July 03, 2003

TV Party

I'm sure this isn't news to those of you in the civilized world who've had digital cable for ages, but it's new to me and I'm just realizing that VH1 Classic shows some pretty cool videos on a regular basis. Yes, a music video channel showing actual videos! From bands whose records I actually own!

Though I sometimes wonder what the programmers over there are smoking. How else to explain the broadcast of videos by Don Johnson (yes, the Miami Vice guy), and Agent Orange. Within the same half-hour. (Thankfully the Agent Orange video came on after the Don Johnson one, which helped erase the memory of that pastel-suited joker shrieking "Haaaaaaaart Beeeet!" about fifty times too many.)

Last night I tuned into We Are the 80s, a program that's simply a block of music videos all from that decade. But a K-Tel Top-40 party this is not. Instead, those crafty programmers seem to have put together a show tailor-made for post-ironic late-twentysomethings who can alternately reminisce about the height of their teenage Robert Smith-alike 'dos and gape at glossy concept videos where wind machines, dry ice and white candles never seem to be in short supply.

It's an extended-play video mash-up, where the sources mixed together are 120 Minutes and the kinds of videos VH1 (regular) used to play back in the late 80s.

My viewing session kicked off with "Raspberry Beret" by Prince. Excellent. Remote down on coffee table. Memories of V-66 playing their homemade video for this song because MTV had the exclusive, laughing at the local music video channel's offering: a continuous overhead shot of the record playing on a turntable.

Then onto XTC ("The Mayor of Simpleton") and Morrissey ("Everyday Is Like Sunday"). Just as I'm expecting Dave Kendall to break in any moment with the Top 10 Alternative chart, as Morrissey's mug fades from view... Billy Ocean? Singing an 80s movie theme with special guest stars Kathleen Turner, Danny DeVito and Michael Douglas, all looking far less embarrassed than they really ought to.

After another couple in this vein, one from none-hit wonder Marilyn Martin and another from Lionel Ritchie (though -- damn! -- not "Hello"-it's-the-big-ol'-clay-head), we've done a 180 with an early one from Throwing Muses ("Juno"), followed by The Fall ("Big New Prinz") and The Jesus and Mary Chain ("Happy When It Rains"). Hmm, I wonder who was first with the big hair. Was it really Mr. Smith? Ian McCulloch? Or the brothers Reid?

I had barely enough time to begin pondering this before that pleasant Scottish drone was rudely cut short in favor of the opening sequence for the metal show, up next. Bah. But if the channel stays true to form, tomorrow people who prefer watching TV to fireworks will likely catch "Fourth of July" by X. Followed by that stupid "Proud to Be An American" song, no doubt. You've been warned.

Posted by nstop at July 03, 2003 05:48 AM


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