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Confession: I still love Billy Idol, beef jerky skin and all

Sure, the rebel-yelling rocker known for dancing with himself has aged, but so have I. That doesn’t mean my Idol-worship for the snarling, peroxide-blond bad boy has diminished over the decades. In fact, Billy Idol’s flesh still fuels many a fantasy, even if that flesh is wrinkled, mangled and worn.

If you remember the early days of MTV, like I do, you no doubt have images from the music video for Billy Idol’s “White Wedding” imprinted on your brain: leather-clad chicks, Billy on a motorcycle crashing through a stained glass window and one very unholy wedding.

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It was this sexy yet dangerous music video that sent me on a perilous path to seek out boys in punk bands, clad in leather jackets, Doc Martens and black eyeliner.

Oh, the eyeliner.

Hot guys sporting black Maybelline smudges from makeup pencils they stole from their mothers has to be one of my favorite things from my teenage years. That and Ms. Pacman.

Billy Idol

Photo credit: Michael Carpenter/

So it’s no surprise that when I found out Mr. Idol had recently written an autobiography, aptly titled Dancing With Myself, I was ecstatic. I couldn’t wait to get my very own digital copy. But before I could download the book onto my iPad, I found out Billy would be signing actual hardcover books at one of the three bookstores left in Los Angeles, and I was suddenly cool with going old-school.

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Last Saturday, at 4 p.m., I joined a queue that was four city blocks long to get the rocker’s John Hancock on the inside of his book. My book, actually, now that I had plopped down the $32 at the Book Soup counter. You had to buy the book from the store in order to get the autograph.

I waited for about an hour in line, but it moved quickly, like a well-oiled Harley-Davidson. They wouldn’t let you take pictures with Billy or ask him to personalize the autograph. For spending $32 on a paginated dinosaur made from trees (gasp!), I thought I at least deserved to get a selfie with the musician-turned-author. The best I could do was sneak a few photos of him when I got close to my lifelong love. Sadly, the photos came out blurry.

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When I was finally in front of him, I handed his assistant my book, and she opened it for him to sign. I said, “Thank you, Billy,” as if he was my barista at the Starbucks down the street.

Billy Idol looked up at me, stared me dead in the eye, smiled and said, “Cheers.”

No snarl. No spit. Just a friendly “Cheers.” It was so sweet, my heart melted.

Yes, the rocker’s skin was leathery and wrinkled, his face had deep fissures that made me want to administer moisturizer stat, but he was still sexy in his black clothing and silver jewelry. I couldn’t help but fantasize about taking a ride on the back of his motorcycle, my arms around his waist with my hands snug in the pockets of his leather jacket.


Thank you, Billy Idol, for making great music, sticking around and staying so darn cool all these years.

Dancing With Myself by Billy Idol is available at bookstores and online.

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