In another blatant attempt to demonstrate my age MTV just celebrated its 25th anniversary. I can remember how excited I was when I would visit my father who lived in the big city and had cable. I’d sit down in front of the tv and watch videos for hours and hours. This was in the days before Real World and the ridiculous game shows that later filled the hours. Rap music hadn’t yet kudzu’d its way over the entire day either. Later the show MTV Raps would be introduced which gave you a helpful means to avoid the genre entirely.
Gather round children and I’ll tell you of seeing my first Madonna video. She was writhing around in the middle of a road (I was quite concerned for her safety) as she sang “Burning Up.” I thought the boys of Duran Duran were quite glamorous on their yacht as they searched for Rio. A Michael Jackson video was still an event and he was still black. This was in the days before the boy band too. I picked up my crushes where I could, Haircut 100’s Nick Heyward in his loincloth, Billy Idol sleazing around.
The big one though was Peter Cox from Go West. I’d race into the room whenever I’d hear We Close Our Eyes on the television. Peter Cox (hee hee) dancing around in his tank top was an electric jolt to a country boy.
Later, The Real World Norman Korpi would show me my first glimpse of a happy, healthy homosexual. I can understand why the crazy religious right are so afraid of gay portrayals on tv because it might just help some isolated gay kid realize why he’s different. For me Norman was a hero for just being himself and showing me possibility. Nowadays I see the Real World boys cavorting around shirtless and showing off for the cameras and marvel at how far we’ve come.
So thank you MTV! I’m long out of your demographic but a long time ago you gave me hope and you gave me joy... and more importantly thank you Peter Cox you gave me something a little more interesting.