The One Where Belinda Carlisle Spat On Me

As a teenager my first serious crush was the 80’s pop singer, Belinda Carlisle. And by crush I mean obsession. She occupied every waking moment of my day. My bedroom was plastered in posters of her. ‘Heaven Is A Place On Earth’, her massive hit, was played on a constant loop. 

I swooned and daydreamed over her videos and dreamt of a day when I would enter her life, effortlessly capture her heart and live happily ever after in the Hollywood Hills. The fact that she was already married to a millionaire film producer was a mere detail. This from a teenager who, if a girl had spoken to him then, would have clammed up, broken into a cold sweat and bolted to be sick in the nearest toilet. 


The one and only time I ran away from home was when my parents would not allow me to go to a Belinda Carlisle concert in England. I made it as far as the town limits on foot before my father pulled alongside me, told me to stop behaving like a spoilt child and get in the car. I got in the car without a whimper.

Tbe next year tbe crush (read unhealthy fascination) was still raging when she announced she would be playing Belfast on her upcoming tour. No doubt weary of a repeat of the previous year’s histrionics my mother and father agreed to drive my sister, my best friend at the time and me to the venue, some seventy miles away. I was finally going to meet the love of my life.

The next few months dragged as I awaited the fateful day. When it arrived I was chauffeured to the venue, a bundle of excitement and nerves. We pushed our way up to the front and awaited her arrival. When she did I was gobsmacked as my brain struggled to process the fact that my idol was right there in front of me in tbe flesh. Heaven indeed was a place on earth called the King’s Hall, Belfast.

The next ninety minutes passed into a blur. When she sang she was singing to me. When she looked into the 7000 fans she was looking at me. At one point I was so close I was convinced that a sliver of saliva left her mouth whilst she was singing and struck my outstretched arm. I would never wash that arm again. It was a covenant of my unending love for her. A holy relic.

For months afterwards I lived in her tour t-shirt and endlessly replayed concert memories in my mind. But as the year passed and I left home and started at university the light in my heart for her dimmed a little, day by day. I adopted new heroes such as Kurt Cobain (RIP) and Eric Cantona, the Manchester United legend.

The posters began to come down to be replaced by posters of Nirvana, Metallica and later, Oasis. I listened to her music less and less. It was unimaginable for a metal/rock fanatic like myself to be caught listening to 80’s sugary pop. I even started talking to real girls. Usually with disastrous results but, hey, I was trying.

All these years later I still have a fondness for all things Belinda. When I hear her songs on the radio I think good thoughts and relive happy memories. Bar the leaving home episode. It was a harmless teenage crush. I imagine we all have been there. She was my goddess. My idol. My obsession. I was addicted to her. 

As I progressed through my adult years other less harmless idols and obsessions emerged. Alcohol, social media, unhealthy and inappropriate relationships. They all sought and failed to fill the gaping void in my soul. The need to fill it overwhelmed the little common sense I had. I knew what I was doing was wrong. I knew it was hurting my loved ones. I tried a million times to stop. But I couldn’t. Not on my own.

When I became a Christian four years ago I handed that all over to God. I had already stopped drinking and taken up running. I stopped swearing literally overnight. But I won’t lie and say it has all been a walk in the park. I have still struggled. I have still succumbed to temptation and messed up. I have still needed to go back to basics over and over. But I am getting there. Slowly.

My tastes have not changed that much. I still love heavy rock music and Manchester United. But I have new idols now. Biblical ones like Abraham, Moses, David and Peter. All deeply flawed individuals who were used by God to change the face of human history. All paving the way for the ultimate superhero. Jesus Christ. Who I aim to serve in anyway I can. 

Thanks to him I am seeking to create my own little piece of heaven on earth.

Mark 1:16-18 – ‘As He was going along by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew, the brother of Simon, casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.’

Who was your teenage crush?

What was your first concert?

How are you creating heaven on earth within your own sphere of influence?

33 thoughts on “The One Where Belinda Carlisle Spat On Me

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  1. My first concert Def Leppard, and White Snake opened for them. Ahhhh the memories 🙂 I don’t know that I have created it but I try to just keep it simple. Love God, and love everybody else, have an unwavering belief in Jesus, and I feel God takes care of the rest. My life has improved immensely and become so much easier. God Bless you 🙂

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  2. Julian Lennon for both. I had posters EVERYWHERE and singlehandedly wore out several of his tapes by constantly listening and rewinding. My mother and step father took me to his concert and I just stood there, enchanted. To this day, my cousin will make some sort of crack like “oh, you’re coming over for dinner? Let me break out the Julian Lennon tunes!” 😄

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  3. This is such a great post!! Like you, I had a conversion of my soul after a church conversion retreat and I realise the horrible lifestyle I had and its influences, but yes I still do struggle from time to time. Old habits die hard!

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  4. I agree with Faith L! I loved this post. Scrolling down the mess of everything in my reader this particular one stood out. I’ve actually never really been THAT much of a fan as you have, tbh, although I was obsessed with Scarlett Johansson and James Nesbitt. And all things Irish. Still, it doesn’t fill the void in the soul!

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  5. River Phoenix. It was all River all the time. He was the only celebrity I ever put up posters for. He was the one. One day, I would meet him, and he would see me and just KNOW. Ha ha.

    He died of a drug overdose in the street instead of marrying me and living happily ever after, but the lessons I learned ran along the lines of your post here. I stayed away from drugs in large part because of River Phoenix’s death and the drug/alcohol-related deaths of other celebrity idols. Phoenix’s death also had the sobering and healthy effect of removing that patina of perfection we all envy in celebrity lives. I never idolized a celebrity the same way after that.

    My road to faith was a very long and obstinate one, but I married a man worth giving my thoughts to, I find peace in knowing that God has bigger plans for us than concerts or movies or money or drug-addled destruction. Life is good. God is good.

    Having our idols pulled down is a mandatory part of growing up.

    I loved this one. You made me smile.

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  6. My pastor down home, a couple weeks ago, in a sermon said, “How great is our God when He releases us from sin immediately.” Meaning, he was an alcoholic before becoming a pastor, and truly starting a relationship with Christ. When he gave it to God, the desire, everything related to alcohol was immediately gone. And that does not always happen, sometimes we have thorns at our side we have to work through. He also said this world wants people to believe, “Once you are this (fill in) you are always this.” And he exclaimed, “No” He who the Son sets free is free indeed. You are a new creation in Christ. : )

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      1. When he went through seminary, decades ago, he was working on becoming a better man of God. One of the older pastors told him, “Those who have been forgiven much, love much.” It really reached out to his heart, and he continues to be wonderful shepherd to the church now. I hope God leads us to a church like my home church. : )

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