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June 03, 2009


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Mullets with headlights?
Feathered hair?
The horror. The horror!

And the flying altar boys are creepy.

I've got to ask, at the risk of revealing my ignorance... What is a 'literal video'?

My favorite line of that is "I think he just flipped me the bird."

I remember seeing that video when it was new. I rather liked it, but no, it never made much sense (and even less now).

By the way, I did like those videos. They show more imagination than most of the mainstream stuff. I know, it's not that difficult to show more imagination than what usually consists of a bunch of thin girls baring their midriffs and wriggling their derrières. I get to see the devolution of video when I go to the gym, where monitors show things from various eras.

A literal video is a video in which the song has been redone so that the lyrics describe what is happening on the screen. It generally comes with subtitles.

I remember quite a lot of early-1980s videos from MTV back when it was new and actually showed videos. But I seem to have missed "Total Eclipse."

Susan... So, that's what a literal video is. Somehow I completely missed out on the concept when it was going on. Then again the 1980s were throwing many changes at my life that kept me otherwise occupied.

I love the ah-ha version, which Sandy has never seen before.

Now to watch more.

Serge: To clarigy, the originals of those videos are from the early 80's, but literal videos are a recent phenomemon.

And I can't spell. 'clarify' not 'clarigy' (whatever that means)

Mary Aileen,

Clarigy are ministers who are efficacious against allergies.

Susan... Clarigy are ministers who are efficacious against allergies


There were some very imaginative videos in the early days of MTV; they weren't all stock concert footage. "Thriller" is the ultimate one, of course. I think music videos as a dramatic form have real possibilities that few groups take advantage of, possibly because they are musicians, not actors.

For later stuff ('90s), Meatloaf's "I'd Lie For You (And That's The Truth)" video is a great Indiana Jones ripoff.

Susan... some very imaginative videos in the early days of MTV

There was also Peter Gabriel's stuff. And Tom Petty had that animated short that used images from Windsor McCay's "Little Nemo in Slumberland". I think the modern sad state of affairs may be a consequence of the glory days's videos trying to top each other, which meant more elaborate affairs, to the point where it became way too expensive.

(Meat Loaf as Indiana Jones? I've got to look for that on YouTube.)

Meatloaf was not Indiana Jones in the video, but the video itself is an Indy ripoff.

Susan... I wonder who that evil-looking woman garbed in black and coiffed with a matching batwinged evil hat was?

Brilliant. I, too, particularly like the "he just flipped me the bird" moment.

Clearly the original video begins as a dream sequence, and then Tyler wakes up and realises that she's living in a John Wyndham novel.

Also, I'm glad to say that's nothing like the school I'm working in. That would have had a reference to belly button piercings. Two of the girls claim they have glow in the dark ones.

I have a navel piercing. Seven piercings total. None of them glow in the dark.

Neil... Two of the girls claim they have glow in the dark ones

At first I thought you were saying that the girls glow when in the dark ones, but I couldn't figure out what 'ones' referred to. Don't you modern kids know about dashes? grumblegrmbledarnkidsgrumble

Neil... Tyler wakes up and realises that she's living in a John Wyndham novel

Tripods or triffids?

Tripods or triffids?


(Also, for Tripods you need John Christopher, not John Wyndham. I mention this merely as useful information, not criticism, because I also have a strong tendency to get those two confused.)

Don't you modern kids know about dashes?

I know of them.


Or possibly Chocky.

I never managed to take Chocky as seriously as e probably deserved. An enlightened vistor from another world really should not sound quite so much like a snack food.

I have no idea whatsoever what you guys are talking about.

But that's okay.

Carry on.

Paul A... Oops. Wrong John.

Susan... I have no idea whatsoever what you guys are talking about.

Any of it, Susan?

In retrospect, what Neil meant about Tyler being in a John Wyndham school should have been to yours truly, the Devourer of Cinéma. The 'cuckoo' is from his novel The Midwich Cuckoos, which was filmed twice as Village of the Damned: one day, everybody in a British village falls asleep; when they wake up, it is discovered that all women of child-bearing age are pregnant. The best version was the first one, from 1960. Here is its coming attraction.

As for Chocky, it is apparently about a kid who has an imaginary friend, and people think he's just going thru a phase. It turns out that the 'friend' really is an alien inside the kid's head. There are worse worse names to call an alien, but none come to mind right now.

Argh! I meant to say Chocky or Chrysalids. John Wyndham was a writer of especially English Science Fiction. I associate him with schools as Chocky was made into a children's TV series in the 80s when I was in school and was about school age children who have weird stuff happen to them and The Chrysalids was a book I had to read for school and is also about school age children and weird stuff happens.

