Friday, August 26, 2016

Spinning to the Cold War

Last night, I wrote this Facebook post:

"We had an awesome spin class tonight, put together by our totally tubular (that's a compliment, right?) instructor Debra LeComte. We made those spin bike wheels go right round, like a record baby! We were maniacs, maniacs! And now it's time to relax--no more cracking that whip."

I wasn't surprised by how happy the music made me--much of the music was stuff that I liked when I was hearing it for the first time.  The pippy-poppy beat kept me going at a glorious pace--it was a great work out.

As we spun, I thought about the underlying messages of the songs.  We listened to the song about the 99 red balloons:  what happy music, what distressing lyrics.  We heard that Der Kommisar is back in town, so we should be careful; I thought of all we have since learned about the East German secret police--did the songwriter know too, before we all learned that it was even worse than we thought that it was?

I thought about the fact that we spun to the music that would mark the end of the Cold War, although we didn't know it in the 80's when we first heard it.  I thought about the strange disconnect between the music that had such uplift and the lyrics which explored our collective dread.

And of course, I thought of my own project, the activists at 50 linked short stories.  I don't think I have a nuclear freeze activist created or planned--O.K. brain, you start working while I'm doing the work for pay that I need to do today.

And while I'm recording inspirations for my short stories, let me remember this interview with RuPaul:  lots of interesting insight about drag culture and about history.  Let me record this closing insight of RuPaul's:  "RuPaul is now 55 years old, and he's seen a lot of changes in the LGBT community. But he's wary about saying things are getting better. 'I've gotta tell you, you know, even in the late '70s we thought we were gonna be where we are now, we thought we were gonna be there then. But overnight, you know — disco sucks, and with the AIDS crisis, everything reverted back so fast. Your head — you'd get whiplash, it was so fast. So I'm very cautious when I talk about the changes and the advances we've made in such a short amount of time. Very cautious. Because in my lifetime I've seen that shift go completely backwards.'"

1 comment:

Wendy said...

One that gets me is _Cry_the_Beloved_Country_. Until I *actually* read it, I had assumed it was about the time of apartheid. Reading it and reading the hope at the end that things would get better, were getting better, and realizing that historically it was just barely pre-apartheid and things were about to get a lot worse before they ever got better left me stunned, and I always have THAT somewhere in the back of my mind when we talk about these things.