Peter Gabriel (Security)

Band: Peter Gabriel
Album: Peter Gabriel (Security)
Best song: “Shock the Monkey” is amazing.
Worst song: The whole album is worthwhile.

As you can imagine, I don’t remember anything from 1982. It was my first full year on Earth, but, admittedly, I was busy pooping myself and drooling to really understand the context of my existence (assuming I understand said context now [I don’t]).

My childhood memories are not entirely vast, but rather bits and pieces of experiences. I remember playing around the backyard with my sister, in the sprinkler. I remember going to Disneyworld and being in a stroller — though, I imagine that’s a product of seeing photos of our family at said theme park with me in a stroller wearing the ubiquitous ear hat thing. My earliest memory is of a Blackhawks game with my dad, who had season tickets until the team moved into their current arena in the mid 1990s.

We didn’t have cable at my house because I grew up in an area of our suburb that was not wired for cable until I was in the fifth grade. So, MTV’s decade was not something I was able to witness firsthand, essentially. I only got to see glimpses of cable TV when I stayed with my cousins or went to friends’ houses. I was unaware of Fraggle Rock until we got it from the video store — christ, remember those? — while my friends would sing its praises.

Again, it’s not because my parents are or were anti-TV; They both love TV as entertainment. But, where we lived was not cable-ready, so I was stuck watching whatever I could find on the UHF channels of the time. Reruns were a mainstay and I’ve seen far more episodes of Happy Days and Sanford and Son than I’d like to admit.

But that was the era. TV had been a mainstay in all of our lives and I lived in a place where over the air TV was ample(ish) compared to other places. We got more than three channels, with the local superstation (WGN) and a vew UHF channels showing cartoons and reruns. But, as compared to now? It was nothing. If you wanted to watch an old episode of a show you liked, you couldn’t buy it on tape; could you imagine getting the entire run of a series on tape? It would take up so much physical space…

One of my earliest memories was seeing this video while staying overnight at my cousins’ house:

The video is memorable for many a reason, but mostly the macaque. The song’s stutter-step rhytymn is as evocative as the song’s easy-to-misinterpret lyric. Gabriel’s whiteface makeup continues his theatrically crazy tradition that he began as lead singer of Genesis.

I mention this often, but I’m outstandingly satisfied that I grew up in the situation I did. My parents — however strange my family life is and was — wanted my sister and I to have every opportunity. And the strangeness of said situation also made it such that I was adamant about searching for other junk. Often, my curiosity continues to be stoked by music and film that’s more than simply the easy way out. This led me to radio in high school, art cinema in college and the like since.

My parents are not NPR-listening, art-house attending folks. My sister is not such a person. I’d be curious to see how that affects her in that way; she and I are very different in many cultural ways.

But, I’ll never forget that video or being without MTV as a kid. It made me curious and that’s something I cherish. I moved toward the art house and I’m glad to remain there.

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  • By Reckoning | Albums That I Own on February 21, 2011 at 8:40 am

    […] as mentioned, my family did not have cable, so it may have taken me a bit to get to Fraggle Rock, but my sister and I eventually did. […]

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  • About Me

    I'm Ross Jordan Gianfortune. I am not a writer, but I sometimes write here about music and my life. I live in Washington, DC.

    I used to review each of Rolling Stone Magazine's top 500 albums of all time. Now I'm writing about albums I own.

    My work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Gazette, The Atlantic, Sno-Cone and a bunch of defunct zines.

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