Rock ’n’ roll girl figures burning out is much, much better than just fading away.
Long before she was fronting the international rock sensation Anaconda, Lee Annis was a young wife stuck in Vegas, married to a gun-collecting doctor, with a newborn she barely acknowledged. Of course, nobody knows that, though some media wags have posited that the color of her nipples, which can be seen quite clearly on an album cover, prove that she had once had a child. Nowadays, Lee does what she can as a member of the international rock-star jet set to burn out the memory of that existence, along with a windswept, hazily described Montana childhood. Never one for leaving things alone, Lee sleeps with and then tortures herself thinking about what-could-have-been with bandmate Billy, who’s actually with another bandmate, Alessia, but decides eventually to marry a third girl. So, after a brief interlude that gives some unresolved background on the whole Vegas/child thing, Lee spends a good many pages mooning about London and Los Angeles, thinking about Billy and the band’s imminent demise, and being generally, fabulously, self-destructive. Although binging on random, greedy sex, she knows it has to end, and soon: “This cock-to-mouth existence is doing me in.” But Lee is compulsive, if nothing else, stuck in Möbius strip loop of rage, sex, and desire for an unattainable peaceful existence (which, if she was ever given, she’d most likely toss over in a second). The only things sustaining her are the “analgesics of sex and drugs and shopping” and the near-volcanic upwellings of heartache that keep propelling her forward into the void. Irish second-novelist Collins (Cannibals, 2003) lets Lee tell her story in all its dark star fury, just swan-diving into her mangled psyche and not trying to shoehorn it into the typical rise-and-decline rock-star/addict narrative.
A spiky story replete with decadence and yet told with an undeniable, unshakable grace.