Talking to You about Haysi Fantayzee
(Part of my series on Rob Sheffield's Talking to Girls about Duran Duran)
I don't meet a lot of Haysi Fantayzee fans. Sometimes I've played [Shiny Shiny] for people who respond, "Hmmmm, this is interesting," but in a way that's more like "There are two exits in this room, the window and the door. If this song doesn't end soon, I'm going to opt for the window." So the possibility remains that for all intents and purposes, nobody likes this song. That's fine with me. It's part of being a fan--sometimes it's a lonely thing to devote your heart to a song, especially when it's a song that literally nobody can stand, from an idiotic group with an idiotic name and idiotic haircuts. Everybody's got something like this in their life, whether it's a celebrity crush everybody else finds hideous or a team that always loses. We all have our Haysi Fantayzees. Do we choose them or do they choose us?
If anyone knows of a writer who discusses books the way Rob Sheffield discusses music, TELL ME NOW! I need to know . . .
With respect to Sheffield, I don't think I have a Haysi Fantayzee in my life. For all my moaning about how nobody likes the same things I do, my tastes are embarrassingly mainstream. I mean, Westlife alone . . . Oh, I'm not finishing that sentence. =P Nevertheless, I know what he means when he says that loneliness is often part of the experience of being a fan. There will eventually be something so personal in your liking of an artist that will make even other fans struggle to understand where you're coming from. And then, like Sheffield, you will have to reach deep into your psyche for the unique reasons why you are what you are and why you like what you like.
I wonder why phonies spoke to my teen self more profoundly than . . . truies? But they did. I suppose it goes back to the time I spent in the hospital when I was eight . . . and the TV in my hospital room only had a couple of channels. But I got The Banana Splits every day at four . . .
There was something about the Banana Splits, even knowing they weren't real animals--I was too young then to know who Oscar Wilde was or what he meant when he said, "Give me a mask and I'll speak the truth," but I know what Fleagle and crew were trying to say. I Enjoy Being a Boy was such a beautiful song, it was as if they had to disappear behind the animals in order to sing it or they'd shrivel up. It was as if the Splits were the only boys who felt safe speaking the truth about what they enjoyed about being a boy, which was being with a girl.
It is a beautiful song, by the way, the kind that takes you completely by surprise.
You have no idea how much I can relate right now. When Sheffield lists the children's programmes of the 1970s that had their own rock bands, I wanted to tell him that there was one show from the 1980s that had three! And I can still sing most of the songs from it, although, yeah, they kind of pale next to the sound of the Splits.
On second thought, forget The Banana Splits! Jem and the Holograms and the New Wave were the way to go!!! =D
I haven't had to cite Jem! as the reason I like anything, but that's probably because everything else I said first was accepted as plausible enough. =P But I do think the show's influence on me has deeper roots than my relative silence on it might indicate.
For those unfamiliar with Jem!, the title character is the alter-ego of a young woman who decides to start a band in order to save her late father's recording company and raise enough money for a foster child's operation. Whem Jem and the Holograms become an overnight success, nobody suspects that its mild-mannered manager (Ahem!) and mysterious lead singer are the same woman. Not even the manager's boyfriend, for whom a complete stranger is having an almost magnetic pull. =P But that's another soap opera!
So what feminine archetype do we have here? Jerrica Benton is a good businesswoman, a responsible foster mother, a loyal friend to her own foster sisters, and a naturally talented singer . . . but she still needs to create a glamorous alter-ego in order to make it in the music business. Do we see this as a flaw in her own self-image or as a flaw in the image-obsessed music industry? (Discuss, class.)
Now, I personally think Jerrica did it because she was savvy enough to know that she and her equally talented-yet-ordinary friends needed a extraordinary gimmick. (Rob Sheffield wouldn't blame her.) It was only after keeping up the act became "all in a day's work" that things got a little weird for her. What are you to think when people like your totally fake alter-ego more than they like your authentic self? Even her own sister, who is in on the secret, wishes that Jem were the one she grew up with rather than Jerrica! Never mind that Jem isn't even real.
This actually has nothing to do with my life at the moment . . . but I recognise the conflict from when I was still writing a religious blog. I couldn't shake the feeling that if my readers met me in real life, they would find me a big fat fake. My blogging persona was a hot hologram, but that only made room-temperature me more neurotic. The loneliness of being a fan is nothing next to the loneliness of having your own fans. Recalling those days, I'm relieved to be blogging at Shredded Cheddar today: here, everything is REAL. It just happens to be reality by way of the phonies. And that's all right. "Bad times behind me," right, Haysi Fantayzee?
Up next . . . Although no one wanted to help me pick last time, I'll give you all another chance. Shall we talk about karaoke or about Paul McCartney? (Yes, those are your only two choices. Bwahahahahaha!) And if you really prefer being surprised by me, there's always this discussion question to answer instead . . .
Your Turn at the Jukebox: Is there an artist (or actor/author/athlete/etc) whom you are embarrassed to like as much as you do?
Image Source: Jem and Jerrica Benton