Friday, 1 June 2012

Watching old YouTube clips: vacant rooms

Isley Brothers: Shout (1959)

Some time ago I put up film clip of Tommy James and the Shondells singing Mony Mony along with a poem about the song (the poem is still up on the front page of the website) and ever since then I have been tempted by the idea of writing poems for a number of such clips.

On what grounds would I choose them? What is the poetic of the clip?

Having written something over the last two days, then a verse for an occasion, then having met PhD student Nathan for a supervision in Norwich, and having tweeted a good many lines from Martin Bell, this Friday's neglected poet, I started searching YouTube and have put away a few for further consideration. They have certain things in common, though that may be coincidental in that one thing leads to another, and I might find quite different ones on another search.

The ones I have gathered are mostly older, mostly in black and white, like Mony Mony, and mostly of not high quality. A certain lack of quality seems to help. And it now occurs to me that while the songs are not necessarily those I responded to when they first came out, they do nevertheless point to a certain notional  autobiography of feeling.

The autobiography of feeling is not the same as the autobiography of events. Much may have not happened, nevertheless there remains the sense that it might have or should have, that it might have filled a space that needed to be filled. It is as if feeling had vacant rooms you never even knew existed. Then something blows in and fills it, the space furnished and dreamlike.

So the poetic of the clip is based on an assumed or required but, possibly, never granted resonance. The poetic is as ever a matter of form, a form that falls short or overflows but somehow misses the mark. The poem then addresses that perceived form and tries to hold it and give shape to it.

These small personal matters, these private existential poetics, are an aspect of the world at large. They'd have to be or they wouldn't matter. They are part of what we know about the world, from its bedroom manners to its street politics.


Angela France said...

"The autobiography of feeling is not the same as the autobiography of events. Much may have not happened, nevertheless there remains the sense that it might have or should have, that it might have filled a space that needed to be filled."

Thank you for this - it expresses perfectly and concisely something I've been thinking about and workling with for a while.

Gwil W said...

Ah you mean like Tina Turner live in her string vest sbeing Simply the Best as she hangs on your every word and the then that sax at the back about 3.00min circa 1990 . . . or maybe you mean that teasing shuffle almost off stage and low camera angle . . . aye plenty of scope there - another idea for the collection, George?

Rita Carter said...

I just love this - takes me straight to my old youth club - also the tap sequences are as exuberant as the singers - I was in Worcester today and entertained by a solo musician who was sitting playing music and tap-dancing with his feet.As a child I used to tap dance solo on the London Metropolitan stage and loved it.Apt as is my birthday tomorrow -also I think poetry is tap-dancingnvi with the tongue -once wrote a poem about it.

George S said...

It's only partly the music. It is also something to do with the way the film presents the music, not fully at ease with it. I love the way the the lead singer - is it Ronald or Rudy or Kelly - completely slips out of the frame as though he were drowning but then bobs up again. And that wonderful free dancing on energy overload. Plus it's a terrific record.

Tina is terrific. I'm not sure whether she has the quality to make me write, but who knows.

And yes, Angela, that is the area I am trying to understand.

Gwil W said...

It was once the song that got them to pull their socks up at Rovers ! And Henning Berg to forget his shin pads ! And them all to run on to the park with a confident bounce in their step !

Hungarian referee tipped for the Euro final in local press here.

Gwil W said...

Your clip reminds me of when I was a small boy watching the marionettes on the outdoor stage in the rose garden on the grassy wooded hill above Half Moon Bay and known as Heysham Head and of long summers of strange and wonderful adventures in that mysterious place as it was in those long ago days. The romance of it all was destroyed with the arrival of the go-kart track and subsequently the nuclear power stations.

George S said...

They are rather like marionette movements. Ah, Henning Berg. But then also Shearer, LeSaux, Batty, Sutton, Tim Flowers, Sherwood, Ripley, Hendry. Who els? Warhurst...

Gwil W said...

And Jason Wilcox who, in my humble opinion, should have been a regular in an England shirt.

Those classic wingers Ripley and Wilcox, especially the speed of Wilcox, made Rovers a nightmare to defend against.

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