Sunday, May 25, 2008

Weekly Geeks #5: I've Got A Story

This week, Weekly Geeks asks what other forms of storytelling we enjoy. I'm all over bruises because my Tough & Cool Inner Bookworm, who's a real snob, tried to block my every keystroke on this post. Whose effing blog is this, anyway? Mellow out, T&CIB. I've got a story:

I really don't remember much about 1983. That was the year my first husband and I moved to Broken Arrow, Oklahoma and we got cable television. For the time, there was a nice selection of programming, but as far as we were concerned there was only one channel: MTV! Seeing our songs performed or acted out was wonderful stuff; no matter how many times our favorites came on, we stared just as slack jawed as the first time. Maybe it was my imagination, but my husband seemed to sit up a little straighter and smooth his unruly hair when VJ Martha Quinn was onscreen.

1983: Madonna's lime-green socks in Borderline. Cyndi Lauper arguing with that wrestler that played her father in Girls Just Want To Have Fun. Waifish Eileen running around in overalls in Come On Eileen. The chorus line of janitresses with mops at the end of the Kinks' Come Dancing. Tracey Ullman's boyfriend Paul becoming Paul McCartney at the end of They Don't Know. The beautiful animal video of Talk Talk's It's My Life. The extreme joy we both felt when ANY Elvis Costello video was played. One time, the Waitresses' I Know What Boys Like came on, and I screamed and jumped up and down so much I gave myself a nosebleed.

Some days I wanted to be a Go-Go. Usually I wanted to be Chrissie Hynde looking so cool and tough while telling some guy to Stop Your Sobbing. And my husband...well, he had Martha Quinn to sigh over. My own sighing would come a few years later in 1987, when I watched Madonna's La Isla Bonita over and over and dreamed aloud of being hair-whipped by the guitar player. Then there was Bono. Oh, dear.

I don't know who invented youtube, but I like to think that the Universe sat down one day, chin in hand and asked itself: What can I come up with that would make Susan Jackson Bybee deliriously happy? Nice job, Universe...My thank-you note's in the cosmic mail.

What videos do I watch these days? Banned commercials. Every Arrogant Worms video I can find, because they're so much fun. Hey Ya and Ms. Jackson, both by Outkast. Fever by Peggy Lee. Istanbul Not Constantinople by They Might Be Giants. A bunch of Dylan stuff, old and new. A LOT of Johnny Cash videos. A bit of Dwight Yoakam. Tom Petty. I Touch Myself by The DiVinyls, because Mr. Bybee finds the song unseemly and it's fun to embarrass him.

Let's see...what else? Samson, Fidelity, and Apres Moi all by Regina Spektor. I really like Fidelity with that delectably crisp all-black-and-white setting, Regina's black fingernails and that life-sized rag-doll suitor that becomes A Real Boy towards the end and helps Regina scatter a rainbow of powdered paints all over themselves and the set. My very favorite right now is Kickin' It In Geumchon by EV Boyz, a good-natured Beastie Boys-type song about the expat experience in Korea.

Oh hell. Maybe I should re-title this blog. Call it Naked Without Music Videos!


Maree said...

Great post _ very funny!

Dewey said...

Wow, you brought back some memories with your MTV reminiscence! I was just a kid then, but I spent so much time just mesmerized by that new, amazing thing, music videos.

And I'm a huge fan of youtube, like you. I can get completely lost for hours weaving my way through 1973 Queen concerts (oh Freddie, so young and clueless about what's about to happen to your little band). And one time my husband woke up with his hair sticking up in front, and I said, "You look like A Flock of Seagulls." Our son wanted to know what the heck a flock of seagulls was, besides, you know, a bunch of birds, and then we spent hours showing him all the silliest 80s music we could think of.

darkorpheus said...

I still dig Cyndi Lauper. Too bad her True Colour concert never came into Asia. *sigh*

A Go-Go girl is good. Chrissie Hynde is cool too - I was amused that one time she appeared on "Friends" and towards the end Phoebe was teaching her to sing "Smelly Cat"

"I Touch Myself" - it was a long time before I realise what the song really meant. 'p

GFS3 said...

I spend much too much time at YouTube watching bad 80s videos.

Beats watching reality TV.

Susan said...

:-) :-) :-) :-) Cyndi! A Flock of Seagulls ("and you ran, you ran so far away, you'll never get away...."), and BONO! I remember all the REM videos we watched! I loved MuchMusic (which was the Canadian version of 24 hours of music videos back then) and watched it for so many years. I love the 80's retrospectives now, even if the lyrics are mostly bad, (never mind the hairstyles and clothes!) -DAvid bowie! Duran Duran! they are so danceable to!!!! Oh, great post, Susan :-) you'll have to tell your T&CIB to relax, we all dressed like Madonna once upon a time!!!! (or cyndi lauper, or Chrissy Hynde, depending on what kind of girl you were trying to be back then.....)
and, my husband has just discovered youtube, and now you tell me the Arrogant Worms are on, and who knows, maybe I can find some REM again, or maybe some ancient Nick Drake or Tears for Fears! Or Simple Minds!!! I'll let you know.....and - I love the new picture - great cap on you!!!!!

John (@bookdreamer) said...

What struck me was having cable in the 1980's we didn't see cable down our streets until the 90's

Anonymous said...

A little trip down memory lane complete with jelly bracelets and acid wash jeans (or was that 84?)

I laughed out loud in a couple of places. Oh the neon. *cringe* Flock of Seagulls was the first concert I ever went to, and the reason I tried to dye my hair pink - at least the tops of the little spiky bits in the middle.

The perfect complement to my earlier dose of 80s this week with the release of the Cars tunes on Rock Band (please tell me that wasn't the late 70's? I'm feeling really old!). A totally remastered version of Whip It by Devo is rumoured to be in the works, too.

Tara said...

I was on spring break with my friends in 1989 and every night we returned to our hostel to watch the Metallica video of their song One which featured footage from the film Johnny Get Your Gun. I don't think I've even been so obsessed with a video!

Bybee said...

Thank was a good question.

Yeah, my husband and I were like chimps at our first fire. Our son just got into 80s music and is constantly wondering (especially when he watches Love Is A Battlefield) if people really went out in public like that.

Dark Orpheus,
Cyndi still rocks. And Chrissie on Friends singing Smelly Cat with Pheebs...that's my favorite episode.

Anything beats reality TV -- even going to the laundromat and watching the towels go round and round in the front-loading dryer.

Don't watch too much Nick Drake...he's the definition of depressing. Oh...I forgot Duran Duran...thanks!

90s! Just in time for Sonic Youth, Liz Phair, L7 and Nirvana!

Yeah, 1984 was jelly bracelets. I also had two or three pairs of jelly shoes in different colors...they seem kind of like the grandmother of Crocs.

Oh, I've never seen this video...I'm off to youtube...thanks...