Marlene on the Wall

“The only soldier now is me, I’m fighting things I cannot see

It makes me happy that Suzanne Vega pays tribute to Marlene Dietrich, the original ice queen, whose take-no-prisoners-and-give-no-fucks spirit has been a guiding light for so many of us. Vega, a woman of modest style and a poet of gentle rumination, might seem like an unlikely acolyte of the glamorous femme fatale. Dietrich was the face of dangerous, decadent glamour; she ate men for breakfast and women for dinner. She was also self-created, independent, and incredibly brave – those are virtues that have nothing to do with the external business of being glamorous. Emulating Dietrich isn’t about how you draw your eyebrows; it’s about being strong and walking out of every battle scarred but alive. What I think Vega is really doing is paying tribute to the importance of having a role model, some image to look up to as you go about finding your own ways of surviving your battles. The lovers will come and go, just soldiers on the battlefield of your life, but the ice queen will always be there, watching.


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