A young man with a talent for music has begun a career with much promise. He meets an aspiring singer, Apollonia, and finds that talent alone isn't all that he needs.
The nuns called it, dismissively, even freightingly, Race Music
When I was a kid, I saw a angelic creature, a Raphaelite, television, Madonna, pre eighties meaning, please, a brunette Amazon who would set for ever in my life the ideals of beauty.
Strangely, I saw this creature, this eclectic, cathode tube, puff of dea divinity not at a May Day parade, or on the bow of a painted sailed, Apollonius era Greek ship, but, in fact, saw her as diva unparalleled on a show called Hee Haw. My Pop, an even then elderly immigrant, seemed to love this show, as it reinforced in him a basis idea of what American secretly, maybe not so secretly was. And so, on one of many syndicated Saturday night on this show, I saw a brunette weathergirl, now lost to the annals of the grand old opry, I guess, whose caught image was a divine thunderbolt, which packed in a shy, juvenile, head the ideals of what a Woman, a real woman, a Woman woman, was, was supposed to be, could be, and in fact, could only be for me.
Hee Haw was a show of immense buffoonery, but it was harmless, as opposed to the circuses of rage which we delve into now, having amazingly found even the blood sport aspects of the karaoke machine, as now, a t- shirt wearing, perfect toothed, barely closet-ed queen seemed so enthralled with telling bus boys and waitresses they aren’t somehow as good as Justin Timberlake.
Well, the first suicide will come on that show, I thought, and he came close, did our slithering serpentine Satan in a buzz cut when he started to rail against someone wishing well to fellow students after a , by now, weekly school massacre. That didn’t play well, I knew, as it made the news, I wouldn’t have seen it any other way, and I figured that his time of barely hidden electronic lynching of the William Hung of the world was done. True to form, this year he lost scads of audience with each week. But his tastes, such as they are, or pretend that they are, have someway deformed somehow America’s taste, though, not if one goes by record sales, but what does Fox care of that…Nothing.
As this show goes about the ditzy brunette, a Clintonian era invention I'd say, added by the bloated ham hock eating 'Yo' dawg' peppering, always effeminate Black man, thus acceptable to the hinterland twits who like Fox, and the old queer who prances to mentor young students of music as a new Liberace without the warmth, and nothing seemed to have ended it and its cavalcade of no star…until lately.
I think back to the more American and lovely images of out and out hillbillies of Hee haw, which was a Laugh- in for the toothless hicks, and which out lasted Rowan and Martin for a decade and half, and would, I think, probably beat this karaoke shit, if given half a chance by a smart CBS programmer, who would be going back to the petticoat junction.
I wouldn’t see a woman like that living, moving, weathergirl, busty, short dressed, bouffant hair do-ed, and purple sash headband wearer again until a day in the mid eighties when I saw Purple Rain. I had not avoided it before, and one could not avoid Prince’s soundtrack, which frankly had a deepness and a lower register, pounding, meaning to it, which showed that the sinister seeming, even demonically pretended Prince, was no simple Michael Jackson, making one pop anthem after the next. And on Purple Rain was his own weathergirl, his own recreation of that Hee Haw chick, which he must have seen, for on his film a recreation in whole was made, called, almost painfully ironically, Apollonia.
In a film which was not just another dance party, or even Saturday night Fever, in which that movie’s sexual icon is a sexless , wasp, substitute teacher sort, The film of Prince's ascent from the hell of Detroit is everything which rock and roll was once propertied to be. Outside of the occasional classical rock brilliance of the Who, and I will get to them later, Prince seemed well equipped to know exactly what rock was, or Race music as it called by horrified, always frightened and suspicious whites before some discovered they could make money off it, and eventually, as the British whites did to Italian poetry, to amend and defuse it into a bland mush served at room temperature by laconic , sissy men, ala those named William and John and Paul and George and Bernard and Shaw and Spencer and who can forget, Ringo....?
Prince, with that partial Ionian blood supplanting and cursing trough his taken to be Black veins, knew what poetry, Venetian carnival masks, isolation, and, in this case Be bop, sidewalk and backseat music was before Saint John ruined it, and he instinctively knew what it was what it was not.
The then recreated silliness of the ironically purple suited woooooooooooo-ing reverend Little Richie Pettibone was never rock, not even as much as was the left behind and unheeded Fats and Chuck, and Johnny lee Hooker, but as mentioned before, the appetite of the hinterland for graceless Italian and over graceful Negroes, hopefully magical as Elves, is unquenchable. Prince, named actually for the famous treatise by his mother, I have read, was true to that name, as everything in the film had an angle, angles in red where everywhere, all had a depth of perception, a meaning, a double meaning, and a con was at the heart of everything.
