Sunday, 2 August 2009

Right here's where you start paying...

Some of you will remember that I have been revisited of late by random songs from the past (particularly big female vocal numbers). A while back it was a Carpenters song. Then it was Dusty Springfield/Guys'n'Dolls. And then last week I found myself wandering about in this song from a certain 1980 movie:




Now if you hate that song (and I have to say it is verging on the power ballad...one of my least favourite genres...) you should know that the dialogue straight after this clip features the character Bruno Martelli saying 'that was nice, really' and Coco Hernandez (played by Irene Cara in the film) muttering the words 'sentimental shit' in reply. And it kind of is sentimental nonsense I suppose...but I still kind of like it (who hasn't felt 'out there on their own' once in while...I often feel it as far as poetry goes...). Also 'Fame' was a big part of my teenage life so it's no surprise that I'm still prepared to give it the benefit of the doubt getting on for thirty years later.

Even though the film 'Fame' came out a while before the OTT TV series I'm pretty sure I watched the TV show long before its more sophisticated Alan Parker-directed cousin. I was at my weird Quaker boarding school from the age of 11 so I didn't get to the cinema much - plus this was in the days before laptops and personal dvds so we just had one TV between what felt like hundreds of us. Basically this meant we watched very, very little TV (hell, we were too busy drinking and smoking and experimenting with sex) but I do remember watching 'Top of the Pops' and 'Fame' (both in a large common room with at least 30 other people). I think during 'Fame' some of us even danced around a lot (like they do here in the film but with less ability, I imagine). Eventually at some point I managed a trip to one of Middlesbrough's two tired old cinemas and saw the film (where young people in New York drink and smoke and experiment with sex) and I remember being quite surprised by it (no real clear story, nudity, drugs, lots of poverty...none of these really existed in the TV series). The movie does have some cheesey moments but it has some pretty good sections too (and I know this because I hadn't seen it for years so I got it sent from lovefilm last week and spent a couple of very legwarmer-filled hours lost with Leroy and Doris and funny-fringed Coco). Strangest of all though was the bizarre sight of 'ER's Dr Romano, Paul McCrane, (with hair!) playing acting student Montgomery MacNeil.

Much as I enjoyed revisiting the film I haven't been tempted back to the TV series (in fact I have always wondered how much 'Fame', in particular the glossier, frothier TV version, contributed to the rise and rise of celebrity culture, X Factors and all that). It did tell teenagers over and over that singing and dancing and acting was the best a person could get. Maybe it told it too well.

And now back to the laundry.

x

16 comments:

hope said...

I remember seeing the movie and thinking how "cleaned up" the t.v. version was. But as long as they kept Bruno, Doris and Leroy, I was happy. I didn't realize that about the hairless E.R. doc...now I'll have to pay attention when they re-run it.

I finished laundry this morning...I feel your pain. Hope it's over and done with as quickly as possible so you can enjoy the day.

hope said...

Oh, by the way, did you remember that a very young Janet Jackson was on the t.v. version?

Rachel Fox said...

After watching one of those 'Victorian House' type living history programmes I could never call modern laundry pain again! The women in the series I watched never seemed to do anything but very heavy laundry work. I wouldn't have lasted five minutes...

But no, I don't remember that excellent piece of Jackson trivia. I think maybe I only saw the early seasons.

x

Eryl Shields said...

I couldn't listen to the song all the way through, what a light weight I am, also it wasn't even remotely familiar. I thought Fame was the one about the dancing welder, so what was that called, I loved that one?

hope said...

Eryl...."Flash Dance". :)

Rachel Fenton said...

That was such a fun post! And so very now, again!

Poetikat said...

You must have seen the 1900 House then. I agree. You can never complain about laundry when you see the toiling those women did.
I know you like to iron, Rachel. I love doing laundry. I really do.

Kat

Eryl Shields said...

Flash Dance, of course! Thank you Hope.

Rachel Fox said...

Eryl - 'Flashdance' should indeed have the tagline 'the one about the dancing welder.' And what a ridiculous film that was! Even more ridiculous was the Geri Halliwell dance cover (as it were) in a video somewhere.

Other Rachel - yes, I didn't know when this song first came back to me that they were making a new 'Fame' movie (out later this year apparently). Looking at the cast list I see Frasier/Kelsey Grammer on there! I wonder what certificate it will be because my daughter is 9 and it makes things easy if she can watch something with me...if I'm going to watch crap I like to at least put her through it too (obviously she did not watch the first 'Fame' movie with me last week - it's a 15 cert).

Kat - what I like about ironing is that it can be used as a cover for just listening to music or something (but looking like you're doing some housework).

I wonder if any men will comment on this so lightweight post...
x

Titus said...

I'm guessing no. I am, even though I have seen neither film. But I'm a woman, and I love washing.

Colin Will said...

Hah! A challenge! I can remember the TV series - quite enjoyed some of the episodes. Watched some of the film when it was on TV, but didn't stay till the end. And I'm about to start my ironing and holiday packing.

Rachel Fox said...

You've not seen the film or the series, Titus? Probably a blessing.

As for Colin, he probably deserves some kind of award for being the first man to brave a post about 'Fame'. I'll try and think of a suitable title...the Purple Legwarmer? That sounds weird though, doesn't it? Needs work.

I have to say it was probably nostalgia and curiosity (how bad was it? how much could I remember?) that got me through the whole film last week. The actors are all very good in it though...even if they do look a bit older than 16 in some cases...

x

Titus said...

Nope, not film or series and not Flashdance neither. I was a Zep head early, I guess. But I should very much like a Purple Legwarmer.

Rachel Fox said...

I watched it all during my heavy rock phase bizarrely...at that age when you just like all sorts of everything. Well, almost everything.
x

Dick said...

Well, you're full of surprises, Rachel! I'm trying to think what equivalent musical indulgences I might come up with from the odd decade or two before your teenage years. Roy Orbison singing 'Only The Lonely' should do it.

Rachel Fox said...

I quite like a bit of Roy too!
x