The Six (Mail Weekend, April 16, 2023)
It’s a powerful moment in any drama when the fighting stops within a couple. One says to the other, “I didn’t realise we were so alike” and they see each other for the first time. They think they are soulmates. They see each other in each other. They realise that the songs they’ve been writing have been coded messages to each other. They are the same person. This is what happens in Daisy and the Six, a TV series loosely based on the real-life Fleetwood Mac where everyone was in contorted relationships with everyone else.
It was all about bad love and good drugs and they literally imploded after their album Rumours which in 1977 was the biggest selling album of all time. The six split up after their live show in Chicago which was the height of their fame and fortune and covers of the Rolling Stone. Central to the core is the real life dynamic between Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham. I became lured into the appeal of Fleetwood Mac when I read an article about them which intro ed ‘the radio said there was a lot of weather.’ Weather. A perfect metaphor for this band made up of dysfunctional couples. It was sunny, it was stormy, it was unpredictable.
I’ve always been obsessed with Stevie Nicks – got her on Google alert, there’s always a ping to at least move my heart into another dimension – I’ve met her and interviewed her several times. I have tops named after her: the black Stevie, the shimmering Stevie… they are floaty things and I remember her telling me she created her style of witchy / fairy / floaty stuff on top with granny boots as she thought it was something she could wear as an old lady performing. This and good lighting – it always was her choice as she’ll be doing it for a long time. And she did.
And this is where the show doesn’t get it quite right. They go for the glamour of the 70’s: the Afghan fur collar and the hot pants… too much leg and too much material in the wide arms. Not really feisty enough to be signature Stevie. I made sure I was wearing these tops when I met her. One time I was in her home in Los Angeles waiting in her kitchen (her home is a bit like her dress sense it’s all velvet floaty curtains and plushy seats, comfortable and over the top all at once) and her assistant explained why one of her dogs was wearing a coat indoors when it was very hot outside. They seemed to be to Yorkies – mother and daughter – with a same floppy tawny Stevie hair around the face. The one with the coat was entirely bald and apparently Stevie had spent a fortune on therapy for alopecia because she thought it was traumatised when in fact she had put the mother dog in kennels when she was away and a Chinese crested (a bald breed) had taken a liking to her and this was the product. I don’t say I know this – instead we talk a lot about this compelling relationship with Buckingham that produced some of the greatest songs ever written. Landslide will do it for me every time. She earned 7 million from that one song alone but she still hoped to write a better one.
“I made a choice a long time ago of what was going to be the most important and that was my music.”
She and Buckingham were musically rivalrous and they knew how to wind each other up and probably still do. “I was never rivalrous with him but he was with me. I ironed his jeans and sewed moons and stars on them. I was the cleaning lady but as soon as we joined Fleetwood Mac and people started to single me out… I think he just wanted a nice woman and children and that was not me. If we had not pursued a career, we would’ve made it as a couple, we would’ve got married and had kids. He would sometimes say, ‘I don’t care how much money we made and how famous we were… all Fleetwood Mac did was break us up’ and that was the thing I hold most dear.”
The real Stevie Nicks doesn’t do regret and doesn’t look back. We could all aspire to that but she does tell me how alike she and Buckingham were – the same as on the TV show where they both crave to know each other and be known by each other because they are narcissists. She says she was June Carter to his Johnny Cash. In 2020, when I watched Almost Famous, I loved the idea of the rockumentary – that movie is based on the real life of Cameron Crowe, its director, and his start at Rolling Stone and his love of being with the band. I love it because I love the idea of being on tour with the band: the travel, the adrenaline, the glamour, the champagne, the luxury hotels and limos… it all seems so unreal and real because what brings it back into our hearts is the fact it’s all about the broken and the lonely and a love that destroys itself. And the song and the torture is the Muse and the character based on Stevie says I don’t want to be the Muse, I want to be the somebody. We all want to be somebody.
I am not the muse, I’m the somebody. Is that not the narcissist, too?