Continental Drift

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Vid
Title: Continental Drift
Creator: Tashery Shannon
Date: 1989 or 1990
Format: VCR
Length: 4:23m
Music: "Continental Drift" by The Rolling Stones
Genre: character study
Fandom: Blake's 7
Footage:
URL: streaming version at AO3 here

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Continental Drift is a Blake's 7 fanvid edited by Tashery Shannon that is a character study of Avon. The vid was highly regarded for the timing of its fast edits and cuts, particularly in the last 30 seconds, something that was difficult to achieve in analog VCR vidding. In 2009, the vid was shown at Vividcon's "Envelope Pushers of the Past" vid show. The vid was also discussed that year at Vividcon's "History of Vidding 1985-1990": "What made this vid stand out was the music choice, very unique selection for a fanvid for its time.[1] She treated the vid like a story by using her edits to build to a narrative climax."

Lyrics

Love comes at the speed of light
Love comes at the speed of light
Love comes in a strange disguise
Love comes
Open the door and let the light pour over
Open the door don't you keep me out
Open the door and let the light pour over
Hear me shout

Vidder's Notes

In 2012, Tashery offered up some of the history behind the making of the vid. It is quoted with permission:
"Continental Drift" is a gen vid. The song's subtitle is "Love comes at the speed of light." Some of the "love" in the vid is friendship. But though it's not a song about love between two particular people, for me it's an intense vid because it probes into Avon's most vulnerable spot--his need to love and trust, and the repeated betrayals of those he trusts. Anna is the most obvious lover/betrayer, so the vid starts with her. The next images, Tynus, is betrayal by a friend Avon trusted, and so on. Part of Avon's wonderful complexity is that his experiences, and the universe he lives in, have made him so wary that he sometimes sees betrayal where it doesn't exist. Cally's only betrayal is getting killed and leaving him without her stabilizing influence. As for Blake...! What I saw in the increasingly fast, dizzy tempo of the Rolling Stones' "Continental Drift" was a chance to juxtapose images more and more frenetically to show the pressure of more and more betrayal. And deeper betrayal. The episode "Terminal" is key to this vid, and its images come at the point where the medium tempo song shifts into the faster and faster whirling drive. For this I used images from the 4th (last) season where Avon is increasingly desperate to survive, the pressure grows, and he begins to crack. There's more of the song that I didn't use. After that last strong beat, the song has a longish pause, then resumes at medium tempo again for a brief ending. But I wanted Avon's cracking to the the sum of all the parts in the vid.

As the music and images get faster, "Love comes at the speed of light" takes on an ironic meaning. What is love, what is betrayal of trust, can you have one without the other, and so on. Yet, the need to love and trust persists. Heartbreakingly, in Avon's case.

"Continental Drift" is by Shadow Songs, my partnership with Gayle F. Many of our vids are collaborations, some are by each of us working alone. This one's mine. I think it was a Media Cannibal (another vidding team) who called this one my signature vid. That's because of its quick, rhythmic cutting to the beat. I do have a strong sense of rhythm and I do pay more attention to music than words and so sometimes I'd get carried away with vidding for rhythms and sounds, but in this vid the song's lyrics are important and everything I did, I did for emotional reasons. In a twisted way, I guess it's my love song to Avon.

Of course, these days its cutting is nothing special. With a VCR, those cuts took a week to make, and much pain and dogged determination. Cutting to an exact beat was hard, and mostly, it was down to your reaction time. How fast were the synapses between eye, brain, and thumb on the remote's button? There was a beautiful, tactile feeling to vidding that way. Rollback also made it harder to hit an exact beat. You knew how many frames your particular machine tended to roll back, but it could vary. So in the old days "Continental Drift" was unusual and was talked about in vidding circles. With digital vidding, what was so hard about "Continental Drift" is now a piece of cake. With digital vidding, many vids use fast cutting to the music. I've seen some wonderful ones. I realize "Continental Drift" is a dinosaur, no longer interesting except as history. I saw what I wanted vids to be. Now many of are, and with ease. So I'm ok with joining George Washington's cherry tree and Aethelred the Unready."

Reactions/Reviews

  • "I had to watch this 2 or 3 times just to figure out what was going on, but it repays your attention....[it] gives a wonderful sense of [Avon's] world collapsing. "[2]
  • "God, I love this vid - probably my favorite B7 vid ever. It illustrates Anna's betrayal of Avon, and how his inability to trust anyone as a result affects him and every decision he makes every minute of his life. The lyrics end about halfway through, then the music speeds up, and the clips along with it, until it becomes almost a blur of Avon's confusion and pain, climaxing with him confronting Blake on Gauda Prime."[3]
  • "a long time fav, which oddly does not now seem as fast as it did pre-computer cutting days. It used to feel so fast! (Not that this dimishes its excellence in story, editing, and fandom commentary.)[4]

References

  1. The song itself was a departure from The Rolling Stones usual guitar rock fare, blending Middle Eastern melodies and instruments. The Rolling Stones: Continental Drift (1989), accessed September 29, 2012.
  2. Sandy Herrold posting to the Virgule-L mailing list in 1993, quoted with permission.
  3. Jill's post to the Vidder mailing list in 2002, quoted with permission.
  4. Lynn C.'s review posted to to the Vidder mailing list in 2002, quoted with permission.