Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Stevie and Zoya Play Rock & Roll And Turn The Zombies Back Into Party People

"The past is cloaked in multi-coloured taffeta. Every time we look at it, we see a different hue."--Milan Kundera

Forgive me, I am still geeking out about my reunion. It was odd seeing so many people after all these years. I realized that not only was I not as miserable back in the day as I have come to tell myself I was, but that I probably would have been miserable wherever I went and with whoever happened to be there. So now, I am forced to alter the story of myself which I tell myself. Not drastically mind you (I still maintain I was unfortunate looking, you can't take that away from me). The alterations are minor, like the novelization of a film, the story is the same, the events unfold in the same fashion, but the medium causes a slightly different picture to emerge.

Or maybe I am looking back and yesterday really is an entirely different color.

So, anyway, I find myself thinking of the things from way back when which made me really happy, the things that I always think about, but also stuff about which I had forgotten. One of those things which holds up surprisingly well is Stevie Washington (or Stevie and Zoya, which it appears is what it was called, thanks Wikipedia). This was one of the many things which made 120 Minutes worth staying up way past one's bedtime and enduring a sleep deprivation related migraine the next afternoon. Well, this and the videos.

Another thing I loved as a young adult was the film Liquid Sky. Oh, I freely admit that quite a lot of the acting was horrible, but Anna Carlisle is quite spectacular and I can say, quite freely, that this film inspired me to be a feminist in a way that the more self-conscious and serious manifestos did not (which perhaps explains a lot). Also, I kid you not, I credited bits of the following scene, in my memory, to the time Kathy Acker gave a reading in the chapel at Reed, so clearly, it has literary pretensions (in my own mind, at least) which far exceed the new-wave, sci-fi, camp value of it all.

Of course, Stevie and Zoya could have solved all of Margaret's problems with a boombox and a skateboard, but they weren't around to help her. She only had drugs, day-glo makeup, and a dream. No wonder she turned to the aliens for help.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Let Me Always Be The One Who's Left Behind When They Desert You

Yes, I promise, someday I will go back to actually writing about stuff, instead of abusing YouTube and publicly reliving the music of my youth (though if I were completely honest, this is just reliving the music of a couple of months ago, as Dreamland was in heavy rotation while I was taking Meisner 2.0)

So I went to my high school reunion on Saturday. Twenty years. It was odd. I spent a lot of time dithering over whether I would go or not, terrified that I would find myself in a room full of people who would not talk to me, and at first, that is exactly what happened. I felt like I didn't recognize anyone and the school has definitely changed since I was there, which caused me to question if I had entered a parallel universe (this is what happens when you spend a lot of time watching Science Fiction, it makes you paranoid) or maybe it just wasn't the right school (how often does that happen, someone wanders into a reunion which is not, in fact, their own?) Anyway, I eventually stopped drinking water and, magically, the reunion got a lot better leading me to conclude that had I drunk alcohol back then, high school would have been a lot better. There were people there whom I found myself insanely happy to see and, as time went on, I was overwhelmed with a general warmth towards everyone which led to some awkward encounters with people who did not feel a corresponding sense of warmth towards me. I did not have any enormous revelations about myself; I was surprised how many people remembered me, given that my recollection of the past is one where I was friendless and invisible, but really, if I think about it, I know this isn't true and that everyone feels that way about themselves in high school. And while I spent a lot of time being nervous about going to the reunion, I didn't give any thought as to what comes next, to the whole "now we have seen each other and maybe we should stay in touch instead of waiting for the next one of these things to reconnect" thing, as well as the fact that it was probably inevitable that I would have nostalgia crushes on some people (people who I did not have crushes on back then, but seeing them now, I see the error of my ways and so feel my emotions need to do some crushing, just because). No one ever tells you that going to your high school reunion turns you into your awkward, inept teenage self and it takes some time to mature back into adulthood.

So, anyway, yeah, I am not feeling very intelligent or articulate on this topic. But somehow, I thought this Roddy Frame song was appropriate (because, as you know, I feel Roddy Frame is appropriate for every occasion).

Monday, April 20, 2009

I Bought A Ticket To The World

I have no idea why, but when True was on heavy rotation, I really disliked it. Maybe I found it to be too slow (something about the beginning makes my spine unwind, and not entirely in a good way). Maybe I found it to be too R & B (and my eleven year old self hadn't yet accepted the blue eyed soul bands of the New Wave movement into her heart...truth be told, at eleven, it was all Go-Gos all the time, so maybe it isn't all that shocking that I wasn't enamored of this song). Maybe I didn't find any of the members of Spandau Ballet to be cute. Whatever the reason, I did not like this song 25 years ago and I cannot tell you why because now, in 2009, I seek this video out on YouTube.

