Friday, 14 September 2012

Don't fear the peepers

I'm guessing that the above image, taken from a well-known auction site, shows more recent packaging for the joke glasses in the previous post, manufactured by the same company. Unless they are a bootleg version of a popular product; I really don't know how cutthroat things are these days in the novelty industry. 

There is undoubtedly a greater facility with English on display here: one bona fide pun ("a real spectacle") and (perhaps) a hint of double entendre in the phrase "bi-focal fun" nestling in the red oval once needed to warn purchasers that what they were getting for their pennies was not a genuine aid to vision.

But it's odd: a slicker product but, I suspect, less memorable. Is it simply that this newfound evidence of an ability to handle language takes away our smirking sense of superiority? (As noted earlier, others online have been similarly tickled by the clumsy phrase in the previous packaging.) 

Or is it that "DARING! DON'T FEAR OF MY EYES" suits the product better, being suggestive of a child striving for a portentous phrase and making do with whatever rough assembly of words first comes into his head?

And looking at the graphics, is it also the case that the eyes are longer-lashed than in the earlier packaging, suggesting a female wearer? Has the item become downgraded from its previous status as terror-inducing, mesmerising tool to fashion accessory? I don't know; and I have already lingered too long on these matters for a blog which is ostensibly about music. 

By coincidence, on the most recent edition of On the Beat Spencer Leigh played Louis Armstrong's recording of Jeepers Creepers which, he said, was originally sung in the film Going Places... to a horse This is the only clip I could find on youtube, and it cuts off midway through his scatted conclusion, but the fact that his recording, shorn of its equine associations, has endured while the film has not tells you all you need to know:

You can find out much more about Jeepers Creepers on the Wonderful World of Louis Armstrong here. A great blog in which you can lose many happy hours, it has very detailed analyses of Armstrong's work penned in a lively, engaging style by a self-confessed "Louis Armstrong nut." who even provides audio clips of different recordings of songs over the years so you can make instant comparisons. There is now an associated book - read an interview here.

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