Friday, August 25, 2006

MFA : short for...

I was doing some research on music and aggression a while back, which naturally led me to heavy metal. I am, I would say, more than peripherally aquainted with this genre, having spent my high school years caught in the thick of a banger maelstrom (or should I say Maëlström) in my tiny home town in southern Manitoba. Whatever I absorbed and have retained since then was done entirely through osmosis, as I have never in my life pressed play and cranked it up to 11 when a Judas Priest tape was on deck. All the really cool kids were bangers. Their standard uniform of dress was the raglan-sleeved metal band shirt (Mondays = Iron Maiden, Tuesdays = AC/DC, Wednesdays = Mötley Crüe, etc. reserving that most special of days, Fridays, for the Mother of all metal bands: METALLICA), paired with super tight black jeans (this is before stretch denim, so rips beneath the arse were de rigeur), high top runners, and lessen there be a slight chill in the air, the LUMBERJACK SHIRT. Preferably in black and red. Astrologically-speaking, black is associated with the planet Saturn, a male planet, typified by dominant behaviour. Everything in the universe is connected.

My Internet research led me to the Metallica Fan Association, (of course, now that I'm trying to track down the source to provide y'all witha handy link I come up with nothing. Why don't I write these things down when I find them? Apologies to the author). Anyway, this logo (above) appeared on their site. MFA are three letters that I've been branded with, because in my world, they stand for Master of Fine Arts, which I am. Yes, you may call me Master. Or Mistress if you prefer. The point is, my original thought was to screen print a bunch of t-shirts and sell them to MFA students who are in the thick of this utopian "it's all about memememememe!!!!" bubble. I never did get around to it, but now that's what this bloody blog is for!

Back to the heavy metal. There is something strangely appealing about it, I must admit. Something that puts you in touch with your inner neanderthal, reaches into your inner core and makes your jaw go slack and your tongue stick out and your eyes bug out and your limbs play air drums or air guitar, whichever you fancy. I'm partial to drums myself.

In "Sound of the Beast: The Complete Headbanging History of Heavy Metal", Ian Christe writes: "As ordained by Black Sabbath, heavy metal was a complex maelstrom (there's that word again) of neurosis and desire." That's what I was looking for - that mix of emotional and psychological unease that is the basis for much creative activity.

For a brief primer on the basics of metaldom, here's an article in The Manitoban that could save you from looking too square the next time you inadvertently find yourself strolling into an outdoor metal fest. Good luck.

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