120 Memories:
Introductions in Dust

We recently altered our cable package, trading a Showtime bundle for a different, cheaper set of channels which include the-n, BBC-America, the Sundance Channel, and VH-1 Classic. The change has revolutionized our lives: I'm watching Absolutely Fabulous regularly, I suddenly have access to a great deal more Degrassi: The Next Generation, and Kenneth has taken to recording and sharing music videos from the VH-1 Classic shows We Are the 80's and VH-1 Classic 120 Minutes.

I fret about how this revolution demonstrates the importance of television in my life, but I fret about most everything.

Kenneth and I sat down to watch a video or two over dessert the other evening and ended up chatting and thrilling our way through all 120 minutes of Classic 120 Minutes. The show-- sadly-- does not replay old episodes of the MTV's alternative feature which was hosted back in the day by the likes of Kevin Seal and Dave Kendall. You can get a small taste of or return to these from various tiny clips on youtube like this, this, and this. Classic 120 Minutes does feature only alternative and new wave and whatnot videos, most of which were made in the 80's. The experience of revisiting certain videos and discovering other ones has been so delightful and intense that I'd like to blog about it in a new series which I'll call 120 Memories.

I have no adolescent memories of seeing Siouxsie and the Banshees' Cities of Dust-- making my series's title something of a misnomer at least in this instance-- but I can't stop thinking about the brilliant video which Kenneth and I agree holds up as a solid work of (audio)visual art. You can catch the whole thing here. Below, I've captured my favorite bits.

The long opening shot of bubbling red.

Siouxsie reclining and singing as molten veins spill down towards her exposed flesh. Fragile, fierce: her head and shoulders radiate the same heat.

The same shot, now with a shower of SPARKS.

Gorgeous contrasts with the previous images.

Simple but highly evocative layering of images throughout. The bouncing of these marionette skeletons is whimsical, but it evokes delightfully childish delicacy, the ephemeral and theatric, the jangling hubbub of life-- the whimsical's inescapable correlation with the civilized.

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