Monday, 7 February 2011

Ritual of Love

I used to work in radio, as what was then known as an "air personality" and was previously known as a "disc jockey." Our station had a strict format: oldies, which at the time meant songs recorded between the 1950s and the mid-1970s. I don't know what the radio world is like these days, since I've been out of the business for--good gods, has it really been nearly 20 years?--but back then record companies sent out free promotional copies of albums to stations, at least good performing stations in bigger markets, and they seemed not to care at all about the station's format; they'd just send along any old thing. Our music director would pass along things she thought I'd like, so in that way I came home with Craig Chaquico solo albums (modern new age/jazz instrumentals), Jefferson Starship's greatest hits (mid-70's through late 80's), and the occasional WTF item. Which is what I'm about to talk about.

We received a promotional kit for a contemporary R&B album called "Ritual of Love." Along with the CD were a handful of headscratchingly odd items--at least, they were odd if you weren't paying attention. There was a taper candle--pink, I think--and a packet of sweet-smelling pink powder. A small square bottle of bright pink liquid. A small flat charcoal disk. And a little faux parchment scroll with some instructions written on it. I've forgotten the instructions now, but I'd bet that most any of you reading this could create something similar; I'm reasonably certain that the initial instruction was to turn on your CD player and put in the supplied disc! But the candle was to be anointed and lit, the pink powder incense to be burned on the charcoal, the pink oil to be dabbed on one's person, and the chant or spell given to be recited while planning a romantic evening with a chosen person (the provided CD would become your soundtrack, of course). I remember our music director being amused by the whole thing and sending it home with me for my entertainment (she knew I was, ahem, different). The music was all right, but the incense and oil were way to cloyingly little-girl-perfume sweet for this conjure-woman.

Could you imagine such a thing today? I somehow don't think the modern climate would be so supportive; oh, for those days of Buffy and Charmed and The Craft!