Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Song for a Crappy Tuesday

First Tuesday after a Vacation wants to show you her Vacation pictures.

You know this because it is just the two of you in the office. The Higher Ups have gone for a long office lunch and left the Lower Downs in charge.

FTAV has stacked the photographs on the edge of her desk and every so often she will pick them up, and flip through them. The air is peppered with the occasional too-loud giggle or sigh of remembrance from down her way.

You dog paddle through your work, hoping to end the day early. Perhaps when she gets up to use the restroom you can sneak by her desk without her notice.

She must have a camel hump for a bladder.

4:45 inches closer. You decide to make a break for it.

You rustle through your belongings and slide them into your messenger bag, power down your computer, and stand. So far so good.

Just past her desk, however, is where the chain jerks you backward.

"Have a nice night." She says, with a flat musicality.


"Does Jim know you're leaving early?"

The clock says 4:50.

"Hm?" You answer, but not.

"It's only 4:50."


"You know, " her brown nail polished hand hovers over the slick stack of photos,"If you're done with your work, why don't you flip through these with me? It'll only take a minute. Jim'll never know."

But he will if I leave, is that it? You think. She's gonna tell. If you don't sit with her and look at those damn vacation photos she. will. tattle.

You turn around to face her. She's smiling up at you and you sigh. Perhaps this is a teaching moment. Perhaps if you would only show some interest in other people and what they do with their time, you might learn a thing or two. Maybe her photos ARE really interesting. What do you know? She might have spent her four days on a Navajo reservation, learning the ways of the ways of the ancients. You might find out a bit about your self if you would just open up to the experience of others.

FTAV drags a non-wheeled desk chair over next to her. You approach and sit by her as she gleefully flips through each one and describes them in excruciating detail.

Every single photo is a self taken shot of her. Outside different Super 8 Motels. There are 94 pictures in all.

A few years ago, I saw a documentary about MTV (On VH1, I believe. Has anyone stared at their navel so closely that they were devoured by it? This might be the closest case.). The documentary brought into sharp focus the dramatic shift MTV has taken from cutting edge experiment to reality shows glutted with brats thirsting for a sweet 16 that will cause such envy as to molt the new armpit hair of every pubescent BFF in the tri-county area.

It left me a little sad.

The music video used to be a lightening rod for strange art-school drop out lab tests. The other night while Notnits and I were at Leona's (don't ask me why, but I had a major hankering for a Big Meat Ball that only Leona's could fill.) we noticed a flat screen TV on the wall that played the music videos attached to the ambient tunes wafting through the restaurant. The videos played were a strange mix. I think we're caught in a grey area of of irony here, where the past has been exhausted of its kitsch value but the present is still unsure of its own identity. The result was a hodge-podge of 50's ephemera, 80's music videos, and 00's retreads of U2 and Nora Jones.

One music video played that gave the both of us pause:

I have never had an affinity for this song, nor did I particularly hate it. Notnits expressed a similar sentiment: The song itself was something of a musical wallpaper for the late 80's. Something to play when you wanted to forget what you were listening to.

But the video is some kind of art house film designed to befuddle the mind. What are these guys wearing? Who's winning the little race they appear to be having? Is the girl covered in pillows?

In my young mind these types of videos wowed me. I kind of hated the pretense of them, but still marveled at the audacity. How dare they bring the pseudo avant guarde into our living rooms?

This video brought to mind another tune that graces the airwaves a few years before. New Order's True Faith. This song I was actually haunted me as a child and the video, directed by Philippe Decouflé, did nothing to ease my sense of longing. The lyrics drone out some kind of regret, but the beat pushes forward, forcing a toe tap or dance, shoving time along. (Never mind that this song is featured in Bright Lights, Big City, the movie based on the book by Jay McInerney which was written in the Second Person...just like the Songs for a Crappy Tuesday scenarios...turing in and turing in...).

But WTFuck is going on? There is some dystopian future in which post apocalyptic Cirque de Soleil clowns slap each other, while pillowed creatures play with building blocks as the rotating deaf turtle signs out the lyrics. Whoa.

The oblique nature of these videos made my 14 year old brain go nuts.

And still does.

1 comment:

Erica said...

My bro and I used to act out the Fine Young Cannibal video all the time growing up. Even still, I don't need to watch that clip to see the video in my head. I can do the dances without it.


Add to Technorati Favorites