"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Happy 25th Birthday, MTV! Wherever you are...

Twenty-five years ago today, video killed the radio star.

Actually, it didn't. It created more radio stars than it killed.

Why I loved MTV:

Popular music and the music biz has always been an interest of mine.

I married a former dj, currently a broadcast and music industry researcher/consultant.

I'm a born fangirl.

The marriage of music and film techniques was, to me, a beautiful, wondrous thing.

I work from home and work to music--either on the radio, stereo, or television.

So MTV was like a gift to me. I adored it. I grew addicted to it. Music videos were my life--I'd plan my day around premieres of new videos from artists I loved. At university, I helped my tv production students make music videos of local bands.

MTV wasn't my only source for music videos. I had a local show called Teletunes, on public television, which was edgier--more New Wave and Grunge, no pop or Top 40 stuff. And no commercials. But it only ran on the weekends.

Nobody in the world would guess that I was penning my novels, living in a Jane Austen world, while banging my head to Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit," or humming along to the Cure's "Fascination Street." Or watching "120 Minutes," which I videotaped each week 'cause it was on so late.

Needless to say, when MTV jumped the shark, I was bereft. At some point, it was all about programs and series, not videos. Just try to find a video on MTV nowadays.

Sure, there's "TRL," but I can't imagine how people know what videos to request, since it's so hard to see a video at all. I didn't care about Beavis and Butthead, or the "Real World," or Nick and Jessica, or "Pimp my Ride." And never will.

I just want videos. Constantly.

For a while, I could rely on MTV2. Then it stopped playing videos all the time, or when videos were on, it was a steady stream of rap and hip hop.

As for VH1, they took the "video" out of VH1 a long time ago.

If you want music videos, about the only place you can find them is on CMT. And that's not really my type of music.

It's so refreshing, travelling to other countries. The international MTVs still seem to exist to show videos, day and night.

Luckily, our satellite system offers alternatives to the MTV Networks. I can rely on FUSE and IMF (International Music Feed). The other night on FUSE, we watched several hours of Green Day--videos and interviews, and "Comp'd" featured a live club concert.

Although I can still get my video fix when I need, neither FUSE nor IMF have the amazing back catalog of music videos that MTV is sitting on. The oldies and the goodies I remember so well from the earlier golden years. In my opinion, a Classic or Nostalgia MTV service belongs on the Basic service tier of every cable and satellite provider.

I thought about watching MTV today, for old time's sake. But according to most press reports, they aren't planning anything special.

I don't think they want to remember how old they are. Or that somebody in my demographic used to tune in almost every minute of every day.

Since they don't care about me any longer, I can't care about them, either.

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