I’m starting on what I hope is a humourous note, that what Spotify calls “early alternative” survives well and good on its own, forever having shaped itself into fashion like shells in the seaweed.
Pivoting from TV soap to horror, like The Wolfman, perhaps, satisfying his need for power by drinking the contents of what could be a steaming glass cylinder. He is transformed, haplessly, into the guise of a monster, in order to confront what will transform him. That is wisdom imparted to me back in high school by the head of the English department.
One of the challenges, when I went to school in the 1990s and in the 2000s, was to comprehend the reading teachers assigned me as a student of theirs. To this day, I try to read the occasional paper to keep my mind energized–papers of errata, I sort of think of them. I am interested in how an education for our present Gen Z could relate to what will be going on in the minds and hearts of young people.
Today is my parents’ anniversary. I believe that my mother sometimes reads my blog, and I guess that is sort of stereotypically embarrassing, but I thought of some of my observations, and how they may seem naïve, even at my present age, when I try sometimes to explain how it was to be young, and naïve, when perhaps I’ve never really shaken that naivete. How can that be?
I resolve not to think about it too much. My mother can see something I value negatively some of the time.
I once read the observation that social media is like having a giant billboard showing you traffic on the highway, a plain strange metaphor. My Facebook timeline nowadays occasionally recommends me posts from the site for blogTO.
The Facebook timeline, in case you’re new to Facebook, is the piece of your Facebook page that shows posts from both people you’ve befriended and from pages that you follow.
In addition to being a good read, blogTO appears tidy on Facebook, and likewise fresh on TikTok. https://www.blogto.com/ …if you want the link.
When my dad and I agreed to do business together, in what might have been 2011, we wanted a Facebook page. The church on the cemetery grounds had disbanded in ’06, so a good five years had gone as the church fell away from that. We decided not to let the cemetery go as well.
It hasn’t been that long that I’ve been thinking about blogTO. The individual who first brought it to my attention is our dear Pam, one of my mother’s cousins, and a true Toronto resident.
Pam shares blogTO posts typically to reflect how she feels about the weather, or how construction in the city is, or how her interest in TIFF goes. Our last face-to-face was at my maternal grandmother’s eightieth birthday party.
I have lived in a burb my whole life, with the exceptions of brief visits to other parts of the province, that the province Ontario, as well as a once-in-a-lifetime vacation to Florida, and visits to my godparents in Tennessee, a 1995 visit to friends in British Columbia, school in Kingston, Ontario, and, in addition, beginning to really learn in England, when I was awarded a bursary to do a semester overseas, during which I even briefly saw Paris. If I were a priest, you might compare that semester to a sabbatical. I felt like Victor Frankenstein, I fancied.
I wrapped up my schooling with a year taking classes in Niagara-on-the-Lake, a very picturesque town nearby where I live. I could get a bus from the bus terminal to the campus twice a day, there and back again.
I have also travelled independently, to the Atlantic, the Prairies, and to Portland, Maine, as well as to NYC and to New Orleans, the latter perhaps for the jazz. These trips were all brief excursions. Thereby my impressions of the world were formed.
I felt overwhelmed during my first year of university, starting that up. It was mad to be young the year of Y2K. That was the fear, mostly mythical, that computers synchronized to midnight on January 1, 2000, would all crash, given that their computer infrastructure wouldn’t be able to handle the transition from the twentieth century into the twenty-first.
Dad and I have a little cemetery that would be cared for only by the municipality if my dad never had taken the steps to bring it under his care.
blogTO is a tourism blog for the city of Toronto, helping people find out what things they can do if they visit or if they live in Toronto. When I was but twenty-nine years old, I inquired with Ontario March of Dimes, in Niagara Falls, if I would have any luck in a tourism job, an entry-level job.
My contact at March of Dimes was scornful at that moment, given my reported age, and the nature of my request. In a way, I never lived that down. I have regrets, of course.
It is just that it was a difficult lesson to accept that the decade of life that was my twenties was almost completely finished.
