I have been fortunate to travel a LOT in my life. Well, when I was a kid, at least. Now I am a “Grown Up” and I have to pay for my own travel, and to be honest, I haven’t been out of the country in 9 years. And that was to Canada. I no longer have an active passport, and I’ve had a passport since I was 9 years-old. In those travel years I went all over the world. I walked along the Great Wall, I took a flash photograph of the Mona Lisa (out of focus – DAMN!), I even climbed a pyramid in Egypt… but most important to me was the hotel room television showing MTv. It’s true. Hate to admit it, but there it is. MTv. It was new. It actually consisted of ONLY music television… not reality shows about actor people in rehab. Bah! It was Madonna and her Material World, and the Beastie Boys, and Duran Duran. I could watch it for hours and hours on end. World history outside my window. Wellllll…. I guess I could go climb that ancient wonder of the world… right after Corey Hart finishes singing Sunglasses at Night.
I grew up in Saudi Arabia, in the 80’s and 90’s. There was no MTv. It was forbidden. Actually most television was forbidden. We had a local station that showed edited version of Benson (yes, Benson had to be edited) and occasionally I could find a Punky Brewster episode on the Bahrain network, but there were few options apart from the Indian Movie of the Week. That may sound fun to you, now that everyone is into Bollywood. We have sort of adopted India because all of our employees live there.
Soon we’ll be wearing saris and treating our cows much better.
But the Indian Movie of the Week was something entirely different. I don’t think it translates well into this culture. Sometimes we’d attempt to watch it, because there would alway be a hilariously strange musical number and a Bollywood scene. Between those entertaining bits, there would undoubtedly be a murder or a dead baby or something horribly graphic. Imagine that. You’re watching SAW and after a particularly horrifying scene, the victims start dancing and singing, in unison with their killer, all in a choreographed parade of bright colors and twangy music.
Needless to say, when I saw MTv for the first time (I remember it SO well) I was completely hypnotized. Remember that, all you parents out there who don’t allow your kids to watch t.v. It still exists, and when your kids do finally get to watch it, they’re going to turn into completely obsessed couch potatoes. I was in Idaho on vacation (okay, not all of our trips of historical greatness), staying with my best friend. She had MTv (who didn’t?). We had a sleep over every night, talked about boys incessantly, fretted over the changes our bodies were making (well, I fretted, she enthused), ate junk food, and watched MTv. She fell asleep around midnight. Me? I stayed up the entire night. I never slept. I would start to doze, and then there was a CURE marathon. Oh My God! My favorite band. I get to see them move and shake and dance! I kept watching. In the morning, my friend woke up. My eyes were glassed over. She asked if I ever went to sleep. Well, sure, during the Tiffany video I nodded off. I must admit. But then I heard The Reflex, and I couldn’t resist opening my eyes again. Simon Le Bon! It was amazing! What an invention.
I have since relaxed with the music television and no longer find Simon Le Bon attractive. As I fell victim to the Bouncy Castle Belly Syndrome, he slipped into the British Puffy Faced world of has-been pop stars. Anyway, it’s hard to ever even find a music video on MTv. I still wish I could travel. It was great to bask on the beaches in Greece, scuba dive with the fish in the Red Sea, ski in Austria, float on top of the salt in the Dead Sea, climb mountains in Switzerland, take a cruise down the Nile, and see musicals in London, between marathon EuroMTv sessions.
I need a passport. I must travel one day with my daughter. She needs to know where the Bollywood obsession comes from! She needs to see the art in Paris. She needs to taste a Ballisto bar. She needs to see something other than white people. It’ll be good to leave our bubble one day, when I can afford it. At least for the time being we have MTv.
Of course, she’s not allowed to watch it.