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Internet Killed the Video Star


The only stations worth hearing in a college town are from a garage floor soaked in motor oil. My sister has a boyfriend with a sister at NYU who knows Martha Quinn and Martha bought these boots in New York and sent them home with her. Somehow my sister has them now. Martha Quinn’s leather boots! MTV launches on a weekday, I think. I run home from school because I want to see A Flock of Seagulls. They look nothing and exactly like I thought they would. I want to wear a trash bag to school. Maybe make a belt out of headlights. Early videos were fragments, unrelated images that made you create a story where there was none. But I liked seeing televisions smashed by sledgehammers and slow motion hand clapping. Because everyone should slow motion hand clap just once…for the delayed gratification. Then MTV’s 120 Minutes every Sunday night at 11 pm — the best reason to fail Biology on Monday. Then good videos vanish and there is this nothingness for a while. Static. But radio is finally better. Ohio gets an alternative station within signal distance. Albums die. CDs live. Lollapalooza does its best first show and I miss it because my priorities are a damn boy instead of music. I’ve never regretted anything so much ( get my ass in a tardy). Music seems to be at its best, but MTV is beginning its quick decent and eventual transformation into anything other than music. I’m talking somewhere around 1993 at this point. Computers are just beginning to see the silver horizon. My friend had an IBM in 1988. We could only play cheap video games, so basically it was a box full of potential that was still wrapped in packing tape. But under the surface the internet is in a bomb shelter planning to change the landscape. Then it happened. No need to give away the year because everyone remembers when they first logged onto anything. Now we go from downloads to YouTube, Pandora, Spotify, Slacker radio. Anticipation dies a little bit with each new vehicle. You don’t anticipate what is convenient. No more waiting for the video rotation on MTV. No more requesting songs from DJs that think they’re too cool to play the coolest bands that they don’t know exist…yet. No more falling asleep in school after staying up until 1 a.m. on Sunday to see the world premier video. No more waiting. For Anything. Even during a slow connection, I only have to wait 30 seconds to see a video. Love my free internet radio with skip limits and customization. But, I liked my MTV too; my DJs who loved music as much as I did. My awe moment when A-ha/ Take on Me premiered. Because let’s be honest here, that video is still so next decade that videos are still trying to catch up. My wish is that videos would stop being shot on phones. Start looking like short films. Start catching up with the past. Maybe this time we can smash a Mac with a sledgehammer and record it on an iPhone. How ironic would that be?

About Ara Harris

Music junkie, Atari 2600 bringer backer, word maker upper, loves to photograph and write about suburban decay. Ara grew up on a corner lot in small town Ohio. She began escaping the micro minds of the Midwest by listening to music, watching b films, and touring the cities in her mind. She wrote poetry on the back of algebra tests and asked Lou Reed to take her to prom. Two decades later she self published a full collection of poetry that one reader described as “a Tom Verlaine riff in every synapse”. She believes that we all have a gift, we just have to find it.

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