(YouTube — the lazy or busy blogger’s best friend!)
I’m old enough to remember the dawn of MTV. I remember Martha, JJ, Alan, Nina, and Mark. I remember seeing all kinds of videos that got dropped from the rotation once major acts took notice of the medium. I remember the long musical interludes the channel would often have going on while, I dunno, they rewound all the tapes or something. In those early days the main theme was that people really weren’t sure what to do with these videos. Sometimes it was just a straight-up performance. Sometimes it was a straight-up performance in an unusual location. Some bands told stories with their videos (such as the classic “Twilight Zone” by Golden Earring.) A large majority of them just threw whatever they could at the screen and hoped something stuck. With all the different experiments going on, eventually someone was going to go for “creepy”.
There are four videos I remember giving me the heeby-jeebies when I was a kid. The first was “Ashes to Ashes” by David Bowie, particularly the image of Bowie hung in a web of tubes. Two of the other three were “Draw of the Cards” by Kim Carnes and, believe it or not, “Waiting for a Girl Like You” by Foreigner. I really can’t tell you what it was about them that spooked me, as I don’t really remember and I haven’t been able to find them online to see. (I presume for the Foreigner one it’s something more than just “Oh God, I’m listening to Foreigner.”)
The final one is “Icehouse” by the band Icehouse. And thanks once again to Bitter Andrew, it has been located. Here’s one of the videos that creeped me out as a kid:
Watching it now, over twenty years later, it occurs to me that the reason I probably found it creepy is because IT’S GODDAMN CREEPY.
I’m reminded of another thing that spooked me as a kid (I was pretty easily spooked, all told), some show about Nostradamus I saw on HBO. I don’t know how old I was, but when I asked my Dad to sit in the room with me until I fell asleep, he gave me grief about how I was too old for that sort of thing.
Years later he brought up this event, saying, “I know that I was really down on you for feeling scared at that, and I want to apologize. Because that show came on last night, and I watched it and holy crap it was scary!”
As long as we’re on the subject, I was also spooked by the idea of subliminal and “Satanic” messages in rock music, as well as the whole “Paul is dead” thing.
I really was a bit of a wuss, I guess.