Alphabetical Movie – The Jewel of the Nile
For some of the younger folks out there, it may come as a surprise to learn that there was a time when MTV played music videos all the time. I was a college student during this magical time in the mid 80’s and I
wasted enjoyed many hours in front of the television watching some of the finest music videos ever produced studying.
My first year of college, I attended Coe College in Cedar Rapids Iowa. Things didn’t work out so well between Coe and I left after my freshman year. One of the best friends I’ve ever made was from that first year and for me, The Jewel of the Nile will always be about Teri, Coe College, and MTV.
Going away to college is about as jarring an experience as any of us will ever have. College is a comparatively safe and insular environment but you are still on your own for the first time. I didn’t have a hard time making friends but I still felt a bit lost in those early days.
My golden birtday was September 18th that year and I didn’t get to celebrate it with anyone because I didn’t know anyone. That sounds like a stupid problem and it was. It sucked at the time, though.
Teri and I were introduced by a mutual friend and we were immediately comfortable with one another. We had complementary senses of humor, we both felt a little lost in this strange new world and we both liked studying in the common room at 2AM with MTV playing in the background.
Or, rather, foreground.
It was the fall of 1985 and The Jewel of Nile was in theatres. We didn’t care, of course, because the only movie theatre walking distance from the campus was a Porno theatre. They might have been showing Jewlie Does the Nile but it didn’t star Kathleen Turner so I didn’t care about that one either.
MTV was playing some fantastic videos that year. “Sledgehammer” was in high rotation. “When the Going Gets Tough” by Billy Ocean was also in high rotation. And it wasn’t a great video.
But it did feature the three leads from Jewel of the Nile as backup singers.
I don’t know if it was the MTV VJ’s or Teri and I that dubbed them as the Jewelettes (probably the VJ’s) but we loved the lame ass dance the Jewelettes used to do.
We loved it so much, in fact, that every time that video came on the TV, we stop
pretending to study studying so we could dance along with the Jewelettes. We’d also sing their parts. Because why dance along if you aren’t going to sing their parts.
Other friends would join in when they were there but I remember it as being a Teri and me “thing” because we were the ones who were stupid enough to stay up that late almost every night. They never had the dance moves down the way we did.
We were the Pips to Billy Ocean’s Gladys Knight at least once or twice an evening.
Holy shit was that song on heavy rotation.
The years have passed as they must. I left Iowa and Teri stayed. She was in my wedding and we see each other about once every five years – which isn’t nearly enough. Especially given how comparatively close we live to one another.
Every time we see each other, it’s like time hasn’t passed. We have one of the most comfortable and familiar relationships I’ve had with anyone who isn’t my wife. You don’t find too many friends like that in your life.
I still watch The Jewel of the Nile far more than the quality of the film would warrant simply because it calls to mind the days of singing and dancing along with the Jewelettes.
But I don’t sing and dance along to the video any more. I guess it just isn’t the same.