A ticket to see Fleetwood Mac is one of the hottest properties of the summer social calendar, and Stevie Nicks is boho pin-up queen of the moment. Here’s why Tina Jackson loves her.
The anti-cool dresser
In Snick’s world, more is more. If it’s naff and twee and looks as if it might adorn a toilet roll cover, chances are Stevie has worn it and then accessorised it. Handkerchief skirts. Angel sleeves. Trumpet sleeves. Corsets. Lace gloves. Capes. Shawls. Mushroom-cloud perm. Frosted eyeshadow. Lipgloss. Velvet. Platform boots. All these things at once. With a top hat. And she’s barely taller than five feet. By rights she should look like a garden gnome in the fallout of an explosion in a goth shop. But she rocks it. She totally owns her look and if there’s one sartorial thing that deserves respect, it’s knowing what suits you and sticking to it. Since 1975.
Sounds frightfully fey, doesn’t it? Strong women don’t skip, or twirl – do they? This one does. Look at her face as she spins – sometimes there’s an expression of sheer joy on her face, other times utter determination. Stevie twirls like some people stomp. She twirls with attitude. In spike-heeled platforms. She spots too, which shows how much she means business.
The heroic levels of hedonism
Feminism is about equality even in debauchery, and at the time when Fleetwood Mac were as famously off their faces as their music was off the planet, this tiny, fragrant woman who looks like a fairy could have gone neck and neck with the likes of legendary drug hoovers Iggy Pop and Keith Richards. As rock’n’roll excess goes, it doesn’t get more jaw-dropping than the urban myth (which she denies) about someone being paid to blow Bolivian marching powder up her bum. When men recount this story, it is generally in a tone that suggests ‘and I wish I’d had that job’ rather than ‘ewww’.
The comedown queen
You know that ineffably sad moment when last night’s bright glitter fades into dust motes drifting through the dawn? Stevie knows that feeling too, inside out, and she makes after-hours regret sound as epically complicated and emotional and romantic as we all know it can be. Listen to Sara on Tusk: “And now it’s gone / It doesn’t matter any more.” Stevie might be singing about men, or lost children, or forgiveness of friends, or all of them, but it’s complex, subtle, loving and hauntingly beautiful.
“I think every band should have a girl in it, because it’s always going to make for cooler stuff going on than if it’s just a bunch of guys,” Stevie told Jim Irvin in this month’s Mojo magazine. Like a boho Dolly Parton, steel butterfly Stevie has lived by this her entire career, going her own ambitious way on her own terms in the sexist world of rock without a ruffle out of place. If it hadn’t been for Stevie and Christine McVie, Fleetwood Mac post-Peter Green would have been just another 1970s blues band. Instead, they are a rock’n’roll legend. And what about Stevie’s influence? Without her otherworldly voice, her trademark witchy image and her uncanny ability to wrap dark layered lyrics in sugar coatings of blissed-out melody, there might have been no Kate Bush, no Tori Amos, no Goldfrapp, no Bat For Lashes, no Florence and the Machine.
Stevie has messed up spectacularly with addictions to cocaine and Klonopin and pulled herself through it. There have been flamboyant romantic entanglements and dramatic fallouts but she’s come out of them gracefully. Under the ethereal charisma there’s a tough survivor, and we salute her for that.
The girl’s girl
Men love her and she loves men, but Stevie Nicks is on the side of the girls. Her songs put into words the things that keep girls awake at night. She’s a firm friend: she and Christine McVie formed a solid unit in the romantic chaos that was Fleetwood Mac in its original 1970s glory days. She supports other female musicians. She is far more funny and frank and forthright than her fragile fairy persona might suggest. Stevie is, in fact, one helluva girl.
*Shimmies into floaty frock, clambers onto platforms, rounds up best mate and heads off for stadium gig with FMac ticket clutched in sweaty fist…*6509 Views
Tina Jackson is a Leeds-based writer and journalist with a parallel existence as a dancer and variety performer.