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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Strube

Glam is Your Birthright

Never would I ever be caught dead in a Hard Rock Cafe.

Except when I’m in Hong Kong.

It’s different here. Honestly. Back in America, the 80’s are dead but musically in Asia, the 80’s are in fuller stereo than the suped up Chevys from my high school’s home town, spoilers and all. Which means that the live bands actually resemble Guns and Roses when the lyrics pant out the corners of their lips and, if Steven Tyler hadn’t been recently promoted to a judge on American Idol, I would dare say these Filipino singers are bringing back glam rock hair.

Speaking of glam rock, I wonder why no one has ever put together a medley of these heart wrenching ballads. It would really make a great breakup and follow your dreams anthem:

You look wonderful tonight, but nothing lasts forever in the cold November Rain. So if you wanna leave, take good care, I hope you make a lot of nice friends out there. Ooh Baby, it’s a wild world. But don’t stop believing. Hold on to your dreams, yeah, yeah. There’s a fire in your heart, a pounding in your brain driving me crazy, but we don’t need to talk about it anymore. Can you take me high enough? Because I’m free, free falling. She was a good girl, crazy about Elvis, loved horses and America too. But that black velvet —  it made a little boy smile, black velvet in that slow Southern Style. A new religion that will bring her to his knees… She was simply the best, better than all the rest. Better than anyone (sing it Tina). So May God bless and keep her always, may her wishes all come true, may she stay: forever young.

Come on, we all love Rod.

And I’m in love with this Filipino cover band here at Hard Rock.

Being forever young is part of the allure of foreign travel. As is free form karaoke, where you truly inhale all that INXS has to offer through the pumping beat of the electric green bass guitar. As is embracing the truth of my heart:

I am a 80’s ballad freak. A glutton for bad decade cover bands. Pretty much everywhere I go.

Anyone who tells you they travel to find themselves is lying — even if I wrote it in a past blog. No, people travel to sing the hidden songs in their souls. Because perhaps in their homeland, their tunes sound flat. Maybe their singing makes the flowers wilt. No one really likes a girl who walks around singing trashy 80’s love ballads, but in Hong Kong, I just may be recruited to join Journey’s next tour. And since I can’t seem to sequester a work visa for China, I should at least match my tourist status and hit up Hard Rock Cafe. Voila — I am now one with the overpriced expats, my long beach blown hair matching the lead singer of the cover band… who is wearing fringed yoga pants. 

This is the seduction of foreign countries — the illustrious opportunity of reinvention that comes with every border crossing.

Or maybe it’s not reinvention. Maybe it’s the passport stamp of my own skin being allowed to show its true colors. I see your true colors shining through… thank you Kodak and now, quick segway into the next decade of Coldplay’s Yellow. We could add that to the Medley. I drew a line for you. I swam across for you, but you were all yellow. Because nothing lasts forever — again — in the cold November Rain… Leave it to a band named Guns and Roses to kill the hope of immortal love. Duh. It’s built into the branding. 

“Here’s some flowers hunny, right before I murder your heart with my weapon. Take your roses, but I’ll keep me my gun.”

Poetry. Sheer poetry.

Okay, back to reinvention. People do weird things in foreign countries, but maybe those anomalies aren’t weird at all. Maybe i’ts not reinvention but acceptance. Maybe they are just being themselves. And maybe that freedom is more portable than iphones, which once unlocked, are connected to the Source for free, from any location, from Hong Kong all the way to my homeland.

(Not that I illegally unlocked an iPhone. I had a friend do that, of course.) 

The strong among us don’t need foreign lands to embrace glam rock. They drink. Or roll down their car windows. Or do whatever it takes to free up inhibitions. I’m becoming that strong. I’m a real tough cookie with a long history of breaking little hearts. So come on America — I may be coming home soon for good between all the visa mishaps — so hit with your best shot. Fire away.

And I promise to keep on singing.

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