2008-02-14: Sing Along With Sophie


Joule_icon.gif Sophie_icon.gif

Summary: A chance meeting in the park turns into an impromptu film session to help the job-endangered Lee.

Date It Happened: February 14, 2008

Log Title Sing Along With Sophie

Battery Park

It is still chilly in New York, in mid-February. But there are hints of the impending spring in the air. There's a few New Yorkers (well, few for New Yorkers, though the number of people in this park might be more than the size of most towns) wandering the paths, and enjoying what greenery is available in the midst of one of the biggest cities anywhere. One of those people is Sophie. She is dressed warm for the weather, including long gloves that end somewhere under her sleeves. She is carrying a bookbag, or has it on the picnic table beside her, and she is reading.

Joule is heading from the Wall Street area, camera bag strung over her shoulder. She's just stopped at one of those little carts and bought a gyro sandwich. She makes it as far from the cart as Sophie's table before she realizes she's really too hungry to wait until she gets back to Brooklyn to eat. "D'you mind?" she asks the woman at the table. "Just long enough for me t'have a bite?"

Sophie nods as she scoots to the side. She offers a smile, one that's warm enough. She says, "Sure, there's plenty of room for one more. This place is really crowded, though, isn't it?"

"Thanks, luv." Joule glances around, prompted by Sophie's observation. "It's the weather," she tells the other woman, grinning. "Usually this close to the water, we'd be all but alone. But it's the first nice day we've had in a while. Good thing, too, or my job for t'day would've dried right up." She doesn't unroll her sandwich yet, instead opting to offer the woman a handshake. "Joule. Hi."

Sophie looks at the hand a split second, cautiously, and then at her own. She takes a breath, then takes the hand and shakes it. "I'm Sophie. Nice meeting you." she looks curious, "What kind of job is that, then?"

"Charmed," Joule gives a firm shake, one brow raising slightly at what appeared to be hesitance from the other woma. "I was helping a little garage band my boyfriend knows make a video on Wall Street. It's dead creepy there over the weekend. Desolate, even. Perfect for their video, they said. Even if it'll take some editing as it was too bloody sunny for their lead singer's likes."

Sophie looks impressed. "Wow, you film music videos?" then makes a typical joke, "Does anyone still play those? I love them.. the good ones, at least, but it seems all the music stations play shows instead."

"I film whatever pays the bills," Joule replies with a shrug, pulling her sandwich out of the bag in its foil wrapper. "And yeah, you can still spot them on obscure channels." She doesn't seem fussed by the question; she must get it a lot. "And they make good demos for when the band is trying to land a gig at a band or venue."

Sophie nods at that. "I'd like to see it sometime. And yeah, I guess so. Sometimes they show videos from long before they had cable. I guess they were probably demos too."

"Bands will always want easy ways of showing off the—" She pauses to take a bite. She chews, swallows, and continues. "The performance and showmanship. Plus, video is a good way to track their artistic growth, yeah. This one barely paid a'tall, really, but it was a favor for my boyfriend. He's come a bit unwrapped since the bosses at his job reminded him what puritanical tight arses they are." If Sophie's seen the "Represent!" video that's become all the rage in New York in the past couple weeks, Joule's face might be familiar as the requisite hot video girl on drums.

Sophie tilts her head, 'You do look kind of familiar. Not like I know you, but I've seen you?"

Joule quirks a brow at Sophie, but raises a finger in a 'just a second' gesture, as she'd just taken another bite of gyro. "Mm," she confirms monosyllabically, before she can swallow and properly address the question. "Oh. Yeah. Made the news, we did. Number Two Pencil. Apparently somebody hacked the Jumbotron and put us up there. My boyfriend's the singer. Tall bloke, long beaky nose, incredible sense of style? Looks like Elvis Costello and H.G. Wells dress him?"

Sophie breaks into a smile, "I think I saw bits of that. I don't watch a LOT of tv, but it was hard to miss for a while there. Wow.. they put that up there and you didn't want to show it?" looking concerned, "Guess it would break the surprise of some big grand opening."

"Well, no, the plan was for it to get attention," Joule clarifies, plucking a slice of tomato covered in tzitzki sauce out of the bag and popping it into her mouth. "See, the whole point of the video was to get kids to learn what they needed for this lame bloody examination, and to let the world know the school board was forcing teachers to teach the test, and not bugger-all else. Just we didn't plan on it getting legs quite as quickly as it did."

Sophie ahhs, as she says, "You mean like in high school, with those proficiency tests? I remember my mother complaining about that kind of thing."

"Not s'much proficiency. More like certain answers they're all meant to memorise," Joule explains. "And me, I've always been a 'to hell with authority' sort of person. I suggested the video in jest, but he liked the idea, so we did it. And now, I'm a bit of a celebrity." She doesn't seem to mind terribly, though. She seems to take it in stride. "Just my boyfriend, he's worried they'll not give him his job back. He's shined a light on them, see."

Sophie smiles wryly as she says, "I'm not so much one. I was the 'good girl'. Family is Orthodox, and I'm studying to be a librarian, for goodness' sake. But I envy the ones who do, well, when the cause is good." she frowns a bit, "But it'd be a shame if he got in trouble for letting people know about this."

