Tonawanda News


May 3, 2013

ADAMCZYK: The sort of thing that used to be illegal

Tonawanda News — Like many of my age and speed, I browse the newspaper obituaries on a regular basis. No, not to see if I’m listed — when I die I’m confident I’ll be the first to know — but to learn if anyone who’s influenced me — friends, enemies, celebrities, authors — has gone on, and it’s a chance to ponder what that person and I shared and what it meant.

Hidden in the news stories of the busy past several weeks was word Christina Amphlett had died, at age 53, of breast cancer and multiple sclerosis.

If you don’t know the name you may remember the MTV video, if the year was 1991 and you were male and with a pulse. Amphlett’s claim to fame was her involvement as lead singer of an Australian band, the Divinyls, whose hit “I Touch Myself” was, well, memorable.

“I Touch Myself” was about exactly what the title implied, and something of a love song as well (“I don’t want anybody else, when I think of you I touch myself”). The video was typical of the 1990s and featured attractive young women in poses and lingerie similar to the advertisements Victoria’s Secret offers these days, including Ms. Amphlett, who looked spectacular. And memorable, but I already mentioned that.

In 1991 the record and video caused more of a smirk than a scandal; radio stations whose format accommodated it were accustomed to music which pushed buttons as well as the envelope, and “I Touch Myself” remains something of a lightweight, sexy time capsule of a song (the chords of the song are interesting, though, and I urge any guitar player to try playing it).

So, in honor of the late, great Chrissy Amphlett I went to YouTube, the world’s jukebox, and found it, and there she was, in leather boots and lacy underthings, and so were her friends, explaining in song what she does when she thinks of me and I’m not around. She provides G-rated soft-core porn, evidently.

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