Tuesday, November 13, 2007


In the comments section from yesterday’s post my Mom talked about me getting on the ice to skate. I have been thinking about it a lot for the last month or even a little longer. The itch got really bad about three weeks ago while I was listening to The Magical Mystery Tour and my body just wanted to make a program for Strawberry Fields Forever. Sadly, there are no rinks that are particularly easy for me to get to and I like things to be easy. I secretly hoped that there was a rink on the DePaul campus that I could sneak some ice time on but there isn’t. They have an intramural hockey team but they practice at one of the few city rinks.

The first event of the season, Skate America, aired Oct 28th and the second, Cup of China was on last Sunday. Happily, there will be skating on every Sunday (except one) from now until Dec 23rd. Even though it makes me incredibly happy to see the top skaters so often and gauge how they will end up performing this year as we get to Worlds in March I am also experiencing some frustration with the sport.

In my posts last year I talked about how much I love the new judging system (based on a base value of points for each element) because it really pushes the skater to achieve more than they had to on the 6.0 system and is much fairer. I still agree with that statement. However, I am interested in why skating in the Us, which used to bring in great ratings, is failing so much. One of the reasons could be the lack of people like Dick Button to get spectators excited about the new system and instead maintaining his typical curmudgeon attitude. Some people have said that the sport is suffering because it is perceived as unfair and corrupt because of the incident at the 2002 Olympics. That could very well be true. However, instead of trumpeting the merits of the new system as being a way to stop such practices, the system was rolled out as complicated. Maybe it is just m but I think it is easier to understand that each move has a point value and then the points are added up then a system where they get random numbers assigned to them based on a program as a whole. Even after a life of skating that system didn’t make all that much sense.

Anyway, I have digressed from my point. My point is that even a lover of skating such as me sometimes has a hard time with some of the skaters. I have my favorites, people that light up the ice and you can’t stop watching, and I have people that I tend to watch out of the corner of my eye. I think the problem is incredibly simple. They need to do something about the music. They need to bring back innovation and interest. I can’t stand to hear another program with the music from Carmen, Sing Sing Sing, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, The Mission soundtrack, or a Broadway melody. If I am getting bored with the music and I love the sport I can only imagine what the casual observer must think.

It isn’t as if there is a lack of music out in the world. There isn’t even a lack of instrumental music in the world. You don’t have to use classical music to be graceful and artistic. There are instrumental arrangements of popular music all over the place. Why aren’t people tapping into the true variety that is out there? New music would inherently bring new artistic expression and with new expression comes new excitement. How awesome would it be to see a short program to Da Funk by Daft Punk or a long program to some instrumental Radiohead piece? It would be entirely crazy awesome I tell you. Some people can carry off the classical pieces, they have a dance quality and a maturity that can actually express the music but some of the skaters just can’t get in tune with the traditional pieces. They need to recommend some selections to their coaches and choreographers, things that they like and motivate them. Sure, it may take the judges a little bit to get used to but if the top skaters do it I think it could work. I mean Jubert won everything possible last season to instrumental versions of Metallica. He was awesome. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. The sport is progressing physically and is increasingly more complex. The music needs to get modernized as well.

Oh, and another thing, stop taking skating videos off youtube for copyright issues US Figure Sating Assn the sport needs all the viewers it can get. Dumbases.

1. Underneath the bridge/ top has sprung a leak and/ the animals I trapped/ Have all become my pets

2. I met you on a midway at a fair last year/ and you stood out like a ruby in a Black man’s ear. That Song About The Midway. Joni Mitchell. Identified by Mom.

3. Make a list little Lars never seen a star/ Put his fans behind bars/ Can’t you see mp3 means you’re stealing from me/ you should have bought a Cd

4. Daddy’s ghost behind you/ sleeping dog beside you/ You’re a point of mystery/ You’re the prayer inside me

5. Does it make you happy to ignore me on streets/ I guess by now you think I’m weak/ I wish you could have said something before now


Urban Chick said...

Yet another little tidbit that makes you a fantastically cool person...you're a skater.

Chatty Knitter said...

Every time I listen to the Overture from JC Superstar I wish I was a figure skater. I choreograph whole little routines in my head and imagine how fun it would be to go from slow and creepy to fast and flashy with the music.

I think I told you that before, though.

Anonymous said...

I used to pretend I was a conductor when I heard classical music, and I would swoosh those giant trianle shapes with my hand.
I should try doing that to some Daft Punk tunage. Sorry, this comment has nothing to do with skating.

CS said...

Although I know little about skating or music, I have to agree with you on this - sometimes I just cringe at the music they pick.

Brooke said...

I know this makes me a total dork, and also old, but I'd love for someone to skate to the music from Edward Scissorhands. I think that would be beautiful and awesome. As would J.C. Superstar, in a completely opposite way.

Mom said...

If you ever do make a program for Strawberry Fields Forever, I hope I can see it.

I watched Skate Canada and (sadly) was mostly bored. Maybe it's just that it's early in the season and the skaters aren't warmed up yet. But still. There just seemed to be a lack of passion/fire. I agree with you -- people need to modernize their music. You were lightyears ahead of the crowd on this!

Yeah, the "new" judging system makes a lot of sense. I hope the younger commentators can manage to communicate that to the audience. They mentioned that some of the skaters have now skated under nothing but this system.

Natalie said...

Urban chick- I WAS a skater. I need to become one once again.

Chatty Knitter- I totally agree it is great skating music. Even though it is broadway it isn't the type of cheesy musical music these skaters (or their coaches/choreographers) pick. King Herod's song is ultimate footwork music.

Auld Hat- I did that too. I also pretend to conduct Daft Punk but it isn't a swoopy triangular motion it's more of a wrist snap.

CS- It's just not right. The female skaters are typically veterans by the age of 18, you can't tell me they wouldn't have a more fun time and be connected with their moves to some modern music.

Brooke- Edward Scissorhands would be fantastic. Really any Danny Elfman music would be wonderful. People are just so scared to go against the norm.

Mom- I most likely never will but if i do then maybe you can see it. However, as the song is over 4 min long it much more closely resembles the long program of a sr level skater than something I cold handle. It even has the dramatic footwork type music at the end that they are all going for.

Skate America was much more exciting than Skate Canada but I will say early season competition is always hard. I was really impressed with both pairs teams they showed. I'm all about the German team winning everything cause it's time for a Black man to be atop the figure skating world! Plus they are just awesome.

Mom said...

I almost forgot...

#2 - That Song About the Midway; Joni Mitchell (from the album Clouds)

dmarks said...

Sorry, I'm one of those who prefers watching TV skating when there are pucks and sticks involved. And fights too.

Katrina said...

I always enjoyed watching the skating competitions during the Olympics. But I haven't watched any for the last couple of them. Actually, I think the last one I watched was with the whole Tanya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan incident, wow, that's been awhile.

Maybe I should start watching again. Sounds like there's been many changes since then. What's boring you could be really interesting to me since it's all new. Next time I'm flipping channels if they're on I'll take a look see.

Johnny Yen said...

The nearest rink I can think of to Depaul is at McFetridge Park, on California Avenue, between Addison and Irving.