My loving sister, Kaitlyn, encouraged me to try my hand at writing for the campus newspaper in our city. I wrote what you might say amounted to a portfolio of work, ten columns of film criticism that I wrote for the paper, coming out of my own pocket. She’s another girl to who I owe an apology.
Mind you I had the community support of assistance, with the rent, and funds allotted to maintaining a lifestyle. The thrill, and there was a word that a high school teacher had taught me that made it desirable, the word rush, was having to go see a film, typically, the Friday night, and then review the movie within twenty-four hours or so after the lights came up.
My mother was happy I was kind of following a dream, but I really was nothing, and nothing came of it. I was but an amateur.
Since then, the last several years I have done some more writing. I made a few bucks working for a mill, but discarding that perhaps shows foresight as my present advantage is that I can treat any theme I want at any time I want, rather than doing that rush I tried my hand in, to get credentials established. The chief activity that’s been on the productivity chart for me is the last ten years or so helping out my father operate the cemetery, with additional help from family and friends, like Dave and Gerard.
I have translated some of my “journalling” skills into helping keep us in the loop on Facebook, which my sister, thinking of herself as an “early adopter” of the social media platform, encouraged me to join perhaps in the year 2010–at the moment I am not completely sure when I got started. It may have been around the time David Fincher delivered his stellar film The Social Network. I enjoy that film, as do many others.
Kaitlyn’s been the real deal–when she was yet a single girl, she had a position as a bona fide newspaper editor. Kudos to her.
Twenty years before, about 1990, the soon-to-be-famous author John Gray finished his first book, which he titled What You Feel, You Can Heal. I remember that John Gray referred to taking your twenties to discover who you are, to find yourself. I wanted to quickly again establish, with this post, where I am at, which I do from time to time to keep it centered, I think.
I’m well older than that. In 2021, another famous figure, Jordan Peterson, himself a former university professor, has been bold enough to ask if university life will be finished.
It won’t surprise me if blogTO has his number.
You’re welcome to bang that “like” button, leave me a comment, or to follow the blog if any of that appeals to you. Thank you for flying with me, on WordPress. These are only the beginning of the days I am trying to take my work more seriously than I have in the first while, when I feel I had a learning curve.
My friend Ryan, made fun of me for wearing colorful new socks, in junior high. We weren’t friends long after he began that. It was, I think ,the year 1990.
Today is Barack Obama’s Birthday.
I’m sure his socks were impeccable.
It made us or broke us when it came to the ladies. After all, for a boy that age, the playbook was only beginning to be written.
August 1, 1981, New York, New York, United States
August 1 this year, 2021, observes the fortieth anniversary of the debut of MTV. I think this anniversary deserves more of a mention than it is receiving.
Britpop has a canon. Why not MTV?
It probably does, but not one that I hear of. It fascinates me.
Let me conjecture.
A TV station that is called Music Television, yet never plays any music.
Jane: really wanna check out the latest Iggy video I heard it was tight, turn on MTV and see if it’s on.
Erica: Bitch please, that network hasn’t played music videos since 1999. You will have to settle for that Vevo horse shit instead.
by MrHobbes69 June 26, 2014
Halloween is the going entry for forty years of horror, I think
In movies, awfulness like the Halloween films, the movies that started with the executive exertion of John Carpenter, additionally forty years in, presently, readies a tremendous measure of conversation. It is hard to, even for me, an imaginative fellow myself might I add, to understand why there are so many timelines for the same story. That town Haddonfield, Illinois, shot in South Pasadena and Hollywood, California, never will be forgotten.
Star Wars is the clear contender for forty years of the best sci-fi
We haven’t quite got forty years from Star Wars Episode IV and its characteristic representation on YouTube. The representation of Star Wars on Youtube is positively immense; in terms of canon, the official entries for a universe like George Lucas’ Star Wars is truly stellar. The sequel trilogy crashed twice, back at Christmas 2017, and again for Christmas 2019.
Sometimes people hate on it; more often people love it, and it is quite frequently identified as the most significant storytelling to certain people’s childhood that to retcon the story is like a sacrilege.
