Diary of an old cheeser

Hi there! Like other blogs, this is my chance to wax lyrical (some might say talk utter cr*p) about a) what's happening in my life b) all of my pet obsessions in particular music, tv, movies, books and other generally connected things, quite often of the retro, old and "cheesy" variety. Hence the title of my blog. Feel free to leave a comment if the mood takes you. There's nothing like a good chinwag about one's favourite topics and besides I love to meet new people! Cheers, Simon

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Where there's Will there's a way...

I've been meaning to write a post on Will Powers for absolutely ages. And given some of the changes that are going on in my life at the moment and the choices that I'm having to think about, she's kind of significant. And could be for a lot of you, in fact.

And who exactly is Will Powers, I hear you cry? Do any of you remember "Kissing With Confidence"? It was a hit in the early 1980s and is best described as an entertaining and humorous but ultimately enlightening instruction on how to overcome problems with kissing. The lyrics went like this:

You may be a sharp dresser
You may be a fantastic dancer
You may be a lively conversationalist
But what happens at the end of the evening
When the time comes to show how you feel?
Unless you can kiss with confidence,
All your fancy dressing, dancing and talking
Won't get you a second date.

I'd meet a boy I really liked
I'd start to win his heart
Come the time to kiss good night
I'd always fall apart
I'd giggle like I had no brains
Or else I'd start to cough
I thought my perspiration stains
Would turn a fellow off.

She was nervous
She was too shy
She was breathless
Lips were too dry
Hands were shaking
Didn't Know Why.

Do you want to kiss this person?
Then be honest.
What is keeping you from kissing with confidence?

Some of them can be put to rest if you ask yourself a few simple questions before kissing.
Is your breath fresh?
Do you have spinach on your teeth?
Is your deodorant strong enough?
You may also finding yourself asking what will happen once you are in the act of kissing.
Will your stomach growl?
Will your braces lock?
Will you be able to prolong the kiss and still breathe?

Why thank you for reading all of that. As said, the track manages to be thought-provoking and lots of fun at the same time. And I love the funky, 80s production. Carly Simon sings guest vocal on it too which makes it even better. "Will" herself does the advisory/rapping bits - in a husky, masculine sounding voice - although her real life alter ego is actually photographer Lynn Goldsmith.

But "Kissing" is just the tip of the iceberg. Will Powers then released an entire album, "Dancing For Mental Health" with a self help / improvement theme running throughout - every track has a message with lyrics that reflects this. The album is bursting with positive affirmations and ideas to help you improve your life. For example, one track, "Opportunities", looks at what to do when things go wrong in our lives - instead of dwelling on the bad stuff, see a set-back as a golden opportunity to turn your life around (like my recent job situation). We get testimonials from people like Bruce, a plumber who loses his job and then decides to set up his own plumbing company and Donna, a straight-talkin' hairdresser from the Bronx. "Happy Birthday" is about seeing your birthday as the perfect time for you to take stock and re-evaluate your life. And instead of dwelling on how much time you have wasted, making the most of the valuable time you have left! "Smile" considers how a positive mental attitude can affect your chances in life and bring about amazing personal transformations, starting with something as small as a smile. We finish up with a slightly OTT but touching testimonial from former bag-lady Wilma Fox, who has sunk "as low as a woman can go" and is praying for a miracle to turn her life around. Then one morning, catching the subway she goes to buy a ticket from the man in the booth, giving change:

He looked me in the eye
He handed me a token
He flashed me a smile
And the spell was broken!
Just a smile
Just smile
Just a smile
Just smile.

I bust through that turnstile
I ran to my train
People still looked hostile
But something that changed!

My express pulled in
The doors swung wide
And I started to grin as I stepped inside
I smiled as the train pullled out of the station
Sort of tickled by the humour of my own situation
Just a smile
Just smile
Just a smile
Just smile

And my attitude spread to all the fellow riders
They looked at each other and threw off those blinders
Eyes that were dead, suddenly shone
One by one, they were touched
Touched - to the bone.

As they exited that car
Great smiles were exploding
Like the evening star
Like breezes from the north
And one by one they all departed
And I saw what the man in the change booth had started
Just a smile
Just a smile
Come on smile
Just a smile

You know a smile is a very infectious thing.
It spreads joy.
It's a sign of caring.
Success or failure is caused by your mental attitude
And your mental attitude shows on your face.
So smile!
Come on!
A smile can pick you up out of the gutter and make you prosperous...
...now, I take taxis!

Brilliant stuff. Okay, perhaps it's slightly naive - I can't see many people on London Underground reacting in quite the same way - but maybe that's me having a closed mind. I love the idea behind the song and I think the words really do ring true - your mental state really does show in your face and how you get ahead in life is affected by your attitude - undoubtedly!

I love this album! So it's dated and it's got some slightly silly character skits (Wilma Fox notwithstanding) but overall it's highly inspirational and time has not diminished its effect. If you're feeling down or undecided about your life and want to make changes, "Dancing For Mental Health" is the album for you. I recommend it wholeheartedly.


  • At 8:35 am , Blogger Steve said...

    My God! Will Powers! Now that brings back some memories. I was midway through secondary school when that came out. Sadly it's sunny affirmational ethos had little effect on me at the time as I was heading down the black PVC slope of goth-dom and fashionable depressiveness. Siouxsie ruled. Killing Joke growled. Then came The Smiths. And then for some reason I got into Prince & The Revolution... it was all downhill from that point onwards...

  • At 12:33 pm , Blogger Old Cheeser said...

    Ha ha! Of course the gothic genre is completely anathema to Will Powers so it's little wonder you weren't into her. The Smiths eh? Did you have flowers hanging out of your bottom a la Morrissey? I would love to see some pics of you as a goth!

    Prince and The Revolution were great though, the Purple Rain album is a total classic. And rather rude to boot. Darling Nikki - ahem!


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