If you have ever seen me zooming around town on my orange Vitacci scooter, there’s never a question of “Oh, I wonder if that’s Johnny?” You know. The wild flailing arms, the beating of invisible drums, air guitars cranking, lots of dramatic pointing: Here! Now! There! You! Me! The sky!
I admit it. From the minute I saw my first music video (yes I saw the first day of MTV…at a friend’s house, we couldn’t afford “cable” then. God, I’m so dating myself) I was addicted to living my life as if I was being followed by a camera crew. Whether I was singing in my bedroom growing up in Greenville SC (first song memorized? “Have You Never Been Mellow,” Olivia Newton John“) or walking to catch the bus after I got a Walkman (that’s when I really took off: the added dramatic folurishes provided by walking and later spinning) I became THE star of my own video. Forever after that, I saw myself from the vantage point of someone watching me from their TV set at home or on a movie screen. Got that? If you know me, this makes perfect sense and may answer some questions for you too! Happy to oblige. Cereally.
Anywhoo, it was in 1980, on Entertainment Tonight and it was piece on a short “music film” that Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers made for one of their first singles, “Refugee.” As I recall, the short ET piece by Mary Hart, was all wide-eyed (at that time, she was naturally that way) and curious about this new form of “video” and that if it proved successful other bands “were sure to follow suit.” Um, yeah, good work Mary! I remember it was so cool seeing it, better than concert footage or the lipsyncing that was so popular on shows like American Bandstand, The Midnight Special or Solid Gold (dating!). It WAS like a mini-movie and the songs suddenly came to life, they were no longer just words that could be about anything/one/place…now they had REAL (?) meaning.
The whole concept changed my life, seriously. In fact, I later realized a dream because of this life-changing art form when I appeared on Club MTV for 2 seasons from 1988-1990. It was a triple threat: dancing on a national TV show ON MTV in the famed Palladium nightclub; hanging out with the rock stars (Milli Vanilli! Was Not Was! Martika!) at after parties at Nell’s) and wait for it...Fan Mail! I’ll never forget that time and I admit it took up a whole 2.5 minutes of my Andy Warhol-given 15 minutes of FAME. Yes, I dole mine out in increments and I still have about 5 minutes to go; they come in 30-second blocks now…ha!
There’s a text picture floating around the internet (which I know I’ve seen on Pinterest but can’t find currently) that says: “When I’m in the car and a sad song comes on the radio, I stare out the window and act like I’m in a movie! Do you do that?” Well, I do that. And I have done that with music since that first Tom Petty clip. When I moved to NYC and SanFrancsico it was even “worse” because both of those places ARE sets to films/videos and that made it even “better” to pretend. For me at least. For my fellow train/subway passengers? Not so much.
So, back to today and my Scooter Dancing (it used to be car seat dancing, but I changed)…something about the wind in my hair, earbuds deeply embedded and my Rdio app on my phone with all my fave songs/artists/albums and playlists…it just crystallizes in my mind and I am the video star I almost was (ha!). The perspective from the scooter is perfection (ooh, alliteration); I can see the camera whirring around my head and see myself as others must (may?) see me from their cars or on the street. I know they can hear me. Oh yes honey, I am totally singing along to all the songs I listen too. I am not a singer per se, but I give it the old college try and from the heads of bystanders and street folks whipping around not to mention the other drivers (either giving me the thumbs up or honking in salute…I think that’s why they are honking) I can be heard.
Which leads me to my current SVS (Scooter Video Single). It’s called “Free” and it’s by Graffiti6. You can see the band’s version of the video (LOL) here, or catch me around town this week for my interpretation of it. I find now that until I give a song a whirl on my scooter, I haven’t fully embraced it; I don’t own it yet. I used to feel that way about music and grass, but I changed. : )
The song has all kinds of lyrics that make it perfect for SVS. “I can’t lie here beside you,” “I stay in love, in love with you,””I can’t live without you,” “‘Cause you steal my soul when you leave…” Lots of the use of YOU. It’s THE pointing word, ya know. And if you have read any of my other posts, follow me on Facebook or Twitter, know me…or probably even just met me once, you know this: I am a hopeFULL romantic, a music lover and well, a bit dramatic. Just a bit. Wanna see for yourself? Look for the dancing guy on the orange scooter. Now at least you know what I am listening, singing and scooter dancing to. For this week, at least. Now next week, well, stay tuned. That’s a whole 6 days away.