28 May 2014

+JMJ+

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.

Give me a hologram, and I'll sing the truth

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.

Show's over, Synergy!

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

16 comments:

DMS said...

The Banana Split song took me by surprise! Based on the image I was expecting something different. I remember Jem too- and I think it is sad that so many people in her life preferred the fake alter ego. I would hope the people who know me best would prefer me, to a different version of me- but I guess that isn't always the case.

I know I like some groups and artists that others don't- though I have so much on my mind I can't give an example right now.
Sometimes it is more that our group of friends and family doesn't share our love for the same things. This is one of the reason I love reaching out to my friends in the blogosphere. Few people in my life like to dissect characters and books as much as I do and they enjoy talking about Harry Potter (or other topics I can go on and on about) for about two minutes. :)

Now I will be singing Jem all day!
~Jess

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

All the Banana Split songs are really good and could have been played on the radio! =D I'm still listening to them.

Like you, I started blogging because it seemed that everyone who shared my obsessions was online! Sometimes it still seems that way . . . LOL!

So what's your favourite song by the Holograms? I really like I've Got My Eye on You. =)

Sullivan McPig said...

Karaoke!
And Jem! I used to watch it with my younger brother.
as for being ashamed of liking something: nope!

Brandon said...

Jem I haven't thought about in ages. I didn't watch it much, but I remembered the basic story arc. A kid's program with a rock band that I watched a lot was Kidd Video:

http://youtu.be/GBQS1cgsEdU.

Now there's a show that could only exist in the MTV era.

The Banana Splits song was quite a surprise; I've looked up some of their other songs, and it's all dangerous earworm stuff -- almost guaranteed to get stuck in your head.

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

Sully -- Did you or your brother have a favourite song from the show? =)

I wish that I had my current self-confidence back when I was starting my teen years. Like most teenagers, I was very concerned about "looking right," and liking the "right" celebrities, music, etc. was part of that. It was phoniness without the honesty. =P

Brandon -- I just watched the first Kidd Video episode on YouTube. The show all but screams "Saturday mornings in 1985"! LOL!!! (And if you want "Saturday mornings in 1990," you can try Captain N: The Game Master, in which a boy from "our world" is sucked into an animated world where he must use his video game skills "for real.")

The "live-action" Kidd Video are more interesting to me than the animated version. I smell another Fan Fiction project in the works . . . ;-) Thanks, Brandon!

Sullivan McPig said...

@Enbrethiliel: I was never good at fitting in, so I learned early to not care about what others thought about the things I liked.

and I can't remember particular songs, but I liked the rival band the most I remember.

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

A lot of viewers seem to be Misfit fans! Singing both Misfit songs and Hologram songs as an adult, I can hear that the former are more complex and interesting, musically speaking . . . but I really do prefer Jem's voice to Pizzazz's, so that makes me a Hologram fan in the end. =)

Bob Wallace said...

I like the house.

Sheila said...

I think pretty much all the music I like is like Haysi Fantasee .... no one else likes it! And since I was uncool long before it was cool to be uncool, I can't be a hipster about it. I just keep my weird tastes to myself for the most part!

Isn't it funny how many things we like just because we got emotionally attached to them at the right age? People are always sending me things they think I'll like because they're *just* like other things I already like .... but I'm always doubtful. Maybe I won't like it just because it doesn't have the same sentimental value.

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

Bob -- Did you make it to the rest of the post? I think you may really like The Banana Splits!

Sheila -- I'd say you're right about the power of timing! Some of the books I own have been waiting years to be read because my reading motto could be summed up as "The right book at the right time"--and I have this (irrational?) worry that if I read a good book before I'm ready, it will be wasted on me.

When people send me things they're sure I'll like, I'm usually baffled by what it reveals about them. Someone who knew that I was very religious, for instance, was 100% sure I'd love Dan Brown's novels. Because of all the religious stuff! LOL!

Bob Wallace said...

The Banana Splits were imitating British '60s groups. Not bad, but even as a kid those people dressed as animals would be too much for me. But then, I'm not a girl. ;-)

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

Can you recommend any bands from shows that you did like as a child? I'm making a list of "fake" bands that have made original music.

Bob Wallace said...

Ha ha ha...the only one was the Monkees. They were a fake band that actually learned to play and had several big hits.

NoelCT said...

In terms of having a personal Haysi Fantayzee, I have oodles of them. I think it's very well established by now amongst my friends online that I have a knack for falling in love with things and can not only find absolutely nobody to share the love with, but they outright hate it. Such is the recurring theme of my life. :)

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

If it makes you feel any better, Noel, I will always love Don "The Dragon" Wilson with you. (Tell your other friends to beat that!)

NoelCT said...

Awwwww.