Sunday, May 25, 2003

I remember watching my first music videos.

It was in the early '80's, when there was a show on Canadian television called "Friday Night Videos". Mom and Dad, my sister, everybody was asleep but me, and I was staying up to watch the late movie. The video show was on first, however, and I was captivated as I sat on our brown couch in our small living room with the green carpet over the old peach linoleum.

Only one video sticks in my mind from that night. There was a guy standing on a sort of pedestal, and he was dressed all in shiny black vinyl or leather, sort of a biker outfit but shiny, and he had a policeman's hat low on his head. He had big black sideburns and a pencil-thin moustache. There was a woman by his feet in a sleazy dress, sort of writhing and trying to climb up his leg through most of the song, and he was ignoring her. The guy was singing "Shoot it up, Smack Jack, shoot it up, Smack Jack, it's a drag with a monkey on your back, Smack Jack..." in a gravelly voice, and every time he would sing a word with a short "a" (smack, jack, drag, etc.) he would open his mouth and stick his tongue out almost to his chin.

I was entranced! I was confused! I had never seen anything like this in my whole life! It wasn't until the song was over and they showed who it was that I realized the singer was a woman, Nina Hagen. My mind was blown wide open. The thought running through my head was "There is a whole world out there that I know absolutely nothing about!". And then the video sort of faded from my memory as time passed. They certainly never played it on Friday Night Videos again!

Many years later, after I'd left home, I saw "NunSexMonkRock" for sale at a used record store. I bought it, ran home, put it on my record player, and there was Nina Hagen, singing "Smack Jack" for me again. I could see myself sitting on the couch watching it, remembering the feeling: revulsion and attraction swirling together, like a lava lamp. I had thought I had forgotten the video, but the world it had introduced to me had lain in my thoughts like an undercurrent, slowly pulling me towards experiences that reproduced the same feeling. I wanted purple hair (this was way before you could buy purple hair dye in any drug store!), I wanted to look shocking, I wanted to not understand everything that was put before me.

Maybe I can blame everything on Nina Hagen!! I'll bet she would't mind. Actually, I'd rather thank her. Wanting to not understand everything has been a great freedom for me.

Nov. 15, 2006--Note: Thanks to YouTube, I have been able to rewatch this video for the first time in over 20 years. I have put a link to it, but have not changed the memory as written here. I am amazed at how close my memory is to the actual video, and interested to see which parts chose to stick in my mind.

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

I'm still stuck on the wart memory (see entry below this one).

Why is that such a strong memory for me? What was it about that episode that was so important to me? I wonder if it was the aspect of being told I was a big girl? I remember often feeling disdain for grown-ups that would baby me. They'd tell me what a big girl I was, and I'd be thinking to myself, "Well, tell me something I don't know." I considered myself to be a big girl. I thought of myself as an equal player.

Now that I'm in my late 30's, I don't feel so sure about that anymore. I don't always feel like a big girl. I feel like everybody learned something in some class I must have missed in school that teaches you how to cope with life.

Maybe I'm growing backwards, like Merlin in "The Sword in the Stone." If only I felt child-like, and not childish, I could deal with that thought better. If only I gained magical innocence the older I got. If only I could regain my confidence. I don't remember where I lost it. Maybe that's why I'm doing this whole blog exercise, to find my lost confidence.

Have you seen it anywhere?

Maybe the wart memory was so important because I felt myself so distinctly separate from my mother. She wanted to see that wart, and it bugged me that she wanted to see it. I felt it was none of her business. Maybe that was the first time I ever felt certainly hasn't been the last! The wart, a symbol of my waking independance. Except not a very good symbol, because Mom won, and the wart was removed.

Geez, how depressing. How easily my strength is removed, how I'm praised for turning it over. How often do I do this? How often have I done this?
I think I've nailed down my earliest memory!

I have quite a vivid memory of having a wart removed from my foot. My mom was hassling me about it, and I kept telling her it was a lump of lipstick that I had stepped on...I didn't want her looking at it. She finally won, and I had to go the doctor. It was a huge plantar's wart.

I remember laying on the doctor's table. I remember the doctor, bald, glasses, with a kind face, telling me "This is going to burn a bit, but you're a brave girl, right?" I didn't say anything, but determined that I would not make a fuss. I WAS a brave girl, and I was going to show them. It did hurt, quite a bit, but all I did was clench my fist. When the procedure was over, my mom and the doctor praised me endlessly..."What a brave girl!!" I was so proud of myself!

I was talking with my mom about this just the other day. I asked her how old I was when this took place. She tells me I was two and a half years old! Wow!! The memory is so clear, with so much detail...I find it hard to believe that I was only two.