Monday, February 2, 2009

Old School Ode #1 - Waiting on the Man

So I was riding with Frank on the way back from a fun afternoon of bowling this past Saturday and the song "Stone Cold" by Rainbow came on the radio. I proceeded to tell him the story of how my friend Kim (the very first friend I made on my own in Kindergarten) stayed up until 4:00 in the morning once waiting to see this video on MTV.

Now, "Stone Cold" was not, by any stretch of the imagination, a huge hit. It would certainly not appear on any one's retrospective "Top 100" music videos of the eighties. It was, however, one of the 250 videos in regular MTV rotation between 1981 and 1983. There seemed to be no particular "format agenda" to the network at that point beyond here are bands that made music videos. If you look at the videos from this time you see a lot of white sound-stage backgrounds, random stock footage, and mirrors. And manquins. "Stone Cold" has the latter two in spades.

Kim wasn't a super-kook obsessive fan. She was just aware of the limited number of videos and knew she could simply "wait it out." At some point on that evening of waiting up all night, I'm sure she considered walking away and going to bed. But then I imagine she considered her invested time and figured she might as well ride it out. 4:00AM ultimately gave her a sort of admirable badge of dubious honor among the cable-kids.

What amuses me about Kim's story is that today, the concept of waiting for anything has become something truly out-dated. Now, I'm certainly old enough to have amassed a decent number of these revelations (being one of the very last groups of students to have made it through all my years of college without using a computer; the introduction of CD's, VHS and the internet into mass culture...) But the idea of trying to explain to one of my friends' kids how it felt to wait around to see a video, or keeping a Radio Shack portable tape player on perpetual pause while listening to Casey Kasum's Top 40 Countdown to get that one song you don't have, reminds me of trying to imagine my parents going their entire childhoods without a television. I could never wrap my head around that.

Don't get me wrong, I don't want to come off as one of those annoying agesters who believe pop culture can only be enjoyed by earning your listening/watching, etc. But I do know that I frequently pass up any number of "perfectly acceptable" songs on my iPod in favor of "what's next..."

1 comment:

  1. Ahh....the memories of "good" MTV, Joe Lynn Turner, and Alan Hunter! Love ya! Kimmy