Saturday, November 26, 2005

What's Your Fantasy? Holiday Edition: There Won't Be Snow in Africa

NOTE from Meimei: I apologize in advance for the lack og JPEG links to this story, but if you have some at hand I'd appreciate it. Thanks.

Between INXS and Duran Duran, it seems as if this blog has a strange fixation on '80s music - not that there's anything wrong with that, per se, but I was old enough to hear this stuff on the radio, so it makes sense.

Let's face it, the guys back then were mighty cute, in spite of the unfortunate hairdos. Take, for example, the video for “Do They Know It's Christmas?” I remember seeing this on TV for the first time and thinking that I could watch this forever; twenty years later, it's still watchable, but at least for the snark value. Consider:

- Paul Young, who would later give us “Every Time You Go Away” and other cheeseball hits. Looking back, doesn't he remind you a bit of Bill Nighy in Love Actually?

- George Michael: There were two reasons why I never liked him back then: his foofy hair, and his Brite Smile teeth. (Oh, and “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go.” Ew.) Now I appreciate him more for the music, but still.

- Simon Le Bon. Oh, how much I love Simon, but he sounded like he was hiccuping through his solo (”when you're having PFHFFFUuuuuuuunnnnnhhhhh....”) and he looked really sedated behind the microphone. Apparently Bruce Springsteen had the same problem during the video for “We Are The World,” too - and you know how much I love my Bruce to this day, so maybe there was something going around.

- Sting. Oh, how much I used to not love Sting. (I blame the video for “Synchronicity.”) But look at him, with a lot more hair and a lot less wrinkling, with his cute plaid shirt. And then he became... Sting. (TM Will Ferrell and Jack Black at the Oscars)

- Tony Hadley. Yes, the guy from Spandau Ballet. (Sing it with me: “I knooooow this. Much is. TRUE!”) Him and Simon were my boyfriends back in grade school. He was cute when he had the mullet. Because of him I sat through all the other videos for Spandau Ballet, knowing that they made the Duran Duran videos look like It's A Wonderful Life. But I guess he's doing well now, especially after getting sampled by PM Dawn on “Set Adrift on Memory Bliss” and settling down with the wife and kids.

- And then there was this annoying dark-haired guy with a red nose, who butts in and yells, “Well, TAH-NIGHT THANK GOD it's THEM, INSTEAAAAD of YOOOUUUUUU!” Oh, hello - you must be Bono.

Subsequent viewings revealed the presence of other artists that I liked back then, including Tears for Fears (I remember Curt being there, but... Roland too? Hmmm) and Paul Weller (who might have been in the Style Council phase at that time). Then there was also Bananarama and Sade, who I would end up forgetting about until much later. And Phil Collins, who still annoys me.

This, in a nutshell, was the '80s for me - bad hair, half-conscious yelping, and people singing about how "there won't be snow in Africa this Christmas time."

But all of that would change for me in one afternoon when I turned on the TV at a friend's house and became enraptured bytwo especially gritty videos played back-to-back: “With or Without You” and “Need You Tonight.” The latter, of course, was my formal introduction to Michael Hutchence and Our Band: INXS. And the former... well, I can't say enough about this, because it's still one of the most beautiful clips I had ever seen, and to this day I could not believe that the handsome lead singer in that video was actually the same Bono who used to annoy me, so make of that what you will.

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