Act Yr Age – an interaction to challenge social expectations

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The upbeat melody and clearly understood lyrics make the music video of BlueJuice’s song Act Yr Age  an excellent related text for Standard Module C: Texts and Society Elective 1 – Exploring Interactions. Directed by Sam Bennetts, and released in 2011, this text is guaranteed to provoke a range of responses. The filmed narrative allows viewers to consider who should give advice about how we our lives.

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Opening with a wide shot centered on a fashionable young man resting on a park bench, we may be dismayed at his choice of eating and ice cream while smoking a cigarette. The driving piano and drum beat, mixed with clapping, contradicts the negative tone of the first two verses. Several rhetorical questions lead into the chorus, which is itself a repetition of the singer’s incredulity at the persona’s misbehaviour.

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Through slow motion and close ups, the object of the persona’s attention is revealed  as two women walking through the park with a stroller.

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His disregard for others foreshadows his lack of interest in social niceties, such as bumping into another young women in his haste to meet …

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Dancing towards each other adds humour, though we are unsure of the outcome and wait, intrigued for the resolution. Discarded sunglasses in close up suggest the persona now has a clear vision of his desire

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Point of view shots take us into their embrace; our shock at this pairing is mirrored in the response from several onlookers and even dogs enjoying the sunshine.

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The graphic tongue kissing and groping is grotesque because we have been encouraged to expect people will be attracted to others of a similar age. Another possibility is that older women are not expected to have sexual desires.

Consider how these ideas work with the character of Charlie in The Black Balloon. He appears to be an older teenager, but behaves in ways that are only acceptable in our society for young toddlers: supermarket tantrums, running down the street in underpants, playing with excrement, masturbating in public.

Watch the music video again and take notes on how each person in the park communicates their response to the two lovers. Remember to make clear references to the lyrics and music that coincides with your notes. Do the other people in the park remind you of the nasty neighbours in The Black Balloon, or do you believe that a young man and an older woman could not possibly be attracted to each other? Why?

Act Yr Age lyrics

Watch a short video that reveals some behind-the-scenes moments in the making of this music video.

 

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