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Jan24 Bonnie Greer on Madonna


asimina

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Bonnie Greer can’t recall all of her fellow clubbers from the days when she frequented New York’s hottest nightspots but one girl in particular, three decades on, stands out. She had dark hair, wore a tight stripy tube dress and, alone, would dance to records that she gave the DJ to play. Afterwards, rather than retiring to her bed, she would sometimes sleep in a music producer’s office. Her name was Madonna and she was, says Greer, “a hick”.

“She was from Lansing or wherever [she's actually from Michigan's Rochester Hills], which is like being from, I don’t know… Dorset.” The playwright, by and large a softly spoken presence, howls with laughter and takes a sip of juice. “She was very aggressive, like ‘I’m going to be a star,’ and we just thought [she rolls her eyes], ‘Who is this ***CENSORED***? You ain’t going nowhere, girl.’” Then three years later, in 1984, at the inaugural MTV awards, Greer noticed that the singer writhing around on stage was the club aficionado from the sticks. “She was singing Like a Virgin and got her bridal dress caught in the microphone lead. At the end we were like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding.’ But Bette Midler, who was hosting, said: ‘Trust me, that girl’s going to go far.’” Impassive, Greer stirs her drink and swaps quips with the barman. “And we all thought she was taking the piss.”

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