Vader threw the Emperor down an immense circular shaft in the recesses of deep space and the Rebel Alliance exploded Star Wars Return of the Jedi’s Death Star in 1983. Somehow in 2021, the Emperor returned amid the wreckage of the Death Star to battle both Kylo Ren, performed by Adam Driver, and Rey, acted by Daisy Ridley.
It looked like a climactic explosion that took the Death Star out of existence at the end of Return of the Jedi. Did wreckage persist?
1980’s sequel Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back turned forty last year, and at that time it got a considerable mention on their YouTube channel, and everywhere else on the Internet. One night lately I watched Empire Strikes Back for the first time in twenty-five years, right at home on Disney+. Right at home, I might add.
Superman is another enduring and innovative franchise
The Superman movies began in 1978 and following revivals like the 90s series Smallville, and the 2006 film Superman Returns, two years after Superman actor Christopher Reeves died, Superman returned in a big way for Batman vs. Superman, and in the Justice League films. Like Zod and his cohorts escaping their near-permanent imprisonment for Superman II in 1980, Superman was lucky to defeat them. RIP to Superman director Richard Donner (finished 1978).
MTV was an interesting journey. The 1970s are recognized as a time when privilege, gay rights and ecological developments contended with the Watergate embarrassment, the energy emergency and the continuous Vietnam War.
The eighties were a novel time for design, music, and film. During the 1980s, MTV was instrumental in advancing entertainers like Madonna, Michael Jackson, Prince, who played in turn.
For fun, I put on about twenty-five songs that were in the MTV catalogue in ’81. I’m unsure Lou Reed was completely prepared for how MTV would change music. Even come 2021, I order the MTV TV channel, a retro channel to round out the mix of programming I get from communications provider Cogeco. Tell me who’s boss, baby…
Funny fright flick Ghostbusters is making a return
I usually enjoy ties to the past. For instance, come October, Ghostbusters Afterlife is set to shake up crowds. The 80s, some might say, was the best decade ever.
Ghostbusters rocked comedy starting in 1984 when it received its theatrical release. Funny dialogue and plot devices plus the supernatural theme and special effects make it a great movie.
Back to the Future is a heavy hitter
I couldn’t say whether Back to the Future is a kids’ film, yet the typical rating for films is that C8 demonstrates a film or TV or game that is for children who ought to have effectively arrived at the age of eight. I think that’s what Back to the Future is rated. I again watched the scene when Doc Brown explains, to Marty McFly, that the inventor, Doc Brown, has built a time machine inside a DeLorean sports car.
It is droll. It enjoyed a resurgence in Season 3 of the Netflix series Stranger Things.
It feels to me like Batman never left
I think Batman in 1989 was rated PG, meaning that the parents of underage kids attending the movie must have their parents’ to put the experience of watching the PG movie into a family context. Pondering that is one explanation I once in a while lament the choice to avoid considering a youngster.
I was captivated by Batman as a twelve-year-old, and I envisioned turning into a reprobate like The Joker. I was able to read some of the more adult Batman comics that were in print and successfully selling at the time.
The Killing Joke is a great story. So is Batman: Year One, which is a series of issues, in Detective Comics, “rebooting” the origin story of Batman, although I don’t know honestly if “reboot” was a coined word in the eighties… I must be too young…
I remained interested in the second and third movies in the Batman franchise. 1995’s Batman Forever is underestimated, I think. The popular opinion of Gotham, now on Netflix, is that it is a great TV series, and I agree that Gotham is superb.
Lou Reed’s song A Perfect Day is in the Gotham series when the Penguin is coming into his own…
Lou Reed delivered perhaps the worst music of his career
I enjoy it. Albums like Legendary Hearts and Mistrial, the video presence of Lou Reed, now older and more mellow one might say (especially if you have heard Reed’s remarks on the Take No Prisoners double-LP during the introduction to one of his Velvet Underground songs), demonstrates a personality that by now is so recognizable that it is somewhat lackluster in the face of what MTV was doing.
Was Reed a great dancer? He certainly was footloose. He employed longtime Velvets devotee Robert Quine for a new guitar presence on 1982’s The Blue Mask and nominally again for 1983’s Legendary Hearts, scornfully mixing him out of the finished album while retaining his name on the album jacket.
