Here is my review of Antiphonies for Galatea Ressurects, specifically an anthology of Canadian, women’s and experimental poetry edited by Nate Dorward.
Friday, December 23, 2011
I flutter at the cluttered atrocities of popular music and entertainers. I mean, omigod, they preach the strange and enticing. An unexamined meaning persists, thrilling yet unqualified.
Years ago, I saw a picture of the New Kids on the Block, back when they were both new and kids. Everything seemed to be arranged, pregnant with meaning. The clothing, the rat tail, the postures, the gestures, the everything. They were selling something, they were selling everything.
Wham! constitutes just more more example. Two videos offer plenty to pursue.
First that ridiculously peppy “Wake Me Up Before You go Go Go.” It might drive your crazy, but you cannot take away how infectious this song is. I find it hard to imagine anyone wanting to sing that first line but it all works out. There’s no weightbearing structure but it is lighter than air.
One might be blinded by the cleanness and brightness of everyone involved in this video. Everyone shines. White is the choice for apparel colour. George and Andrew look happy and marvelous. They skitter about the stage in what we eventually realize is a rehearsal. The band and singers all look cheerful backing up the wonderful boys.
George dances an energetic but silly looking club sort of expression. Andrew wields his guitar like a prop. And everyone’s so happy. The lyric suggests the dark possibility of abandonment, but qualifies that with perkiness.
At one point, George at his gleamingest gets some face time. He sits with arms across his chest in a pose that recalls Marilyn Monroe. The lyric is something like “It’s cold outside but it’s warm in here”. He uses his eyes to point outside, and sort of rolls them to indicate in here. It’s all eye candy contrivance.
Midway thru the vid, the white pants of George and Andrew transform into shorts. You can see that George chooses slightly shorter shorts. I’m reminded of Officer Dangle on Reno 911. Tho an eager audience is intimated, we don’t really get that patented fake fun audience excitement that many vids have expressed. The camera’s too intent on the performers, especially and of course George.
There are some out takes, real or not. I mean, a couple of back up singers get their hand gestures wrong: that looks real. George and Andrew are supposed to meet center stage and bend forward toward the camera. In one instance, George overshoots the mark and winds up in front of Andrew. Andrew shoves him hilariously aside and laughs. Well, that hits close to home, we now know. Andrew now tells people he was that dark haired guy in Wham! Really!
I have no idea what Andrew contributes. It astonished me to hear years ago that George was voted Songwriter of the Year in Britain. On the strength of this??? I’ll grant he hits the high notes nicely, not falsetto but real singin’. This confection seems like the only song by him/them that isn’t mush, not to reveal my tastes too much.
The second vid is “Last Christmas”. I never heard the song until literally last Christmas. I remember that Michael had that sex song featuring his butt. I cannot recall the tune but it wasn’t upbeat was it? Seems like he eschewed upbeat after Go Go.
Anyway, “Last Christmas” is a dreadful, obnoxiously whiny song. George Michael, unlucky in love. It is as puerile as Go Go, but without the ameliorating energy. Having suffered a broken heart last year, this year he will give it to someone special. He pronounces special with embarrassing breathiness. Contrived and cheesy. That’s the song. You can sensibly hate it.
The vid goes classic with a gestured story. A gang of clean, attractive people gather at a chalet for a ski vacation. I presume that after finishing the vid they made a tooth whitener commercial to pay for it. Andrew is just one of the gang, smooching and hugging his girlfriend.
George arrives with a blonde. He sees a brunette who clearly is Last Christmas. The rest of the vid shows George with frownie face. His blonde friend melts into the crowd and George rests lingering eye on the brunette. Don’t worry, the entirely new and original tableau of the two having a snowball fight that ends up with them rolling together in the snow has been activated. And I guess things turn out well for George.
Now, I have suggested what became of Andrew but I do not know what happened to George. Did assignations in men’s toilets kill his career, or perhaps drugs. I’m thinking neither has to. Maybe his career is fine and I just don’t know it. He’s old now, tho.
Get thee here for numero seventeen of Eileen Tabios’ review blog. Your Love Boat captain has several reviews, to wit:
Monday, December 19, 2011
Nobody woke with boundless energy yesterday, day after our party. At the crack of mid-afternoon, however, Beth and I saw that we needed to visit the mall. Not for Christmas shopping, we don’t do much of that, just to tour around. We are intelligent observers. Beth sees the economy almost as a living body by visiting the mall.
Excuse me if I revert to narrative here. My interest in narrative hangs less in the actions but how the actions transform in the writing. Think of Henry James. His novels and stories hardly overflow with action. He writes within the structure of these vague narrative points, embracing details. I intend in writing these tangential trails to embrace the details, cogently. And so…
The mall looked a-bubble as we approached, tho we saw parking availability. The Patriots versus God was about to begin on TV, so that could have diminished the mob some. The temperature was in the 20s. We haven’t been scraping that low so that may have kept some home.
A long line at Sears’ registers as we entered. I have to admit that I might rethink purchasing an item if the line looks daunting. I know, man up. Some people totally freak out about the lines and hubbub. I don’t, but the lines do make me review how great an item I am, or perhaps am not, purchasing.
One storefront featured a village scene, with small figures and buildings, some trains and such like. It reminded me of The Enchanted Village, which was for years a staple of the Christmas Season in Boston. Located at Jordan Marsh, a department store swallowed mercilessly by Macy’s, it was a room full of mechanically animated figures in a village scene. I saw it as a child, majestically impressed. This was a smaller version. One house had figures dancing inside.
