Alison: I’m delighted to introduce you all to the beautiful Jewels, AKA Julie Anne Rhodes, who is my soul sistah from another band. Talented, brave and gorgeous, she is gracing my blog today in lieu of feeding me cake and coffee as she usually does at Christmas when I visit Los Angeles. It took the ex wives club to get Duran Duran and Culture Club on the same page after 30 years, but here is Jewels with the story of how we reconnected, along with her own Christmas memories.
Julie Anne: Hello enemy camp! Well, that’s how Alison describes the relationship between Culture Club and Duran Duran back in the day. I remember the odd bitchy comment in the press but I certainly never felt that way. While we only met a few times in passing, I was always quite fond of Alison and Roy.
Fast forward 25 years and a mutual friend urged me to read a searing commentary on fame (now the Moth to a Flame chapter in her book) that Alison had penned on Facebook. I sent her a friend request that night and was blown away by how eloquently and accurately her words described a phenomenon I still can’t fully fathom, let alone describe. What caught us both off guard was how parallel our lives have been for past few decades. Both now exes of keyboard players, both long distance mothers, both writers – she is my twin sister born into a different band. How did we function without each other all these years?
That cyber reunion cemented a fast and fabulous friendship. For the past couple years we’ve managed a face to face reunion at Christmas time when she’d come to LA. Alas, she’s not coming this year so we decided to exchange Christmas blog posts instead.
My fondest memories of Christmas as a child were of visiting my maternal grandparents in Kansas City. I couldn’t wait to see the fairytale wonderland of Spanish buildings on the plaza all intricately detailed in lights. My Auntie Vera and I would make cookies for Santa, who by the way liked a shot of Dewers in his milk, and put carrots out for the reindeer. I was then tucked into bed, and threatened that if Santa caught me awake – he wouldn’t leave a present for a naughty girl. I would race down those stairs at the crack of dawn to see if Santa had indeed enjoyed his treat. There would be a few crumbs left on the plate, an empty milk glass, and most exciting of all – the chewed up ends of the carrots!
Christmas in England was equally magical. It was always spent, no matter where in the world we were touring previously, back in England at Nick’s parents place in the countryside with a gaggle of aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents. I would inevitably be stuffed to the gills from the huge roast beef with Yorkshire pudding dinner my mother-in-law would make, yet I still managed to cram Cadbury’s chocolate in my mouth nonstop while watching the Queen’s speech in front of the fire. What? It was the one of two days per year I allowed myself to pig out (the other being my birthday), and dag nappit I was going to make the most of it.
To this day I am a big overgrown kid when it comes round to this time of year, although I was going through a mini melt down two years ago. I had just been diagnosed with a congenital birth defect that required open-heart surgery. Vain creature that I am, the scar concerned me much more than the threat of impending doom. I might as well have a neon sign emblazoned across my chest screaming, “past her sell by date,” I lamented. Only Alison, with her typical extraordinary wit and wisdom, could turn my gargantuan pity party into howls of laughter with, “well, you can’t hide it so you might as well flaunt it – tit bling, that’s what you need!” A few weeks later she showed up on my doorstep with the solution – a bevvy of stick on gems for my cleavage. What better Christmas present could a girl ask for? Especially one called Jewels.
Alison: You can see my blog for Julie Anne here: http://julieannerhodes.com/2011/12/orange-you-glad-its-the-holidays.html and also buy her newly released book Party Accomplished, browse her blogs and sign up for her brilliant Personal Chef Approach™.
Pink Prose the book at http://www.alisonlouisehay.com