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Sunday, January 29, 2006 :::

Coming of Age

There are a million Hollywood "coming-of-age" movies where the kid loses his innocence, and for the first time he's able to see the world as it really exists, facilitating the realization that it's time to grow up and be a man. In the movies, the catalyst is usually something dramatic and heavy, involving a first love or a dying mother or the Great Depression. My own coming-of-age story involves a Prince & The Revolution LP and my Fisher Price portable record player:

I was ten years old and I was biking home from piano lessons when I passed a garage sale where I found quite a bargain: an almost-new and unscratched Prince 1999 record for only fifty cents. Purple Rain had just recently made a big splash and I was a fan of that "Delirious" song from having heard it on Solid Gold and at the neighborhood roller rink. Luckily, I had the cash on me, so I made my purchase and excitedly peddled home.

But at home I opened the record's slip sleeve and this poured out:

Looking back on it now, it's a ridiculously cheesy picture. He's naked in a bed, painting in watercolor, enveloped in fog and bathed in neon? Please. That must've have been lame even back in the early eighties. But I was ten, going to catholic school, and utterly appalled. I immediately hid the record jacket in the back of my closet and pretended like I never saw it.

Then I pulled out my Fisher Price portable record player and put on the first track of side two, which was curiously titled "Let's Pretend We're Married." I'd heard this before on the radio, but was too young to really catch its drift. I was also apparently unaware the that radio version was heavily edited, because toward the end of the song there is an extended riff where - to my ten-year-old horror - Prince moans loud and lasciviously: "I wanna, I wanna, I wanna, I wanna... f*ck you..."

I instantly got a tummy ache and wanted to cry. I scratched the needle off the record before my mother could hear it and hid the offending item behind my bed. It was just too dirty. The album stayed hidden for months before I finally got the courage to play it a second time, but I never used that Fisher Price record player again. A children's toy playing very grown-up music; it's an intriguing visual "coming-of-age" metaphor if I do say so myself. It'd almost be poetic, if it didn't involve a half-naked Prince painting in watercolors.

Anyway, I remembered all this because I saw one of those Fisher Price record players in a movie on TV this morning and I got a vivid flashback. Speaking of innocence and LPs, does anyone else remember The Music Machine or the Lollywinks? Man, those were awesome albums.

::: posted by dan at 12:26 PM :: [ link ] :: (23) comments Social Bookmark Button

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23 previous comments:

I'm glad you're so well-adjusted after this. You could have been really messed up by that...

Now I will dream of you painting watercolors. that's cool right??

By Blogger the other sarah, at 1:01 AM  

Oh God, I had that record player AND the Music Machine album (a gift from my grandparents). Wow. I thought it was just me.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:07 AM  

Yikes, I too had this record player, but lost my innocence to songs like 'do you love me' by KISS. Leave it to Fisher Price to invent something like this.

By Blogger Bewareoftheblog, at 4:45 PM  

keeping things in the closet seems to be a theme on planetdan

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:41 PM  

Is there a pop-psychiatry moment to be had here connecting this incident and your Halloween costume this year? Have you had a second coming of age?

By Blogger Cully, at 10:05 PM  

So you knew you were a homosexual at an early age. When did you discover you had a drinking problem or are you still in denial?

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:17 PM  

I now have "The Music Machine" on CD! I still have it on LP somewhere in my brother's basement. My Mom got the CD for my two daughters, they listen to it all the time. "Music machine, music machine, it's like nothing that you've ever seen."

By Blogger stapler, at 6:32 AM  

I can't belive we have never talked about this because the exact same thing happened to me. Well except I must have been more innocent then you because all the questionable lyrics we replaced in my mind with censored ones *master babied with a magazine*

By Blogger Stacy, at 7:18 AM  

i used to listen to my Madonna 45s on this record player and talk to my pretend boyfriend (a Michael Jackson poster).

By Blogger peppermintlisa, at 8:36 AM  

Boom boom chicka chicka bang bang... I was just discussing the Music Machine album with a colleague last week - she'd never heard of it and thought I was nuts.

By Anonymous Rebecca K., at 10:28 AM  

I was in elementary school when I overheard two older girls discussing the finer points of prince's music - masturbating with a magazine? What the fuck was that all about? Jockeys? Lace pants?

The whole conversation was a swirly twirly mindfuck and it wasn't until fifteen years later that I was able to appreciate the little purple one. Prince, of course...Prince.

By Blogger Elle Marie, at 1:01 PM  

This post is making me laugh every time i see it now. I keep picturing the horror of little dan first seeing the half naked Prince and then listening to the lyrics. I used to listen to Madonna on my Fisher Price stereo as well.

By Blogger Biglug, at 8:32 PM  

Tell Prince to stop staring at me like that and cover up his ass!

By Blogger Nate Dogg, at 4:46 PM  

I'll bet little Danny boy got an erection when he saw Prince naked.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:40 PM  

Will someone please shoot the homo-obsessed anonymous poster....geeze get a new line...

By Blogger pixelala, at 8:58 PM  

I had one of those record players too. Not only did my record player frequently play a Purple Rain 45 that was PURPLE, but it also played some killer Menudo, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam and Madonna records. I was also mortified when I learned what Prince meant when he said "come on baby, let's b-b-ball!" in the affore mentioned Let's Pretend We're Married. I thought it had something to do with kickball, baseball, you name the sport with ball in it.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:25 PM  

awesome, dan. just AWESOME!

By Blogger Honey Bunny, at 10:53 PM  

` I had a red and white Fisher Price record player myself, but never used it as I didn't have any records.
` ...Nor did I listen to the radio, for that matter.

` Though... that didn't stop me from being perpetually horny since age four.

` Did I just write that?

` Well, it's not like anyone has ever kissed me, nor have I ever been able to have an....

` !?!? I'm just going to pretend I never wrote that in a complete stranger's blog commentary. LA LA LAAAA!!!

By Blogger S E E Quine, at 12:38 AM  

I remember being similarly shocked by Sheena Easton's "My Sugar Walls." I had a similar record player (that was shaped like Mickey Mouse's head) but stuck to kid-friendly pop like a Billy Joel 45 of "Tell Her About It."

By Anonymous cubicalgirl, at 2:31 PM  

I can't think of anything scarier for ten-year-old Catholic boy than to see a slender man painting and hearing him moan after his piano lesson. Yikes.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:24 PM  

incredible, a very beautiful photography

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:15 AM  

i was beginning to think i was the only person who listened to the lollywinks. i need to find a copy of that album....

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:29 PM  

I had the Lollywinks album and am looking for a new one. (Maybe if I dig thru my parent's house I can find it, they still have a record player)

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:30 PM  

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