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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Why the Daleks Don’t Like Van Halen: Part 1

In the Doctor Who story "The Chase,"
the Daleks pursue the Tardis
in their own, newer time machine.

Isn’t it amazing how music brings us together?  Whether sung in churches, in public houses, or in concert venues such as the Royal Albert Hall, music brings out something special in us.  It unites us in a way not easy to define.  The sound of finely tuned instruments and voices lifted in song lightens the soul.  Lyrics inspired by fiction, tradition, and historical events flow through our minds, and become part of the soundtrack of our lives.  Music can make us feel more energized and alive than the most potent drugs.  Songs can evoke emotions from within us that we had thought locked up and forgotten.  The best music fuses with the universal human experience, or the consciousness of our day, and thus creates communities out of disparate individuals.

In Junior High School, when my own individual tastes began to diverge from that of my parents and my church, one of the first music groups I bonded with was Van Halen.  I don’t think there was one particular aspect of the group that I liked more than any other.  David Lee Roth’s singing radiated individuality and vitality.  Eddie Van Halen played his guitar with enthusiasm and artistry.  Michael Anthony’s bass guitar, and Alex Van Halen’s drums, served as the foundation of the group, rooting and grounding the ensemble’s signature sound.  When I started to make my own money, theirs were the first records I bought.  Their songs made me smile, filled me with energy, and helped me see the world in a more complete fashion.  At least they did until I destroyed them.

The Daleks pursue the Doctor and his companions
across space and time.

One summer, our pastor hired a youth leader.  He came to our church, befriended us, and spoke with an intelligence and passion that impressed us all.  Then one Sunday night, he delivered a sermon that transfixed us.  His usage of scripture struck terror into our hearts.  What was his message?  How Satan used secular rock music to corrupt our souls, and separate us from God.  I don’t remember the particulars of what he said, but I do remember the result.  Many of us went home and broke all the records, eight-tracks tapes, and cassette tapes in our collections.

I’ve always regretted those acts of ruthless violence.  In destroying my beloved music library, I created a void in my heart that nothing else (not even the best Christian Rock music) could fill.  It took awhile, but over time, I came to realize how the man’s arguments, and my consequent actions, had left me bereft.  It took several years, but gradually I replaced most of what had been lost, thus regaining the songs so precious to me.

The Tardis finally lands on a planet with man-eating plants,
where the Doctor & company decide to make their stand.

In the original “Doctor Who” series, one of my favorite moments from the first Doctor era comes in “The Chase.”  Through the Time-Space Visualiser, the Doctor is able to tune into a Beatles concert.  Suddenly everyone in the Tardis comes to life.  While Vicki, Ian, and Barbara have been happy and joyous in other stories, they never seemed so alive to me as when they were dancing to the Beatles music in the Tardis.  Sadly, no doubt due to legal and financial considerations, this footage has been edited from the recent DVD release, at least for Region 1 (in the United States). 

This blog will conclude with Why the Daleks Don’t Like Van Halen: Part 2.

But they don't count on a look-a-like Doctor,
or the Mechonoids who lay in wait for them.

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