blondes have more fun
Debbie Harry celebrates 40 years, with no regrets. BY marcel anders
she was a secretary, a go-go dancer and a Playboy Bunny before becoming one of the most influential pop stars of the 20th century. Now, at 69, Deborah Ann Harry is celebrating the 40th anniversary of her band Blondie, which has sold some 40 million albums. And her career is far from over. Today, at an über-chic hotel in Berlin, the woman who once called herself “Dirty Harry” is wearing a sleek black suit, a white tee, sneakers and sunglasses. She is still the coolest. With a new album, Ghosts of Download, and a world tour rolling out, Harry sat down with ELLE Canada to talk about film, fashion and music.
Does Ghosts of Download refer to pop music being extremely disposable these days? To music being a file that is gone like a ghost once it’s deleted? “That’s a very interesting point of view. Everyone we’ve talked to has a different idea of what that means. But it’s something about the spirit that’s in the electricity.... [With this album], the writers did all of their work on a computer, and then we would send files to people and they would play to it or sing to it or write to it or whatever.” Do you still go to clubs a lot? “I do, actually. Last week I was at Up & Down, which is a new club on West 14th Street [in New York City]. That was a lot of fun. I have a lot of friends who are DJs. I love to dance.” What made you turn down performing at the Olympics in Sochi? Was it because of Putin’s homophobia? “Yeah.
It’s pretty awful. We had just done a show for Amnesty International, so it was appropriate [to decline].” How do you feel about being called a punk icon? “We didn’t play punk music strictly—we always did a mixture. But punk was more of a signature about a sensibility and an attitude. So, in that sense we were very punk.” Rumour has it you’ve had quite a few affairs with females over the years. What’s better: making love to a man or a woman? “Well, let’s say women are more sensual.” [Laughs] Why didn’t you ever settle down? “It just didn’t work out that way. I didn’t think I would be particularly good at it. It seemed very frightening; it didn’t seem natural to me.”
What was it like wearing a Playboy Bunny costume?
“The girls there were part of the entertainment, the mystique, the excitement, the naughtiness. But on the inside of that job, the girls were treated very well. There were a lot of benefits: health benefits, job security, good salary. It was a sought-after job.” So it wasn’t degrading to women? It was one of the main targets of the feminist movement in the late ’60s. “[The Playboy team] were careful in their selection and wanted pretty girls. So I think the feminist movement was concerned with the fact that a lot of women would not be able to have that job. But it wasn’t like you were given four years and kicked out because you were getting old. Some women were there for a long time.” How will you celebrate your 70th birthday? “Oh, gosh, I hope I have a really good party!”