I stumbled upon this old clip from Grace Jones's 1986 appearance on Letterman. I've been meaning to post it, but there's nothing I really can add. This is what "The 80s" looks like in my mind, had my 80s reality not been about birthday parties at Happy Joes or summers spent eating hotdogs on white bread. My 80s was generally un-fabulous.
I'm not sure if this was my first glimpse of Grace Jones. I stayed up late a lot as a kid, watching TV shows I shouldn't have been (*cough* Benny Hill *cough*), so it's definitely possible I saw this when it aired. I was fascinated, but definitely a little intimidated by her. In his book, The Sex Revolts, Simon Reynolds says, "So much of Jones's aesthetic seems bound up with the eroticisation of alienation: witness the fetishistic sex of "Warm Leatherette," her version of the Daniel Miller song inspired by J.G. Ballard's ideas about the eroticism of car crashes, or the disconnected femme fatale of "Private Life," (written by Chrissie Hynde) who scorns a man for his wimpy attachment of intimacy, and boasts 'I'm very superficial.''"
But as a kid barely into her teens, all that would have been over my head. I think what it show me was a tougher, cooler version of femininity, or a marrying of the two. It was a dangerous idea for kid growing up in a blah Midwestern burb, and I loved it.