January 2nd, 2007


freaky muzak, and a movie

This evening in the Bed, Bath & Beyond I was walking along, minding my own business (pretty much), when what should I hear starting up in the speakers up above me somewhere but Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, blip blip blip blip blip blip blip blip...

It worries me, this kind of thing
How you hope to live alone and
Occupy your waking hours
We're taking sides again
I just wept; I couldn't understand
Why you started this again

And every day you send me more
What makes it worse is it's a plan of yours
To ensure I don't forget
I'd write and tell you that I've burnt them all
But you never send me your address
And I've, I've kept them anyway

So don't ask me if I think it's true that
Communication can bring hope to those who
Have gone their separate ways
It hardly touched me when it should have then
But memories are uncertain friends
When recalled by

It's a song I know well from its obscure flash-in-the-pan days, as T****a T****k thought it was way cool, and T****a T****k was a lesbian, and in fact a lesbian who seemed to think that being a lesbian not only was nothing to hide but was in fact a source of extra cool points somehow. This concept fascinated me. And so did the song, at least enough to type out its lyrics on my dad's Olivetti Underwood electric with the lovely square green keys. (Oh how I miss that typewriter.) Only the thing is, I hit an extra letter in the title, so it was "Messafges" on my sheet of lyrics. Which I left that way, cuz I liked it a lot. And the word "messafges"---meaning mixed-up unusual intense yet goofy messages---was in my mental vocab for quite a bit after that. 'Cept I'd forgotten all about it until I heard that song starting up in the big box store.

In Hiller's not too long ago they played "Don't Put Another Dime In That Jukebox (I Don't Want To Hear That Song No More)."

What seems so improbable about these songs being on the muzak feed is that they weren't on the radio when they came out. They were obscure. They were on college radio, maybe, and in some (say) dance situations, but not in any mainstream public space. And, what's more, as far as I know, since the '80s they'd never gotten to more mainstream space, like in some kind of video retrospective thingie on the M-Television or such, until this particular rebirth as shopping background tunes.

So it's kinda like weird magic to hear one in a store, and have all the other people walk around like it's nothing. You know, when, back in the day, I had to search many a used record bin to get a copy (of the Jukebox song), or had, taped to my dorm room wall, these mysterious typed lyrics from this song the mysterious proud lezbo liked so well (and it wasn't always easy to find much to like in her taste of the moment in those days, I confess).

I watched the second half of Lost Horizon tonight---the Frank Capra "classic" I'd never seen. I actually liked it. It was surely quite something in 1937. What struck me as kinda poignant about it is that it's about this paradise-y Shangri-La, in which, in addition to there being peace and high ideals (with a few glaring exceptions), you live so much longer than you would in the real world--- yet, cuz there aren't any complete surviving prints of the film, and only most of the footage to go with the extant complete soundtrack could be located, they substitute still production photos for moving footage a coupla times (for 7 minutes, total)--- reminding us, right in media res, that this film hasn't aged so much less or lived so much longer than its comparable fellows, to the point that we can't even watch it all. In the extras there are also a couple of deleted scenes that don't have sound, so the restorer dude fills in the dialogue, where he can do so from the shooting script.

I found myself thinking again about that fascinating short at the AA Film Fest a coupla years ago, made of disintegrating old footage with a new soundtrack, and its fading-in-and-out, almost-gone figures looking as if they're reaching out to us from the past, struggling not to fade away into full nothingness as their images are increasingly swallowed up by time. So funny, how mortality (as well as preservation) is a "textual" theme of Lost Horizon, and its only partially preserved self speaks to that theme in its restored DVDness as well.

I also had a strong drink tonight & felt kinda carefree afterwards, but then succeeded in worrying that it might be bad that the drink had me feeling good, so took care of THAT "problem." Whew!