Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Night Moves Nostalgia

Image Source: Convivium.

Back in the mid-to-late 1980s, when saxophones were the height of cool, a broadcaster in the Canadian city of Toronto called GLOBAL TV ended every day with a program called Night Moves; they also did related shows called Night Music and Night Walk. The shows ran after regular programming instead of a test pattern and were mesmerizing favourites of local insomniacs, shift workers and students. One blog calls the programs, "psychogeographic." They featured a camerman's trip around the city at night against a jazz soundtrack with vocalist Sharon Lee Williams. On the music, one Youtuber says: "What is this? This was a TV show? Is this the actual soundtrack? It makes me want to make love to a woman on a shag carpet."

These were the days when the TV channels stopped broadcasting after the late movie. It was before the time when night owls were left watching infomercials, since infomercials barely existed then. In later seasons, the show Night Drive showed the view from a car as a GLOBAL TV staffer drove through the city at night. But it was all the same idea, on an incredibly low budget.  These shows were intended to increase 'Canadian content,' which was and is legally mandated on Canadian television. That quota demanded a certain number of hours per day of national programming because Canadian TV has always been swamped by American and British broadcasting.

Typically, Canadians made Canadian content for the dead hours of the night when no one was watching the television. But ironically, because these shows were made with the expectation that they would have almost no audience, they inadvertently captured something true about their place and time and became a much-loved hit.  See some of the videos of 1980s' Toronto below the jump.  Youtube comments and a recent article reveal how much these very simple shows are missed by their audience.

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  1. Great collection of videos! Sheila Heti did a brilliant essay about growing up watching Night Walks and those late-night Global TV sign-offs:


    "Surely this is a way toward the serene, enlightened, steady, focused walking through the unknown streets."

  2. Thanks very much for this link, RCV. I think there is something even more nostalgic about this show because walking around at night in NYC (or any other major city in the world) in the same time period (1986-1993) would have been completely impossible - simply too dangerous. So there is this mesmerising glamour of the city at night, combined with the comfort that a camera crew could actually walk around at night all over the place without getting attacked. That weird message of safety in an inner city environment made these shows much beloved, I think.