The specific store that offered this pleasantry turned out to be a Christmas junk store. It was one of those transient stores that pop up for an intense couple of months to serve a specific need. In this case, Christmas decorations. One could buy all the pieces displayed in the window, which is tempting tho logistically impossible for this child.Maybe it is the God’s eye view that draws me. The carpet of this store was furiously dirty, like I’m even the guy to notice such a thing. No time to clean, gotta manifest a singularly quick profit.
Marilyn Monroe ornaments in iconic subway surprise. It is just not Christmas till you’ve seen Marilyn’s underwear. To be honest, I never really got Homer Simpson as giant Santa Claus in the yard. Or Santa Claus on a motorcycle giant inflatable. Etc.
The Apple Store had a surprisingly junky window display. A bunch of junky looking cartoonish pictures. Not classy, not involving. I officially tire of slick. Apple offers disposable elegance, as if the thin and spare design of their toys improves what it delivers. Didn’t even go in. Oh, by the way, we’re mining your iPhone for data.
We did not enter Betsey Johnson either, but watched the TV there. On previous visits, I thunk the person in the vids was Suzanne Somers, which made no sense. Now I understand that that oldish comedic blonde there is Betsey herself. We see her cavorting both alone and with models. A little unconvincing with her elevated gayety. The models stand literally a head taller than Betsey, and take a guess how much lighter they weigh. The necessity to select in that way, and the dear things are as expressive as that Robert Palmer video, it seems creepy. It’s not like you see a lot of 6’ tall generic models in the store. The point, then?
Nordstrom glistened. Notably, for me, a guy slipped on the floor, almost banana split before he recovered. He even left rubber. He gawked at the spot, legitimately puzzled by how slippery. Nothing looked wowzer at this time.
Inevitably we entered Eddie Bauer. Plus ca change. Jeans, which I call dungarees unless I fear to sound like a yokel, seem diminished now. Thin material, not outdoor ready. Beth has noted that the cut of clothes looks slimmer. Less emphasis on the outdoor stuff. Bodes not well. Picked up a little flashlight that can be recharged by cranking the crank or with light. I prefer walking home from work down the path into the woods than the longer road route with headlights in my eyes. And 40% off!!!
Sunday, December 18, 2011
I walk to work down a former railroad cut (down what had been one of the oldest rail lines in the nation). Basically, a walk in the woods. It comes out near the centre.
As I came to the crosswalk on South Rd, you know, across from that red house, I heard dogs barking and a woman yelling. I looked to see a dog in the neighbouring yard racing toward me. Interesting, thinks I. I assumed that an invisible fence existed to keep such steadfast energy at bay. The dog passed out of the yard and came to greet me with teeth flashing. Two other dogs joined the first in harassing me. The first dog leaped toward my face, which in my estimation is not a good thing. The other dogs came at me in good canine fashion, from all sides.
I had a pack to sort of fend the first dog with, then I felt a dog biting me from, and on the, behind. By this time a frantic woman arrived yelling at the dogs. I noticed that the first dog wore a leash, which the woman tried to grab. When she did she pulled that dog away and was able to voice command the others off. She asked me if I was okay and I said yes. I went on my way.
That sort of quick event leaves you in a daze, and I think my processing speed aint lightning quick anyway. I found it odd that I never felt an adrenalin rush. As someone who has run 50,000 miles, I’ve met a few dogs that have found various ways to remonstrate with me. This attack, however, beats any of that. I’ve always treated such as consciously calmly as possible, otherwise dogs become more aggressive. But the attack was so quick and vicious, I would expect to have felt a rush.
As I proceeded—somewhat dazedly—I thought, what if a child…? I determined to call the police when I got to work. I also discovered that both shirts that I wore, and the back pocket of my dungarees were torn. I hadn’t noticed.
So, at work I called the police and an officer came and interviewed me. I detailed the attack, told the officer I was unhurt. When Beth picked me up at ten, she inquired if I had looked for wounds. Well, I had not. When I did, I found that I had been punctured on the butt and the upper thigh. That meant a visit to the Emergency Room.
Emergency Room always = 3 hours. And so it proved. Watched that animated movie with the square headed guy and the chubby boy in the flying house, weirdly vicious but cutely hilarious in portraying dogs endearingly. After that, with a thumb thru of People, was (inexplicably) The 700 Club, which featured a commercial of Pat Boone sleazily hocking gold. Did you know Tim Tebow loves Jesus? Praise the Lord.
The dr spent about 5 minutes with me, with a perfunctory glance at the wound and an explanation of rabies. A nurse gave me a tetanus shot, and we left after 1:00.
I got 6 hours sleep then rose to decorate the Christmas tree and otherwise prepare for our party. We had to shop, and I made a visit to the police station to see what next, and also to say that I had indeed been injured. I still await determination whether the dogs had had their shots. Turns out an invisible fence was in place, but dogs in their excitement can get thru them. And once thru, I know, they are reluctant to go back.
I made three loaves of bread and two types of apple pie, one traditional American, the other a so called Swedish, tho it was definitely more than sweetish. Beth did all the heavy lifting with roast beef, roasted Brussel sprouts and salad and cheese and stuff. Wine poured, and all was well.