This was shown by the less than always angelic Street side Beatrice, who from her beginning showing her silkily pouring herself into a tiger print outfit, the idyll of the sidewalks, and the Circe of the swamps of Pontiac Michigan, was wanting to switch sides to whomever would bring her to that Madonna era pot of gold. But she was some woman, I thought again, and no Madonna was this great looking, Living variation on the negro and wop wet dream delusion, just as the weathergirl in the fake corn patches surrounded by strawberry and blueberry painted fiddles was for me a decade before.
He had an ideal of what was sexy. As too, he knew what was Race music, that music which one frightened the glee clubs, though now, I hear, that most gracious of rock hymns, “See me feel me…”, is actually sung in some churches , which I can only wonder what Pete’s sad reaction to that would be. To me, it is like when the Christers, having defamed the ancient poets, and burned away most, suddenly, cleverly, usurp the remaining pages. Prince gave a virtuoso performance, certainly not as an actor, but as pop star, knowing exactly what that entailed, or better was a genuine a rock and roll star, as if one of those films of the fifties about juvenile delinquency had been somehow taken over by the dark, half breed, leather jacketed, spit curled, greasy kid stuff wearing hooligan, who had somehow danced in from some revival of the opening dance between the Tharped out Sharks and the Jets somewhere in the perpetual now of Hollywood.
The dammed father hated miscreant who stood under the lamppost and smoked , and who, due to his Italian gene pool, had a wispy , boy man mustache in seventh grade was somehow here, and unlike a recent variation by the always sexually disputable and spoken of derisively, blue eyed, giggling wop Travolta, this slimy little wop bastard nigger was looking at , heavens, a daughter not of the DAR, but worse, a Gina, an Alicia, a big jugged Annie, a plausible Kitty Genovese, whose mafia bashing father hatred wop thugs worse than did the insurance salesman who never had to deal with them. He was again, both wop and Negroid, but, too, he was Dangerous.
Dangerousness was the point of rock and roll before it backed in to being something used as the new Peter Gunn theme songs of forensic cop shows, or worse, as a medley to sell refrigerators. Though, what is truly dangerous about this wonderful little music film was that it was so much better than the squeaky clean Rutles shit which looked like parody of itself to begin with, in its Circus of Piccadilly, black and white aint we cuuute guvnah, we wear suits and tyesss loike the Amurican Buddy Hullllie dyhd, dem Kirkits diyd… or the awful and ponderous Last Waltzes of mean streaked Marty—oh, I’ll get to him--, which shows that to Scorsese the imp , everyone he shoots, from Christ to mob soldier, to hick Base guitarist, seems in middle of dying. What was dangerous mostly was that Prince, and his paramour, were ethnicized in every way, and their dark haired, tan skinned love and sexuality was not cut into , or broken , or mixed with some white filaments to make it appeasing to the Randy Jackson, light skinned negro adoring crowds.
There was no attempt here to tell us either Prince, nor Apollonia the curvy sexy, flouting, needing, big tittied, cute assed, bouncing, wanna be earlier Madonna, was at all capable of being played by Olivia hussy, nor shot in gauze by the awful, somehow adoring enough of the Paris riots and the summers of love not to get killed by the Sicilians, Bertolucci.
No, Prince and his gutters Beatrice were sexual this time, as it was then with the first famous italic lovers of Comedy, as I tried to argue with a PhD buddy of mine, who liked the idea of Dante as sexless saint. He would not have become the patron poet of Italy had he been , I said, to the smiling Viking looking man, as sexless saints they had coming out of their brown skinned tuchuses.
Same as it was here and then and now, especially now, with nondescript and actually heinous looking shrews as sex stars, with the white trash Brittany’s and the dead allowed to fester corpulent Medusas of fat playboy models, and the meth heads of the dying old man in the Citizen Kane Mansion but with women in afros on velvet instead of Apollo’s, or Apollonia’s, that is, as art works. And, He didn’t even pretend that he spent all day as if a singing soprano made man captain dreaming of semi attractive, sometimes less so, blonds. Unlike a later Tiger Woods, Prince did not become suddenly more adored by the whispering espn goofs, and Fox sports wop homos by showing up, dutifully, with his bought and paid for Swiss watch like white woman. Prince wasn’t another ethnic fool, like old men of the rap game, and boys named for cartoon hip hop nothings, who will, as the more seeing and seen Ice-T says of his” cake” jalousied boy rival, you’ll be gone in fifteen minutes.
And Prince is still here, still getting raves for music unplayed on the radio, as Madonna’s song is almost insufferable and is getting the American backlash as I type. And for that, and for that scene which smolders with Ionian sexuality, of his merely removing her purple mantle, regaling a set of jugs worthy of a workhouse madam on the night watch at the daytime called Monticello, when such things were well run by the always on the make redheaded conscript fathers looking for something to hold onto, I will always be in a kind of melotto awe of him, my own self.