Monday, February 01, 2010

Web 2.0 Wayback Machine :: Boomtown Rats' "I Don't Like Mondays"

I saw a post on a FB wall that made me think of this song and video.

There's something about early-80s music videos that evokes an era when the genre was experimental. It makes me think of Susan Sontag's "Notes on 'Camp'"::
"Camp is a vision of the world in terms of style -- but a particular kind of style. It is the love of the exaggerated, the "off," of things-being-what-they-are-not. The best example is in Art Nouveau, the most typical and fully developed Camp style. Art Nouveau objects, typically, convert one thing into something else: the lighting fixtures in the form of flowering plants, the living room which is really a grotto. A remarkable example: the Paris Métro entrances designed by Hector Guimard in the late 1890s in the shape of cast-iron orchid stalks."
She goes on to say that that art nouveau shouldn't be equated with "camp" Art nouveau has content linked to politics and utopian ideals, but it has elements that disengages it from, in my opinion, an overwrought sense of what it is and "wants" to be, further defining it.
"Thus, the Camp sensibility is one that is alive to a double sense in which some things can be taken. But this is not the familiar split-level construction of a literal meaning, on the one hand, and a symbolic meaning, on the other. It is the difference, rather, between the thing as meaning something, anything, and the thing as pure artifice. "
I say this, because while the video has campy elements, the song lyrics are quite serious. Bob Geldof wrote the song in the wake of a schoolyard shooting, where Brenda Ann Spencer shot and killed two adults and injured eight children in San Diego on 29 January 1979. Her infamous quote, "I don't like Mondays; this livens up the day." Geldof explained why he wrote the song to Smash Hits via Wikipedia::
"I was doing a radio interview in Atlanta with Fingers and there was a telex machine beside me. I read it as it came out. Not liking Mondays as a reason for doing somebody in, is a bit strange. I was thinking about it on the way back to the hotel, and I just said 'Silicone chip inside her head had switched to overload'. I wrote that down. And the journalists interviewing her said, 'Tell me why?' It was such a senseless act. It was the perfect senseless act and this was the perfect senseless reason for doing it. So perhaps I wrote the perfect senseless song to illustrate it. It wasn't an attempt to exploit tragedy."
Even though I was a kid, I remember this story well and it was shortly after a deadly plane crash in the North Park neighbourhood of San Diego on 25 September 1978. Both of these stories were heavily covered on the news in Los Angeles.

Twitterversion:: #Web2_0WaybackMachine:: Boomtown Rats' I Don't Like Mondays. Thoughts of oldschool musicvideos & S.Sontag's Notes on Camp @Prof_K

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