Cheese: The Universal 80s Constant

For your consideration: A perestroika-era video of Soviet musicians doing a snappy, jazzy remix of a Soviet anthem:

Also for your consideration: “Stars,” by Hear N’ Aid, the 80s metal analogue to Band-Aid and USA for Africa:

Compare and contrast.

26 Comments on “Cheese: The Universal 80s Constant”

  1. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me
    Chang, father of pangolins

    The former is a group of musicians coming out from under oppression to show the triumph of the human spirit through music.

    The latter is just oppressive.

    In spandex.

    Spandex nut-huggers.

    Did I win anything?

  2. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me
    Chang, father of pangolins

    I’ll play keys, some bass and warble like Yoko Ono.

    I gave them both a good listen. They are both horrid. Both soaked in too much vodka, though the American one of course has more cocaine in it.

    Except for Dio and Halford, starz suckz.

  3. Video A:
    Well I am kind of Anti-Russian at the moment due to a WW2 German Documentary I watched last night about the Russian Army advance on Germany. And let me tell you. There were RUTHLESS. And the video sucks also.

    Video B:
    Spandex? Come on Chang I have seen Yoga teachers wear some pretty interesting things. And not 1980 yoga teachers ;). But You are correct Dio and Halford rock. And OK Bruce D. does also. The rest just want to be them. God bless Metallica for breaking us out of 80’s rock.

  4. Just remember kids, this is the carnage that results when you combine fan service with social justice.

    (No, not a fan of Ani DiFranco. Why do you ask?)

  5. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me
    Chang, father of pangolins

    Yes, Ray. But the hair. THE HAIR!!! MEIN GOTT, THE HAIR!!!

  6. Chang:
    HAHHAHAHAHahHAHAHHAHA.
    I know. So completely horrific.
    I will never reveal my metal past to know one. In fear that my daughter will find out and blackmail me…

  7. Hear N’ Aid??? I thought you were being funny, but then I actually watched the video.

    Did they name the band for people who actually needed ear trumpets after listening to this shit? I will never hear Don’t fear the reaper the same again.

    And damn if I didn’t see Spinal Tap in there. I don’t think it’s supposed to be funny, but it is. Oh, it is!

  8. I have more slots in 80’s metal than I thought. I could name 90 percent of the faces, and knew every voice that took a shot at lead.

    The song was kinda lame, a retread of Rainbow in Dark was the best they could come up with? Come on, a couple of those guys could have written a better song while being completely wasted.

    A couple of the Spinal Tap guys can be seen in the background. Wonder if Shearer and McKean did any lines with the metal guys.

    And Chang, what about Tate? He has an amazing voice.

  9. First of all, there’s really no need to compare and contrast. Both are conclusive evidence (as if we needed any more), that the ’80’s were a tragic mistake, best ignored and/or forgotten. (Think 13th floor in many buildings. Logically, you know it’s gotta be there, but just try to find the button in the elevator.)

    Second, just how many bands are you planning to start, John?

  10. Re: “Spandex Oppression”
    Ooh, ooh! Can I design the logo? It’ll be a heraldic crest of neon-striped moose knuckles, and just the suggestion of a studded cock ring for added frisson.
    Do I win anything?
    BTW, I liked the ’80s. Lot of nice things happened and saw some good movies. I just didn’t listen to music between 1984 and 1992.

  11. I’m watching the second video, and I’m all, “Wow. This sucks. How did I love this stuff? Oy.” And then I got all fluffy in the tummy when I saw George Lynch. And Geoff Tate from those incredible early Queensryche days. *flutter*

    So embarassed. Apparently, inside, I’m still 15. Screw Oil of Olay. Bad retro videos are the secret to eternal youth.

  12. **Important announcement. We just heard word of a new tour. Be prepared for…

    Spandex Oppression!
    (with opening band Lesbian Koala Orgy)

    Go to buyticketsnow.biz for showtimes and tickets.

  13. Thank you, John, I was having an epically crappy day until I watched that first video. I never knew that my Russian heritage and my came-up-in-the-80s heritage could mashup so beautifully.

  14. This is why in the Soviet Union and satelite countries, Jazz was considered a major threat. RnB, not so much. And here in the US, we thought Heavy Metal and Rock and Roll were the threat. Jazz, not so much.

  15. Though I’ve heard that song dozens of times, I haven’t seen the video in probably 20 years. I had totally forgotten the David St. Hubbins and Derek Smalls were on that session.

    Looking at Rob Halford, how did anyone not know he’s gay? He’s always been a total leather daddy.

    And, why people gotta dis the 80s, man? Most frequent station on my Sirius satellite radio? “Hair Nation.” I don’t even feel guilty about that pleasure.

  16. Well, netierh are exactly Prokofiev doing “Arise Ye Russian People” for Nevsky, but on “stars”, you at lest get Dio.

    Dio rocks man.

  17. We need to define for our own use the word which describes a state of being where you have more to do than any two people could usually accomplish but are either so blasé about the requirements or able to work so fast and efficiently that you have enough time left in your day to putter, make obscure references, link to cheesy bands, IM, and multi-blog and generally give the impression that you have far too much time on your hands when the nature of your accomplishments and obligations would seem to deny the possibility.

    Perhaps “Scalzifying”? as in “President Bush, you have a cabinet meeting on Iraq in 10 minutes and an Energy Crisis meeting in an hour and you are playing video games!” “No problem, I’m just Scalzifying here”

    Old Jarhead

  18. Oh, mercy. That second video really took me back, both for the song/video itself and for all the faces/voices in it. Like Jeff, I recognized pretty much everybody.

    The 80s were a disaster in a lot of ways, but they sure were fun at the time. Now, cocaine and Absolut all ’round!

  19. Peter S – An American who having discovered anime a few years ago decided to start writing about it, which is sort of embarrassing considering I'm 55.
    pete burd

    Anyone know the name of the anthem they jazzed up (if that’s the term to use) on the first vid? I’ve heard it before, in another youtube thing, featuring anime girls.

  20. The Soviet one at least had a good tune to start with, and it could be discerned most of the time. Inspiring graphics, too. (I always wanted to work in that style, and finally had my excuse the other day.)

    The Hear’n’Aid one, though. (Great name: I’m sure they all have one now.) I commented over there that I’m surprised they haven’t all been reunited to sing that in the past tense for a PBS fundraiser.

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