Sunday, May 7, 2017


Artist: a-ha
LP: 7" single
Song: "Take On Me"
[ listen ]

So I'm heading off to Norway, where I hope to meet up with a-ha. I've done some research so I'll be sure to have things to talk about when we're together...but I think the hardest part will be getting connected with them in the first place.

I'm not holding my breath for a date with Mags, since he likes The Beatles and The Doors, loves junk food, goes wind-surfing and doesn't have a favorite author. He's obviously straight. But a date with Pål or Morten is not out of the question. Pål's favorite music is Judy Garland's "Over the Rainbow," which is code, you know. And Morten enjoys growing orchids and still adores his mother's cooking! So basically, I'm going to pontificate loudly in several popular Oslo cafes about my fascination with writer Knut Hamsun, expounding as well on my love of goat cheese and the early music of Judy Garland. I'll also be asking around to see if anyone knows where I could pick up some fresh, locally-grown orchids. This will surely result in an introduction to the fellows in a-ha, since there just aren't that many people in Norway to begin with!

I'm bringing my promo-only 7" single of a-ha's international smash hit "Take On Me" with me to Norway so I can get it autographed. The video for the song was way ahead of its time in offering a warning about becoming too absorbed in comic book fantasies, about choosing to live vicariously through romantic and agreeable made-up drawings instead of facing the real world that's filled with real people who can sometimes be difficult and who have emotional baggage and all that. It's been a while since I've actually seen the video, but here's a play-by-play, as best I can remember, using the inserts that accompany my promo single as a guide:

A moderately-attractive young blonde woman from the '80s is habitually engrossed in the comic-book adventures of her favorite dashing young hero, who is a little on the reckless side and looks a lot like the lead singer of a-ha.

Suddenly her charcoal-drawing heartthrob reaches out from the pages before her and beckons her to join him in his next thrilling adventure! Could she be dreaming? True, she had just taken three Tylenol-pm capsules followed by a large glass of Merlot, but she had nothing planned for that afternoon anyway, so why not accept the invitation? What has she got to lose?

First, she cheers her hero on at an exciting motorcycle race, with contestants hitting speeds at least 30km/hr over what is generally considered a safe speed of travel on the roadway. He won! They celebrate with champagne.

Swept up in the thrill of victory, our hero and his new heroine embrace, their faces close and warm. They don't pull away. What are these feelings? Could it be love? The post-race awards banquet begins; the melodies of the popular local Norwegian party band sweep over them.

But there's something standing between them. "We're from different worlds!" they agonize together in unison. "It's just not possible that..." Their attention turns to the harshly-drawn character, still in racing gear, who approaches them. It's the guy who came in next to last! He's none to pleased with the way the race's handsome victor is carrying on!

They are in danger! They are pursued. They flee! "Look out, he's got a wrench!"

Just as they are about to meet an untimely demise, our heroine tumbles through a portal that leads back to the real world from which she came. But where is her fantasy lover!? I don't remember how, but somehow she drags him through the portal too. He beats himself against a wall a few times which turns him into a real boy—albeit one with little-to-no experience with the real world or how it operates. That's just the way she likes them! They live happily ever after—or at least they share an apartment for several years before things turn sour and he runs off to Paris to pursue a music career, while she stays behind with her collection of comic books and a bottle of gin.

[ a-ha ]

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