Andy Warhol remained an active presence
Warhol is of course a legend and known to buy whatever goodie did interest him, appearing often on MTV before his untimely death in 1987.
NYC began to evince itself, apart from its excellent theatre and theatrical politics, a city well-represented in the media, which some days depicted its Burroughs as havens for fiendish, delirious, magnificent drug addicts and other homeless. The Naked Lunch is a 1959 novel by American essayist William S. Burroughs. I am not sure Lou Reed did enough to identify himself as that “other” Godfather, however, well-reviewed his 1982 LP The Blue Mask was received. “Take the blue mask down from my face and look me in the eye…” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHOBZixJOtg
The addict William Lee takes on different assumed names, from the U.S. to Mexico, in the long run to Tangier and the illusory Interzone. His excursion begins in the U.S. where he is escaping the police looking for his next fix.
The novel was remembered for Time’s “100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005”.¹
Images of street life in the Big Apple
Suddenly a definition of music culture was ready and available to all who might pursue an interest in it. It is amazing what happened in the 1980s around the world and I start to feel stunned should I probe into it. I am so sorry about 9/11.
Music by itself is pretty cheap
MTV was 24/7, and the most I ever made out of possibilities for 24/7 were somewhat hampered by a shortage of comfortable space. I had days that I watched late-night cable TV with an absence of proper audio in favor of music recordings. There could have been possibilities.
While rock music is one of the electric things in the world, we enjoy it in controlled, cool environs, not the great outdoors… with rare exceptions. Someone with a passion for outdoor festivals could speak to you about it.
Remove it to the littlest club, and you have an intimacy that is unmatched, speaking generally, between artist and patrons. The result is like love.
The aftermath. The result imperial
When the restraint against more adult themes came to an end, films that previously had entertained fierce legends about the sights on camera, as with The Texas Chain-saw Massacre depicting Ed Gein chasing and slaughtering people.
In the interim, grim scary movies caused much displeasure against chaste and, dare I say, sane members of society. Whether to put the seeds of rebellion amid the reels of one-dimensional characterizations and poorly-plotted forgettable mire, there was so much box office to be had with films that sunk little previous investment and returned fortunes at the box office.
The devil won, dare I say.
The “dome” crowning these indulgences served another purpose, to elevate what remained of quality endeavours high up on the landscape. For entrants unwilling to descend to the depths of hell but not glorious enough to reach the upper echelon, the spread of lowbrow crime films began like spurts of blood from bullet holes to dot the landscape, forming what should amount to a canon of disreputable fun, if there isn’t such a canon in place already the scope of which is unknown to me. Sometimes it is the best-laid plans of men that curtail our best effort…
A shallow foothold, youth culture was strong as it ever had been, a generation following the sons and daughters of the dawn of love, in a morass to excel at the continuing breakdown of norms and conventions while enjoying the best that the beginning of the triumph of art in the hands of the masses would bring.
Art would soon be disposable, and yet we still have MTV…
The radio format remains consistent. The composition of the song goes a little unchanged, despite the efforts of gifted upstarts who would challenge it. What dictated tastes to the new unwashed was the resale of the same values as what just came before, coupled with the Renaissance of everything new and cool, everything under the sun.
Before long it was soon not even the twentieth century anymore. Time kept running like a river.
Despite everything that came and went about the shape of the media that housed music, the venues that assembled and entreated it, MTV remained like a light on the house of TV. If there was a certain kind of hipster in the house, it was a reasonable certainty that MTV would be there as well. There was no comparable TV channel that could effectively replace MTV.
It proved enduring.
Like a ray of light cast from a pier to the tides under darkness, MTV remains a go-to for information, like who’s who and what it takes to be a part of the culture, and for the hipster that valued the influences of the past recast anew and now again relevant, a weave of customs that never left you, that had never gone away. It remains for you to groove to, to think a little about and to ignore when necessary.
You are the controller; the best of the best is at your command. It is a game of electric crosshairs and you are the sergeant-at-arms.
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¹ Lacayo, Richard. “All-TIME 100 Novels”. Retrieved 15 November 2016 – via entertainment.time.com.