Monday, February 14, 2005

The curse of the spaghetti top

An online friend popped a question today morning: "It's a Sunday, and you're at work?" Well, yes, I have been at work on every Sunday since early December (Hint to rota-maker). But today, rather than feel all glum about it, I was determined to make it a happy Sunday, with as much excitement as company policy allowed. So, Mtv was turned on. A remix played. I switched over to Channel [v], where a remix featured a woman wearing a spaghetti top and very little else, thrusting her pelvis in a manner that had Govinda answering awkward questions a decade ago.

Right. Back to Mtv. The 'Jaadoo Teri Nazar' remix was on. At least this was hummable. Then came a Bally Saggoo [Big sic. 'Sagoo' actually] video and I had to watch. Partly because I hadn't seen or heard of the man for a long time, and if I had to hear a remix, I'd rather it be from him than the other Times Music productions.

But just then, a colleague, S Rajesh, walked in and asked what was special about remixes. In truth, it was a question I had used more as a comment to pass judgement in the past, but here I tried explaining why this remix was good.

1) "Umm, it's good because he breaks down every element of the song and rebuilds it in a way that is familiar, yet different."

2) "Well, it's not targeted to you or me. We won't understand"

You get the idea. But really, I just wanted a fresh sound; something that did not ring familiar. If only my cablewallah would put on VH1, a channel asofnow untouched by the evil paws of repetitive Indian advertising, hindi remixes and Sikh homeys. If I hadn't studied in NY, I wouldn't have known of Dave Matthews, of Jars of Clay, of other guys many others won't know because they've been fed remixes.

Sure, this way the old songs won't go out of style, but a generation could be stuck in a cultural remix. We tend to follow dominant images around us and today's images, unfortunately, are of the nubile remix girl and the muscular - but vulnerable, of course - guy. I don't know about you, mate, but I've been feeling awfully culturally destitute. It's a hole I try and fill by seeing plays, reading books, visiting festivals and music concerts. Now that I think about it, it's a gaping hole many people might have.


Anonymous said...

well, you have a hole (cultural, of course, no pun intended), I have one. But when will the holes be large enough for there to be large enough crater someone tries to fill. Will the next or even the (current-minus-ten-years) generation even realize the existence of a hole at all?

Junta will stoop to the level of the offering; the entertainment industry will then aim a level lower than people can stoop, repeat the steps ad absurdum. Which will stop first, the chicken or the egg?


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