His Wikipedia page may help to enlighten confused readers.

The Tripods are a trilogy of novels* by John Christopher and the first two were also made into a TV show in the 80s.

* Plus a prequel

Neil... Tripods is one of those many things I know of which I've never actually read or seen. I had hoped the TV series would be available on NetFlix. Alas, it's not. Was it any good?

Speaking of creepy teenagers... In the early 1960s, George Pal (producer of The Time Machine among others) tried to make a film based on Stapledon's Odd John (which I did read), with David McCullum as John. That might have been interesting.

Serge, I don't usually like alien invasion stories, but I thought the Tripod books were quite good.

Mary Aileen... By the way, I got the impression from what someone once told me that the books were published as Young Adult ones - or rather what was the closest equivalent in those day. Is that correct?

Speaking of Netflix and creepy teenagers, I watched Freaked last night. I have no idea how that got on my queueueue.

Serge, That sounds right. I got them from the library; I'm pretty sure they were in the Young Adult section. Or possibly Juvenile--it's been quite a while and I don't really remember.

It was the Wyndham and especially Chocky references that were going over my head. I'm not familiar with Wyndham or any movies made from his works (in chorus: 'cause Susan sees very few movies) and the only movie reference I was coming up for Chocky was Chucky, which I think was a horror movie about a toy. I am relieved to know that I am clueless due to lack of background as opposed to being an idiot or suffering memory loss.

John Christopher (a pseud, by the way) and the Tripods, however, I am familiar with. I read the trilogy sometime in the 1970s. They were definitely classed as YA; I probably read them around age 8 or so, before I moved to the adult section of the library. I thought they were quite good. I hadn't realized there'd been a prequel written as well. I might have to look that up. Or maybe not. I was a bit disappointed with some of my other favorites from that age, the Carbonel (King of the Cats) books, when I reread them recently.

Susan... (in chorus: 'cause Susan sees very few movies)

Is that the Chorus of a Geek Tragedy?

I hadn't realized there'd been a prequel written as well. I might have to look that up. Or maybe not.

I recommend "not". I found it disappointing even when I was that age.

I don't think of it as tragic. I think of it as having a life interesting enough to not have time to waste sitting passively in front of a movie screen very often.

Hmm, thanks. I was not strongly inclined to make the effort; now I am even less so.

Of course it's not a tragedy, Susan. It's just that you mentionned a chorus, and you have in the recent past referred to yourself as a geek. It is well known that yours truly seldom lets pass a chance at lame jokes.

As for movie-watching being a passive activity... It is a less active activity than reading, true, but it is another source of storytelling.

When I'm reading a book I don't generally get antsy for something else to do at the same time. It's a rare film or TV show that needs that much of my attention. When watching DVDs at home I am generally sewing or doing some other sort of crafting; it does not occur to me to just sit down and watch something unless I have work I need to do at the same time.

I gave up watching one of the next-gen Star Trek shows after a couple of episodes because even though I was working while I watched, I was frustrated because I had enough unused attention left to simultaneously read a novel but didn't have enough hands to turn pages while crafting.

...must... NOT!... make crack... about ST-TNG... must resist!...

Sometimes I'll have a movie on while I'm reading, but that's because I like having background noise. If I want to immerse myself in the movie's story, I don't do anything else. The closest to what you do would be my playing a favorite soundtrack (usually something by Bernard Hermann) while doing something else. When I'm working though, I turn off everything that makes a noise. I'm not sure I like what that says about my brain, but, heck, it's the only brain I have.

Tripods is one of those many things I know of which I've never actually read or seen. I had hoped the TV series would be available on NetFlix. Alas, it's not. Was it any good?


The books were good, but the TV series was slow to start, boring and spent two episodes getting distracted from the plot to give us an introduction to winemaking. Worst of all, it was cancelled after adapting two of the three novels so doesn't end properly. (from memory)

Neil... And, considering when it was made, in the pre-CGI days, the visuals are probably in the low-budget end of things. Not that it's always a bad thing: Gaiman's Neverwhere" didn't let restrictions stop it.

The invaders had a taste for grapes?

Yeah, I found out when I was in the hospital that I don't really like watching TV without something to work on in my hands. I think of the DVDs just the same way. The Explanation of Benefits from the first 14 days of the hospitalization came yesterday: $93,274.76. I don't know how much Medicare & Kaiser will really pay for that, but I only have to pay $250, which is the co-pay for the entire year, even if I get admitted again.

My favorite TV show starts the season tonight: The Closer and I'm looking forward to that.

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