Wednesday, February 6, 2008

They Are All in Love

I was watching MTV yesterday, with no sound, a show called "Cribs" while impersonating a hamster on a wheel as I wore sweatpants on a treadmill. I know, I said I'm not a big fan of treadmills and I'm not, but there's just so many days in a row and so many laps in those days, I can use the running/walking oval built overhead into the fitness center. We go past one another all the time without seeing each other, and with good reason: people who think they are getting back into shape are ugly. Or at least I am. With a treadmill I stare straight ahead while listening to tunes on my mp3 player, and distracting myself with a little tiny TV in the front of the treadmill.

One segment of the program, which looks like a mutant variation of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous but without Robin or Shari getting all up in your grill and $hit, if you follow my drift, was a fellow I’d never heard of, in a band whose name is entirely unfamiliar to me, with a white Lexus and a blue Jeep Liberty with a big hot tub in the backyard that has underwater lights that change colors. Back in the high life again, I suppose. He also had one of those itty-bitty motorcycles, yellow in color, that comes to about your knees and when you rev it, it makes a noise like that stupid internet Crazy Frog, while you resemble an outtake from a circus clown audition as you ride it. And despite the heartfelt hopes of a grey-haired hamster, as he sped down the street he didn't run smack into a parked car or truck, but off into the horizon.

Another segment had a guy, Bret Somebody, who was in one of those 80's hair bands, the kind that had STACKS of Marshall amps, fourteen hundred guitars, three chords, bandanas for everyone and spandex leisure suits. I think Bret had/has a show on VH-1, a relative of MTV aimed at the geriatrics of the generation who, unlike The Ox and Moon the Loon, didn't die before they got old. The show is reminiscent of The Dating Game but with benefits (I try to NOT think too much about what happens AFTER the cameras stop rolling. I'd fall off the treadmill.) In this segment of "Cribs", Bret has two youngish (preteen) children and a white-blond fright-wigged woman (posed like a prop in his kitchen, as if he, or she (for that matter) cooks) leading me to wonder if anybody in his house has ever watched his VH-1 show. I think not.
Bret spent a lot of time riding his big motorcycle (do you, too, detect, a theme to these shows?) up and down the main hallway in his house, which, I suspect tests the cleaning power of that Dyson vacuum he meant to show us but didn't.

I mentioned Bret was a hair band icon and I don't want you to think I use that term disparagingly or even jealously. From a distance, overhead, it appears I have a bald spot but that's not what it is. In the course of nearly 56 years here on the ant farm, I've gained HUGE amounts of knowledge. So much, in fact, my brain has probably doubled in size and my skull has had to expand to accommodate my brain. In turn, my larger skull has created a severe scalp shortage which manifests itself as what seems to be a bald spot. I like to think of it as my Smart Patch. I'm just hoping I'm smart enough to remember to wear a hat on a sunny day since Coppertone isn't always the best option.

Years ago, an acquaintance suggested you could take every member of Ratt, Guns 'N' Roses, Poison, Faster Pussycat, Quiet Riot, Kix, Whitesnake, Great White, Motley Crue, ad infinitum ad nauseum, shove them in a sack, whack the sack with a bat and you'd hit the right one. As long as no hair was harmed in the making of that demonstration, I suspect he's right.


I don't dislike 80's hair bands. I very much enjoyed them and bought their records. I don't play those records anymore, but I have them as a reminder of that moment in time where success and excess collided. They were very much of their moment-which is now gone though they've soldiered on. I could expect to find an Elvis Presley album or, perhaps, Meet The Beatles or Sergeant Pepper in a time capsule. I don't think any of the hair bands are heading that way, and that's as may be. It does underscore yet again, how there are currents and tides in life and how what was old can become new again (though hopefully that's not so true for elephant bell-bottom dungarees).

I never got my parents' music, and my children, in turn, never got mine. In a way, I succeeded, despite my efforts to the contrary, in becoming my own father. Often while watching programs on channels like MTV (the "M" originally stood for 'music' which they used to actually play, back in the day) my ears hear his words, but in my voice saying, "Don't make me pull over."

Champagne wishes and caviar dreams.
-bill kenny

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