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Saturday, September 27, 2003
Aging Non-blondes
This morning my bladder woke me up promptly at 6. Since it's Saturday, I wasn't too happy about that, but the TV took pity on me. There on Bravo, on a show called Musicians (new to me), were Deborah Harry and Chris Stein of Blondie (note the dot com address is the comic strip). The show was a mix of mostly interview and some acoustic performance, revealing some interesting underlying bits of pop culture from nearly 30 years ago.
It brought back old memories of summer camp at Appel Farm. Now I would have sworn it was the summer of 1977, but Parallel Lines did not come out till 1978, so I must be mistaken. I can be absolutely positive the two events were concurrent (my summer at the camp and the release of the album) because Parallel Lines was 50% of the soundtrack of my three weeks at camp. Though the literature said don't bring anything that must be plugged in, the jewish girls from NY and NJ who populated my bunk (and most of the camp) either knew they could get away with it, or decided to be defiant about it. Because they all had hair dryers and a host of other electrical crap, and one girl had a tape player. Remember this was the pre-boombox era. Anyway, girl-who's-name-I-can't-remember had a tape player and TWO tapes. Two. One was, you guessed it, Parallel Lines by Blondie. If I heard One Way or Another once, I heard it 900 times in that three weeks. That and Fade Away & Radiate, Heart of Glass, etc. Unfortunately that summer ruined me for Blondie, and I was unable to appreciate the band until. . .now? Perhaps. Though I loved Deborah Harry in Videodrome, David Cronenberg's hallucination classic.
By the way, when Olivia began to show interest in filmmaking, I told her to check on the net for some summer camps that had filmmaking stuff. The one camp she brought to my attention was Appel Farm. I don't think she ever knew I went there. [fade up Twilight Zone theme music. . .]
On the show Chris Stein said something I found very interesting -- When asked about how the power dynamics of the band were affected by Debbie and Chris being a couple and therefore a voting bloc, he responded (and I sorta quote) "at best a band functions as a monarchy, or perhaps a dictatorship. Democracy does not work in a band." That brings me to think of bands I've been in and bands I've known well, both democracies and monarchies/dictatorships. Hmm, I think I'll think about that some more.
I just got back yesterday from the 11th Annual WV Governor's Summit on Aging, held at Oglebay conference center. I got to stay in a cabin, which was the bomb, ask me about it. Anyway, I got this idea during the Summit, while listening to kickass speaker and thinker Dr. Condeluci, to mindfully connect more dots. When you speak, or write, the more things you tie together, and the more ways you tie them, the more likely you are to have your ideas stick with the audience. We all connect our own dots all the time, and though the dots fade, the lines between them get stuck in our brains much longer before they fade. That's my new theory. And a related theory that struck me there, too, is that if you connect the dots to form an ugly picture, that's the picture that will continue to surface in your mind. Whereas, if you either don't connect those dots, or connect them to form a groovy picture, you can minimize the likelihood of ugly shit entering your psyche. For example, if you encounter negative stereotypes, you will be more likely to see them in people. You'll connect the dots in that way, because those lines are already present in your brain. But if you never learn a negative stereotype, you have a chance of never looking for it to be true, and therefore never seeing it. The dots are always there, you can connect them however you want, but once lines get drawn, they tend to perpetuate themselves.
These thoughts came to me as Dr. Condeluci spoke about how the elderly and people with disabilities are devalued in our culture, seen as their impairments, and excluded from our circles of commonality. We gots to change that. Connect some new dots.
Blondie has aged, and sounded great. The unplugged phenomenon is such a great one, for me. I love to hear the naked version of a tune, and Blondie's acoustic performance on the show was so much better than the Blondie of my camp memories. They played a tune from their new album (yes, new album) called Night Wind Sent that I really liked. Somehow I doubt the produced studio version of the tune will be as satisfying, so I'll probably avoid it. Why connect those dots?
Dr. Condeluci ended with one of my favorite quotes, "We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly." Martin Luther King, Jr., letter from the Birmingham jail.
The second tape, by the way, was the soundtrack of the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

permalink posted by cat 8:25 AM

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Aging Non-blondes