SotD: Dire Straits, “Romeo and Juliet” and “Skateaway”

Sometime in 80 a new television subscription service came to the Cincinnati area. Called ONTV, they sent a scrambled signal over a UHF frequency (it was Channel 64 in Cincy). Their fare was mostly movies, a precursor of HBO. We had it for some period of time toward the end of my high school days; I remember watching stuff like The Warriors and Hooper on it. Cable pretty much wrecked their business model. I know my folks didn’t maintain it after they moved from Walton to Florence.

Between movies, ONTV often played music videos. That was how I first encountered these two gems, tracks 2 and 3 on the first side of Making Movies, perhaps Dire Straits’ magnum opus. I’ve seen “Skateaway” multiple times over the years on MTV and the like, but until a couple of weeks ago, I hadn’t caught the vid for “Romeo and Juliet” since, well, high school. I remembered the male lead strutting and snapping his fingers, but I’d forgotten that it wasn’t he going off into the distance at the end.

I can’t say either is great art–the conventions of the medium were still being set–but they both bring back strong, fond memories of hanging in my living room, waiting for the next flick to start.

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