Sunday, September 27, 2009

An Idiosyncratic History of the Music Video, Part 1

with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark - that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.

There is a common agreement - repeated so often that it has become cliche - that the 1960s ended with the death of Meredith Hunter during The Rolling Stones' set at Altamont in 1969. The point where other pop-culture decades ended is usually less clear. I'm not sure I've ever heard anyone put foward an event which ended the 1970s. This is perhaps because everyone was glad the 1970s were over, but that's beside the point.

My suggestion for when the 1970s ended involved Mick Jagger once again, making him some kind of agent of change. The event itself comes in 1985, with the release of the video for Jagger and David Bowie's ill-advised cover version of "Dancing in the Street". Suddenly the world was confronted with Earth's two coolest men somehow contriving to look like nothing so much as your dad and your uncle dancing at a wedding.

Perhaps due to the embarrasment of the participants, it seems that it isn't possible to embed any of the Youtube versions of the video, so if you want to see the evidence you'll have to follow a link.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

An Elegant Weapon For A Less Civilised Age

I was recently in Dublin for a "War and Death" conference, and it reminded me that I still had videos of the bronze sword display from WAC-6 last year. I though people might be interested in seeing them, so here we go:

Dr. Alan Peatfield uses a bronze short sword on a melon.

Dr. Barry Molloy uses an Egyptian khephesh on rolled tatami mat, simulating a limb.

Drs. Peatfield and Molloy demonstrate the use of a khephesh against a shield. As far as I know, the man who breaks and runs on 0.19 is not doing so in fear of his life.

Sadly, I was not filming when a Very Eminent Scandinavian Prehistorian accidently almost opened up a woman's arm with a swing of a Bronze Age rapier - a near-miss that was not his fault, but still nearly took experimental archaeology onto a whole new level.