I saw somewhere on the internets that today is Jane Wiedlin's birthday. I've always liked Jane Wiedlin's work. She co-wrote "Our Lips are Sealed" as well as most of the Go-Go's best songs and had a couple of cool non Go-Go's songs as well. She's a gifted pop songwriter. She was an animal rights advocate long before it was cool, she played Joan of Arc in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, and she voices one of the Hex Girls in Scooby Doo and the Witch's Ghost (best of the latter-day Scooby Doo movies, in that it features the line, "do my bidding, bird!" right before the giant turkey runs amok).
In short, I've admired Jane Wiedlin both professionally and personally for a long time, so I'd like to wish her a happy birthday.
I recently read something about Jane Wieldin somewhere on the internet saying that she was bascially holding the Go-Go's together during the making of Talk Show, while many of the other band members were too drugged out to contribute fully. I have no idea if that's true or not, but it's a cool segue to the other woman whose birthday I'd like to write about: my mother, Peg Halpin, who held our family together after my dad's death.
Now, admittedly, I was doing way less drugs than Belinda Carlisle at the time--I was nine--but when our world fell apart, my mother managed to provide a sense of stability and continuity for me, even though she was probably not feeling it herself.
We spent a lot of years broke, but I never felt poor, which was a pretty significant achievement on her part. We always went to the movies and got takeout Mexican food from Taco Casa, but, more importantly, my mother kept alive the idea that anything was possible for me. I know now that this sense of limitless possibility is really what separates being broke from being poor. It's a tremendous gift that I took for granted for too many years. So much of what I've become as an adult is due to the fact that I've believed since I was a kid that I could be whatever I wanted. And this came from my mom.
As did my love of theater (she and my dad met in a play and continued to be involved with the theater throughout my childhood), my appreciation for the power of writing (she was Mount Lookout's Poet Laureate one year! True!), and my inability to keep my mouth shut when things are screwed up. (This comes straight from her. It's gotten us both in trouble a lot, and I really wouldn't have it any other way.)
My mom's influence on my life is profound and incalculable. I don't think I'd be a writer or a teacher or a loudmouth without her influence. And, of course, without her, I wouldn't be alive at all. So happy birthday to Peg Halpin: as you always say on people's birthdays, I'm glad you were born.
Here's Jane Wiedlin with Sparks, doing "Cool Places" because everybody should have a celebratory pop song played on their birthday: