Sunday, April 13, 2008

Ain't Nothin Pointless About This Gig

When I was little - knee-high to a grasshopper as they say - Mom had a vinyl record that I loved to listen to over and over, by an artist named Harry Nilsson. This record was not your typical record. It had music on it for sure, but it also had a story - a very pointed story - and that story was appropriately called, The Point.

So far in my lifetime, I haven't met anyone who remembers this story when I ask if they've heard of it, which I find a little strange (and sad since it was an excellent piece of entertainment), but I did find some movie captures from the DVD on YouTube so I know I'm not the only one that finds it enchanting.

If you read the Wikipedia information on Nilsson, he's had his hand in everything from The Muppet Show to My Name is Earl, but not many people seem to recall who he was offhand. His career seemed a bit jinxed. The two songs you would probably recognize are "Coconut" ( put the lime in the coconut and drank 'em both up...) and Everybody's Talkin' (yes, that one: everybody's talkin at me/I can't hear a word they're saying/only the echoes of my mind...), but I'll bet you wouldn't have been able to recall it was him that sang those. I was also surprised to learn from Wikipedia how connected to the The Monkees he was. I loved everything about The Monkees when I was a kid! And although I knew Ringo Starr did the narration on the DVD of The Point, I didn't realize how connected he was to the Beatles as well. But I digress...

In hindsight, I can see how this story may have influenced my thinking in a very positive way for the rest of my life. I can't tell you how many times a line or song would come to mind long after the LP disappeared. It's probably been a good 20+ years since I've owned a copy of it, so I went looking for it online the other night.

I know the record has been out there the whole time, and is out there still, available this very moment on Amazon in fact. I just don't understand why, in this recent age of apparent awakening of the Collective Conscious, it hasn't taken off like a shot. Maybe Oprah hasn't heard of it yet.

I'm here to tell you though, if you enjoy wordplay and double entendre, the message behind the message, and an enlightened kind of thinking, you should buy this story because you will love listening to it over and over, no matter how old you are. If nothing else, buy it for your kids (or nieces, nephews, etc.) because they will be better people for listening to it and being influenced by the ideas.

The story starts:

Years ago there was a place called The Land of Point, and that was because everything in The Land of Point had one. The barns, the houses, the carts, everything. Even the people. Everyone in The Land of Point had a point on the top of his head. Everyone, that is, with the exception of Oblio.

Now, although Oblio was born to a set of normally pointed parents, and although he was born physically perfect in every other respect, he was born without a point. He was round-headed. And as time passed, Oblio became increasingly aware of his uniqueness, and so did everyone else. Which made life in The Land of Point rather uncomfortable for him, and his parents.

You see, Oblio became sort of an involuntary celebrity and he was subject to the sometimes cruel and unusual harassment from his schoolmates. It wasn't easy being the only pointless person in the whole Land of Point. And in an effort to make life easier, his mother knitted a pointed cap for him to wear. It was to conceal his pointless condition, but it didn't do much good because everyone knew he didn't have a point, so it only managed to make Oblio a little lonelier. In fact, the only real friend he had was his dog, Arrow.

Nilsson's song Me and My Arrow comes in here on the audio recording. After that the narration goes on to describe how Oblio and Arrow win a game against the villain of the story, are put on trial, and are consequently banished to the Pointless Forest (which turns out to be not so pointless after all). In their travels, they meet many interesting characters, but my favorite is The Rock Man.

After a journey through The Pointless Forest, Oblio and Arrow return to the Land of Point with a new point of view, which they share with the villagers. Something very interesting happens then, but I don't want to spoil the end, so you'll just have to find out what The Point is for yourself. :)

The original audio recording is so much better than the DVD in my opinion (except for the wisdom of The Rock Man, which was expanded in the animated version). I've always thought plain audio (or books for that matter) are better because they allow your imagination the freedom to create its own scenes and characters. Don't get me wrong, I love movies too and I see a lot of them, but you can't always allow Hollywood to do all the work for you.

Anyway, I'm sure you get The Point. :D

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Sounds very interesting, will have to look into that one because I, like all the other people you have talked to, have never even heard of this story! Could be a nice one to share with our nephews though, thanks for the recommendation :~)