Once upon a time I started a blog and my mom suggested that I use it to write my “reading autobiography.” Well, that was back in June and I haven’t done it yet, but I fully intend to (I swear). However, I’ve had a lot of fun the past two days, writing about my music fan past, so I thought I would keep it going with my music autobiography.
One day when I was five years old, someone left me alone with a TV. (I can’t for the life of me remember if I was at my parents’ or my grandparents’ house. Not that it matters for the story. It just bums me out that I can’t remember.) I probably started changing channels (probably in an attempt to get to Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood or something), but I landed on MTV instead. (In the interest of full disclosure, this entire paragraph has been conjecture on my part. I don’t really remember any of this, but it’s the only way to explain what happened next.)
I saw this thing (a music video, but I didn’t know it at the time) on the TV. There was a girl reading a comic book and then somehow she was in the comic book and then she and the hero of the comic book were being chased by the villains and then she got out of the comic book and she ran home to find out how the story ended and the hero appeared to be dead but then he showed up in the hallway to her bedroom and he kept phasing between being a drawing and being human and finally he became fully human and they lived happily ever after. Meanwhile, there was a song I’d never heard before playing over the whole thing.
At the time, I think I was mostly weirded out (and possibly scarred) by the whole thing. But (as far as I know) I didn’t really think about it again. That is, until I heard A-Ha’s “Take On Me” on the radio years later. As the song played I had these memories of the video, but I kinda thought I’d made it up. We didn’t have MTV, you see, or YouTube or Google. It wasn’t until many years later that I saw the video for “Take On Me” again and realized that I wasn’t crazy, nor had I made it up.
So that’s the story of my first exposure to MTV. I told my mom that story once and she was slightly horrified that I’d been left alone with a TV and then drawn like a magnet to MTV. I find it fascinating that the video left such a strong impression on me, but I completely forgot about it and told no one that I’d seen it.
Side note: “Take On Me” remains my all-time favorite 80s song to this day. Due in no small part to my early exposure to the video. But it is a damn good song regardless.