Parallel Lines by Vogue Contributing Editor, Writer, and Brand Advisor Sarah Brown
"In the early eighties, after my parents separated, my mother went out and bought a new stereo system and a pile of Blondie records. Parallel Lines blared in the living room constantly and we would dance around barefoot, singing all the words. Even as a seven-year-old I understood that, for my mom, this music meant liberation. Strutting around the house, singing at the top of her lungs, doing things her way.
I studied the liner notes and attempted to discern which one of the guys in the band was Blondie’s boyfriend. I tried to figure out what all of the lyrics meant (“Fade Away and Radiate,” “Just Go Away,” “I Know But I Don’t Know”… in retrospect, quite à propos anthems for an almost divorcée). I considered at length how to tie a white ribbon around my upper arm just like Debbie Harry wore on the album cover. Who was cooler than her—standing there defiant, hands on hips, in front of all those guys in black suits, like she ran the world?
That scratched, probably warped record disappeared long ago. I bought my own copy, this CD, after college, and even though I haven’t played it in years—I think my CD player has broken, from neglect—I’ve saved it as a relic from another time because, to me, it has also come to symbolize freedom, confidence, and adulthood.
I was seated at a table with Debbie Harry at a black tie dinner a few years ago and by the time dessert came I mustered the courage to tell her the
part she played not only in my mom’s Chapter Two, but how, as a kid, she represented so much of the kind of woman I hoped to become. She did not seem particularly moved—I’m sure she’s heard it all before—which was sort of crushing, but I’m still glad I told her. Now I think I’ll run over to my mom’s house, and we’ll crank up “One Way or Another”—on iTunes."