Friday, November 7, 2008

Good old Rocky Top

When I was 13, about the time that that earlier photo of me freestylin' was taken, I was in a Junior High steel drum band known as "The Caribbean Drummers." It was the only steel drum band in Billings, Montana.

Because of this novelty, we were featured on the local evening news, and in an excruciatingly awkward moment, I attempted to "teach" a fumbling female newscaster how to play the introductory bass-line for our crowd-pleaser "Rocky Top." After she attempted, and failed, she made light of the situation and fumbled a transition to sports back at the camera. But within that six or seven seconds of transition, it wasn't clear to me exactly what it was that I was supposed to be doing? Looking at her? Looking at the camera? Looking at the drums?

By default, I subconsciously chose a hybrid of the three and looked downward, averting the camera, the drums, and her gaze, meaning I spent that entire period awkwardly staring at her breasts. Somewhere around here, there's a video tape. But I'm not going to go searching for it.

Since then, as I've previously posted, I feel like I've been perhaps a little extra self-conscious when faced with myself in a security camera, a reflection, or even a photograph. Is that really me? That being the case, it was with great trepidation that I took part in the video documentary portion of David Wright and Ethan Jones's "Pause to Begin". Well, today's the day that they've got the video podcast from our interview posted and fortunately, it's not nearly as embarrassing as I'd expected it to be.

It did seem though that there's some weirdness going on with the audio, but I wasn't sure if that was a technical glitch or could it possibly be the way I actually talk. Fortunately, I sent it to a friend and he reassures me, and testifies to you:

That is so weird. It is totally NOT your voice. It sounds like you've got an enormous aristocratic gourd attached to the bottom of your throat and your voice is sort of swirling around in there before it comes out of your mouth. How did they do that?

So, keep that in mind. Thanks Ethan. Thanks Dave.

UPDATE: My wife of thirteen years (yeah, really) just listened to it and thought that it was someone else talking. The audio's definitely been slowed a bit. Whew... I thought maybe that's what I really sound like.


Grant said...

At the seven second mark the audio is slowed down incredibly. You sound really intense with a deep voice and slow cadence.
You should consider it for real.

Blake Andrews said...

Thanks, Shawn. That was entertaining. Like you I've always had better luck shooting first and sorting out the meaning afterward. In some ways Aberdeen seems to represent many towns in WA/OR/ID which are in transition from resource-based economies, and what you're looking for there is something that relates to your own home, looking for the general in the specific. Maybe it's time to flip the equation over and ask, what is it about Aberdeen that IS specific, that can only be found there? Anyway I don't think any place that generated Friedlander and Cobain could be considered a total failure...

shawn said...

Hey Blake,
Thanks for the feedback. You too, Grant.

Yeah, the question of general vs. specific is of great interest as I keep shooting on this project. But for me, I'm less and less interested in limiting it to objective reality/the specificity of the Aberdeen area. In fact, in the current sequence I've included a few pictures that weren't made there. Keep in mind though that I've never said Aberdeen was a "total failure." In fact, that's the thing that I love about the place, it's "failures" are worn like badges. There's a kind of pride in being the underdog. Cobain had to come from a place like Aberdeen- there's a mythology built up about it. In fact, one of the photos I still need to make up there is the Cobain statue in the muffler shop. Originally it was supposed to sit in the city park (it was made by school kids), but the city decided that it could be taken as promoting suicide so now it's enshrined in controversy, and velvet, at a muffler shop in Hoquiam.

Blake Andrews said...

I think the Lincoln statue in Portland's Park blocks may be sending the wrong message to kids, too. Perhaps it requires muffling.

I think Aberdeen is a bit like Springfield, OR, another NW stumptown I've been exploring lately. I'm not sure it wears failure like a badge but it's decidedly not concerned with design/image/glamour, etc. I don't even think it has the pride of being an underdog. It just is what it is, without any self-conscious quality. It seems the antidote to the Pearlification of Portland and America.