Squawk Radio

Friday, June 10, 2005

Elizabeth Hallucinates Some Decent Reality

We have a saying at our house: It isn't summer 'til Liz hacks up a lung. So, just in time for the solstice, I've spent the week having my semi-annual lousy cold. (The other saying in our house is: It isn't Christmas 'til Liz hacks up a lung.) This means I've been strung out on cough syrup and hallucinating like crazy. (So obviously there are a few benefits to this thing.) Still, I'll try to be careful and not type like our friend Coonie.

Last night, my hubby fixed me my usual dinner (for this week) of saltines, two teaspoons of ginger ale and a tumbler of cough medicine--oops, I mean two teaspoons of cough medicine and a tumbler of ginger ale, of course--and then I lay down on the couch to wait for the psychedelic images to appear. But what came was even more bizarre than the usual stuff I'd experienced this week. Because there, on my TV, was The Knack performing "My Sharona," only they were all old and wrinkly and flabby. And then Tommy Tutone was doing "867-5309," only they were old and wrinkly and flabby, too, and Tommy Heath had even less hair than he did in the 80s, and it was all white.

Whoa. Cut back the dosage on the cough syrup.

So I told my husband what I was seeing, and he said, "Um, that's not a hallucination. It's a summer replacement on TV called 'Hit Me, Baby 1 More Time' where old, flabby, wrinkly bands come on and sing a medley of their hit and then do a new number by some other band. Only the original versions are cut short to appease the new short-attention-span generation."

What the !@#$%?

Normally, I would love this, because, as some of you may know, I'm The Keeper of the New Wave. I have roughly eighty billion New Wave albums from the 80s, many of which are imports by bands no normal human being has heard of. But this? Parading bands we haven't seen for decades in front of a camera to horrify us by how old and wrinkly and flabby they've become? That's just wrong. Because it makes us realize we're not exactly young and firm and slender anymore, either.

But the audience was. And they had lots and lots of hair. And they were dancing and singing along. All I could think was, "How do those kids know the words when they weren't even born when the songs were on the radio?" My husband, of course, knew. "Open bar out in the lobby, the promise of money, and somewhere up above the stage where the TV viewers can't see, they have a big karaoke sign full of lyrics."


Why didn't they ask some old, wrinkly, flabby people to be in the audience? Hell, I woulda broke out my leg-warmers and Candies to be there. Then, toward the end of the show, the camera finally pans out PAST the dancing crowd to a part of the studio where people are sitting, waaaaaaaaay back in the back, and it's--YES!--the old, wrinkly, flabby people! Of COURSE they won't give them close-ups. Hell, they won't even close in on the singers for any length of time.

That said, by the end of the show, I was loving seeing these guys again, even old and wrinkly and flabby. Because they were still rockin' after all these years, even when the music industry hadn't exactly been good to them. And they still sounded GOOD. Music is still obviously their passion, and they're not gonna give it up just because they can't perform anymore. And they still seize an opportunity to get up in front of a crowd, even though they know they're not exactly kids anymore.

It reminded me of us writers. (Clever, how I turned this into a writing blog, huh?) If you combine the years of writing-to-get-published of the six of us on this blog, it would probably come to close to a hundred years. And I think I speak for all of us when I say we didn't start because we were envisioning getting in front of an audience to perform. Yeah, we all had our eye on publication, but that's not the original reason we put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard). We did it because we had a story to tell, something inside us that needed to get out, and we were passionate about doing it.

Even if I couldn't make a living from my writing, I'd still do it. Just like Doug Fieger and Tommy Heath and Martha Davis and all those other 80s one-or-two-hit-wonders. Because I love writing as much as they obviously love music. It's a part of me. When all is said and done, I don't do it because I want to be read. I do it because I want to perform. Because I have something inside me I need to get out. And because I love it.
Elizabeth Bevarly, 10:04 AM