Open Eye is probably a musician. If, like Penny Lane, you get lonely and want to go to the record store to visit your musician friends … you can. Because they might actually be there. In the flesh. Thumbing through the used vinyl.

Anyway, I’ve probably made you snort what you’re drinking through your nose with my unlikely confession. It makes ME laugh too, to think of myself as a shy 12-year-old girl in knee socks and groovy fashions purchased at Oxford’s “Tot’N Teen” store, dreaming of strutting the stage like Mick Jagger. And it makes me grin to think of living in a town where you can actually befriend the music.

You can reach Julie Moore at sweetwilliamdesign@earthlink.net

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