Moving Like Jagger…Sort Of.

The Maroon 5 song “Moves Like Jagger” has had a curious evolution in my mind. That stupid whistling intro originally meant “Change the radio station!” Then it became, “Maybe I should watch [Mick Jagger’s classic movie] Performance again.” Then:  “It’s a pretty catchy song if you ignore the whole Mick Jagger part.” And finally: “What’s the missing half of the first verse?”

Here are the lyrics in question,  according to azlyrics.com:

 You say I’m a kid

 My ego is big

 I don’t give a…

  And it goes like this

Obviously I can guess what comes after “I don’t give a”, but then there’s a noticeable silence before the song picks back up with “And it goes like this.” It seems like an entire line was cut out. I like to fill in the censored blanks of songs with what I think the words are, and I came up with a pretty filthy guess as to what the missing lyrics were. However, other than the predictable closer to “I don’t give a”, there are no secret lyrics that the radio has kept hidden. Those few seconds of dead air before the chorus starts are exactly that. I just found that out, and I’m disappointed.

Contributing writer Megan Robb is a writer, consultant and editor living in Raleigh, North Carolina. Her articles can be found at divot.com, wordhusterink.com, and cracked.com, as well as her personal website, megan-robb-writer.webs.com

 

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The Black Friday Diary

By Megan Robb

I never liked the term  “Black Friday”. I get that it comes from Christmas shoppers bringing businesses out of the red and into the black, but it still adds a funereal undertone to a time when we’re supposed to be celebrating our love of trans-fats. It also serves as a reminder that this very special day for business owners and shoppers comes at the cost of millions of retail workers’ sanity.

I’ve been a cashier on two different Black Fridays for the same retail chain. These were three years and several states apart, but as the second one was only last year, the memory’s still fresh in my mind. I don’t know what it’s like to be on the shopper’s end of Black Friday because I enjoy sleeping too much to find out, but I can see its appeal. Waking up in the middle of the night to do anything comes with its own surreal excitement, and it’s no different for mall workers. Last Black Friday at 4am, while everyone else was still sleeping off their tryptophan overdoses, I was scoring a 4-pack of energy shots at the gas station and driving to the parking lot of an insurance company’s headquarters with the then-latest Girl Talk album blaring in my car stereo. All of the mall’s employees had to use this parking lot, which was up the street from the mall itself, and then take shuttle buses to our respective stores. It worked this way every weekend until Christmas.

So when you’re circling the parking lot and cursing the lack of spaces during your post-Thanksgiving mall shopping, remember that the employees have done everything they’ve can to try to avoid this.  It’s not just Black Friday, either. The days from Thanksgiving to Christmas bring out the true weirdness in shoppers. I’ve found that Black Friday shoppers before 12pm and Christmas Eve shoppers after 5pm are generally more patient: it’s the people in between that you have to watch out for. People want discounts for everything from a box having a worn corner to the day happening to be December 24th. Please get this straight: cashiers have no control over prices.

If you want to haggle, go to a mom-and-pop store and ask for Mom or Pop. Do not go to a department store and expect a pregnant high school student or career-stalled college grad to give you 50% off of a Snuggie simply because it’s been taken out of its box. It’s a shame that store cashiers don’t have the food court workers’ option of spitting on your purchases and considering justice served.  It’s not all bad, though. Last year’s Black Friday also gave me one of my proudest moments, as I was the only cashier at my cash wrap from the peak hours of 5 to 10am.

Despite this blatant staffing error on my employers’ part, I did not receive any complaints, nor did I lose any customers to a different register. One person was visibly annoyed at waiting behind a particularly time-consuming  customer, but it was nothing a coupon torn from the circular couldn’t immediately fix. I used the story of this feat of strength during job interviews afterwards and I’m convinced that it helped me. I will also admit that there’s a special camaraderie that builds among mall employees on and after Black Friday. We bring in breakfast treats and sometimes deliver wake up calls after break-room naps.

We’re all in the trenches together. And attention, shoppers: we all hate you.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Contributing writer Megan Robb is a writer, consultant and editor living in Raleigh, North Carolina. Her articles can be found at divot.com, wordhusterink.com, and cracked.com, as well as her personal website, megan-robb-writer.webs.com

 

 

The Invention of the Viral Video

By Megan Robb

Recently I wrote a piece for a different site about the multimedia art group Negativland’s infamous legal battle with the band U2 over a song called “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For (Special Edit Radio Mix)”. But here I’d like to discuss the real highlight of the song, which doesn’t have much to do with U2. Actually, it’s the samples from a recording of Casey Kasem losing his Scooby-Doo cool. The samples are presumably from two different episodes. In one, Kasem is frustrated that he’s left to dedicate a song to a listener’s recently deceased dog (named Snuggles, no less) immediately after an upbeat song had just been played. I can’t say I blame him for that one. In the other, he’s had enough with U2, Bono, and The Edge’s names:” These guys are from England. Who the **** cares?” Maybe he was wrong about the England part, but Bono and The Edge do sound kind of silly.

I’d assumed the clips were really the work of an impersonator, but after some research, I found out that they’re real. A radio engineer captured Kasem’s outburst on tape and the tape was passed around among other radio engineers for their amusement. This is what people did before viral videos came along. This is why vintage clips like Bill O’Reilly’s “We’ll Do it Live!” were in existence long before they became YouTube classics. In Kasem’s case, though,  because you keep expecting him to say “Zoinks!” at some point.

Before the Internet, underground media-sharing was a very cool and secretive and sometimes seedy institution. You didn’t have to be famous. Recordings of The Tube Bar prank phone call series circulated long enough to inspire Bart’s calls to Moe’s in The Simpsons. You can thank the people who were the equipment managers of different Major League Baseball teams in the 1980s for that, since they passed them around the most.

In the 1980s two San Francisco roommates recorded their neighbors Peter and Ray having vicious yet painfully entertaining arguments over the course of a year and a half. The tapes circulated, copies were made, and Peter and Ray became infamous. So much so that decades later, (nonprofane) bits of the tapes were quoted on Spongebob Squarepants. Last summer, a documentary premiered at Sundance that chronicled the Peter and Ray phenomenon. It’s called Shut Up, Little Man! 

The recordings involved in this kind of media sharing was were things that generally stayed out of the mainstream. Of course, once those same recordings hit the Internet, they’re immediately mainstream. This isn’t a terrible thing. Musicians and artists who would have had to spend years on the mixtape circuit can be easily discovered online. Bits of pop culture history can be experienced by those who may otherwise be unable to find them. Of course, laws are sometimes broken when you see or hear some of these clips, but that’s one of the last pieces of its underground history that they retain when they hit viral fame. That and poor sound and/or video quality. But even those can be smoothed over: the Casey Kasem rant has a “definitive edition” with enhanced sound. You could probably look for a hi-def version of the Buddy Rich tapes soon–including the ones that were quoted on Seinfeld.

Contributing writer Megan Robb is a writer, consultant and editor living in Raleigh, North Carolina. Her articles can be found at divot.com, wordhusterink.com, and cracked.com, as well as her personal website, megan-robb-writer.webs.com