Some people may say this is simple nostalgia, that the songs which were played at school dances will always have a certain place in my heart regardless of what I felt for them way back when. Possibly, but I think the songs actually have to be good in and of themselves for this to hold true (I can think of a number of songs I never want to hear again, EVER, which were played at dances...I think, but I have repressed the memories because I hate those songs so much). It is also possible that my musical tastes expanded and I found myself liking songs in retrospect.

The simplest explanation may just be that the singer in me can't resist a song which has karaoke written all over it. Really, it's a shame I only go karaoke singing once every decade.

All this is, perhaps, moot where Spandau Ballet is concerned because I remember the moment they switched from the dislike to like column in my mind. It was the moment I heard the song (and saw the video) Only When You Leave.

I have no idea why this song captured my fancy (the Great Gatsby meets Pal Joey meets James Bond feel of the viedo's plotline, such as it is, probably helped) but capture my fancy it did and, a few days later, I was at someone's house and we spent the afternoon calling B96's request line asking them to play this song (they never did. Anyone who has ever listened to B96 will not find this surprising).

Behold, the power of the music video: it turned me from a hater to a fan of Spandau Ballet. Not fan enough to buy their records (so many records, so little time) or see them in concert (ditto), so perhaps fan is too strong a term. Supporter? Advocate?

Well, whatever I once was, I think the fact that I am talking about them now makes me a fan, and the fact that you are reading this probably makes you one, too.

So, in light of our newfound fanship, I have some news.

Are you sitting down?

You really should be sitting down for this news.

Alright, here it is.

Spandeau Ballet will be touring this fall

How cool is that? Seriously, the only thing which would make this cooler is if they were touring with ABC and Paul Weller. Well, and if they actually had some North American tour dates because, fan or not, I probably won't be dusting off my passport to see them. I mean, who do they think they are, Roddy Frame?

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Till The Day Comes When You Realize

As I spent the afternoon walking down memory lane with YouTube, I realized The Church's Tantalized should have been my first post after a long hiatus

God I've been asleep so long I've been away
Back from the software limbo the natives call today

I am afraid that not much more of the song can be compared with my life. Thankfully, Pandora's box has revealed no new suprise, I have not been breaking any laws for the past hundred and one days (though Fred can tell you, any and all days with me are voluptuous) and there was no seductive logic which bound me. I was going to say that, sadly, there has been no glitter to have me mesmerized, but then I remembered that though I was randomly walking past the Baccarat display in Macy's--did you know Baccarat made jewelry?--and saw this, so I am a bit mesmerized now that I think about it, but unfortunately, none of the mesmerizing glitter is in my possession.

I was thinking more about the lyrics and realized that they sounded like a Neil Gaiman novel (I gave money to ghosts, I insulted my hosts) or maybe, because I have just started reading Vellum, I really mean a Hal Duncan novel (I turned up in some harsh, doomed city on another plane), but either way, if you image search either Gaiman or Duncan, they look like they could have been members of The Church circa 1986 (dark floppy hair? check. Leather jacket? check. Aura of intelligence behind the rock and roll attitude? check).

All of this is irrelevant when faced with the absolute brilliance of this song. Seriously, the opening guitar riffs make my skin ping and I nearly explode with anticipation waiting for Steve Kilbey to sing the opening lyrics. If they tour again, I will see them, though this makes me crabby. While the video below from 1998 proves they can still be great live, it cannot compare to the fabulousness of their heyday (pun completely intended). So while I feel blessed to have tickets for Robyn Hitchcock, Franz Ferdinand, and U2, I find myself grumbling that I do not have a time machine to take me back to 1988-1990 so that I can see The Church as I remember them (young, thin, so sexy that becoming a groupie sounded appealing). Because while memory is often imperfect, in this one area, I know it is not (and I sortof have YouTube toback me up).

Saturday, April 04, 2009

We Could Send Letters

You said you're free, for me that says it all. You're free to push me and I'm free to fall.--Roddy Frame

Blogging, like so much else in life, is subject to the laws of habit and inertia. Just as one sees number patterns everywhere when one plays a lot of Sudoku, if one blogs regularly, everything is a potential blogpost. But take a break and it seems almost impossible to start up again and, if one spends too much time thinking about it, it starts to seem a bit ridiculous ("I am supposed to put numbers in boxes? I will be doing this for fun? And there are people out there who actually, occasionally, care about my opinion on Hello Kitty, the world we live in and life in general? No way.")

Which is my roundabout way of saying that this is harder than it looks. It would be easy to abandon this blog for my "real" life, except that in recent weeks, I have had reminders that this blog exists and that people read it. I have also had reminders of my teenage years, how easy it was to lose touch with people then, but how easy it is to reconnect with people now. Facebook and email has made it possible for people to reach across the span of decades and poke one another.

However, it is only easy to find the people we have lost if those people want to be found. If someone has little to no presence on the internet or if their name is so common as to render them anonymous, the only possibility of finding them again is to hope that they will find you. Which takes us back to the past, to a time when friendship was a matter of having trust and home addresses. And even with all our technology, we run the risk of stumbling upon feelings we left behind.