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In My Day...

Yes Zeitgeisters,

Be wary of any old geezer who starts a sentence with those dread words: “In my day…” If you are younger than the In-My-Dayer, then you may feel a little resentful, as Your Day – also known as The Present – is not yours by choice. Its difficult to feel that what comes after those three dangerous words is anything but a thinly-disguised attempt to elevate The Past at the expense of The Present.

And so it is with my next piece of rant-age. Youngsters, feel free to leave the room or at least turn your backs in disgust. I’m Mr Trivia and I will be your Old Geezer this evening.

One has accepted that popular music, the charts, the Billboard Top 100 and what-have-you are indicators of very little other than the most promoted acts and artists the record companies want to push. It was ever thus.

So where are headed with this Mr Triv?, I hear you ask. Well, Peaches in is the country apparently, and she is programming tonight’s edition of RAGE (free to air music videos on Australia’s national broadcaster, the ABC) and her choice of videos has reminded me of something I have been dimly aware of for a while.

More in less in a row, she programmed Pat Benatar (Love is A Battlefield, 1983), Cyndi Lauper (Time After Time, 1984), Kate Bush (Babooshka, 1980) and Sheila E (Glamourous Life, 1984). All were acts from approximately the same chunk of the 1980s. All were charting artists in their day. And suddenly, seeing them all in a bracket brought home to me how much things had changed.

At the time, you could hear Pat, Kate, Cyndi and Sheila on Top 40 radio, they weren’t particularly edgy; they were quite marketable. But compare ‘em to Nelly Furtado, Avril Lavigne and Hillary Duff (all on the Billboard Top 50 this week) and those women of the 1980s suddenly look like Riot Grrls bent on feminist revolution.

Yep, 20 years have passed and things have to change, but Britney and Jessica et al? Role models? Very young women who know a good business plan when they see one? Any chance that they might sing something that isn’t totally retro, sexist bullshit.

Avril Lavigne, who in interview seems to be under the illusion that she has strong opinions and is nobody’s puppet, has these lyrics in her song “Girlfriend”:

Hey! Hey! You! You!
I don't like your girlfriend!
No way! No way!
I think you need a new one
Hey! Hey! You! You!
I could be your girlfriend

Hey! Hey! You! You!
I know that you like me
No way! No way!
No it's not a secret
Hey! Hey! You! You!
I want to be your girlfriend

In a second you'll be wrapped around my finger
Cause I can, cause I can do it better
There's no other
So when's it gonna sink in
She's so stupid
What the hell were you thinking?

Right. So let’s see if we can sum up the point of view here. Your girlfriend is stupid. You’re kinda stupid for being her boyfriend. But despite that I still want to be your girlfriend. Bleeahhh? Anyone?

Yeah, its only a lyric. And Rick Springfield’s “Jessie’s Girl” isn’t a creepy song about a guy who stalks his best friend’s girlfriend.

Yeah, its only taste. Maybe the Pussycat Dolls are good for music and are really going where those sad, feminazis of yesteryear feared to tread. “Don’t’cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me?” Woot!

Where’s the flippin’ wit, personality, intelligence and humour, people? It’s flowed away from the mainstream and can only be found on the margins.

I’m Mr Trivia and I’ll be your Old Geezer this evening.

Elevate the Past,


Timothy Merks said…
haha I watched that! Omg that "love is a battlefield" why isnt that remade with 2007 special effects and a team of 8 writers. That was an epic blockbuster song.
M. Le Trivia said…
It was absolutely awesome. After Pat does a Norma Rae and leads the 'dance hall girls' out into the LA sunshine, they show solidarity in that very dancerly way.

Two girls on either side give pat the one-armed hug. Sisters.

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