Joule raises a brow, and smiles a sly little smile. "Then you're about due for one little raise hell moment," she offers encouragingly. "I doubt he will, unless it's all payback for embarrassing them. The kids are learning the test, as they commanded. Here now, look!" She fishes in her bag for a small videocam. She hits a button and a series of video images play. Kids and adults alike are humming the tune from the video. Several are singing along. The lyrics are unrepentantly wacky — going through all sorts of crazy permutations to make it rhyme and scan properly while still teaching history, math, graphs, charts, and the sort of thing they want middle school kids to learn on tests.

Sophie grins a little, as she says, "Wow, like Schoolhouse Rock. My mom LOVED those.." she pauses, peeking up, 'Oh, sorry, probably not all that cool.' she admits.

Joule blinks. "Schoolhouse what, now?" She shakes her head at the other woman. "Sorry. I didn't grow up in the states." That much may be something picked up by her speech patterns and accent. "But the idea was to put a little glitz and a little arse-shakin' in the video so the kids'd pay attention, and it's working!" She takes the camera back and tucks it away. "I just walked the streets and randomly started humming the tune to see who'd pick it up and sing along. I figured it'd make Lee feel better."

Sophie nods and she says, "Lots of people don't remember it, especially our age. It was around the 70's, they made a bunch of songs to teach things on tv. Like the multiplication tables, English, and history."

"Really?" Joule says, utterly without so much as a micron of sarcasm. "Are they on DVD?" Those might very well help Lee plead his case. The sandwich is forgotten.

Sophie thinks a moment, then nods. "Yeah. They even had some people in the 90's.. singers at the time, redo the songs for a CD. Let's see.." she has a sweet voice, but not exactly video ready. (At least she stays in key..) "Such as.. 'Conjunction junction, what's your function? Hooking up words and phrases and clauses…" she sings a snippet.

"Oh, that's brilliant!" Joule smiles widely. "I've got to run and get them, I think. The bloke'll be delighted…perhaps we can get these back on the air to remind the school board that unorthodox teaching methods aren't a bad thing."

Sophie nods to that, saying, 'Hey, I still know the preamble to the Constitution because of one.' she chuckles, 'And my 3 times tables.'

"D'you mind if I get a clip of you saying that, and proving it?" Joule asks, sincerely. "I'll make sure you get credit. And if you wish paid, we can work something out in barter, perhaps?" She must not make much taking videos of up and coming bands trying to make it big.

Sophie blinks and blushes, "I.. well, I guess so. I'm not a really great singer, though." she admits, "Which kind did you want to hear? The most famous, I think, is the one about how a bill becomes a law, the one about Conjunctions, one about Women's sufferage, or the Preamble one."

"It's not about your talent in this case, luv," Joule assures Sophie. "It's about the fact that you know this stuff, and you remember it, because the song taught it to you in a way that stuck!" She plucks the video camera out again. "You can sing bits of each, or if you like better, you can sing your favourite."

Sophie nods, as she says, "I guess I can do one, might be better. Here, and now?"

"Sure. Right now if you're up to it." Joule considers. "I mean, if you'd rather go someplace indoors, comfortable and posed, I can always give you a card when you're ready. Whichever works better for you. Or we could shoot one of each and you can pick the one you like. I'm a wizard at editing, y'know."

Sophie nods, "Well, here is as good as anywhere." she decides. She must not be THAT shy, despite her hesitance to shake hands, "Should I stand somewhere special?"

Joule hops up from the table, most of her sandwich now wrapped up again. She gauges the light, going from the bench to atop the table to look critically at the park around them. "How about there?" she picks a spot near the railing. The sun's shining between the clouds making a natural spotlight. "Quick, before the wind moves the clouds!"

Sophie hurries over. There's a hint of a giggle and a grin at the idea, though she likely thinks its only going to show to some teachers. "Alright, here it is. I think I'll do Conjunction Junction."

It very well is meant to show only some teachers, but the potential does exist for it to turn up on the news as well. "Very well, then." Joule hops down off the picnic table and crouches down a little so she's shooting Sophie from below; the better to make her subject look imposing and authoritarian. "Don't spare the enthusiasm, Sophie!"

Sophie does look nervous, but at least her voice isn't bad. She sings it clearly, and loud enough for passers to hear it.
"Conjunction Junction, what's your function?
Hooking up words and phrases and clauses.
Conjunction Junction, how's that function?
I got three favorite cars
That get most of my job done.
Conjunction Junction, what's their function?
I got "and", "but", and "or",
They'll get you pretty far."

Surprisingly, by the time she reaches 'Conjunction Junction' again, voices can be heard. Mostly the crew between 30-late 40's that were passing by, but when they heard the song, you could hear them chiming in.

Joule smiles with an almost manic pleasure. People older than they are recognize the song. "Feel free to sing it if you know it!" she shouts. After a moment or two, a mother pokes her head into frame and sings along with Sophie. And then a guy walking his dog. And then a guy wheels up his hot dog cart and belts out the last few bars of the conductor, "I'm gonna get you there if you're verrrrrrrry careful!"

Sophie sings along with what quickly becomes a small crowd, grinning wider as she feels MUCH more comfortable singing in a group. She resists clapping with delight until the song ends.

No one has even noticed Joule shooting by the time they get to the end of the song. "Bloody brilliant!" she shouts, practically dancing with delight as the crowd breaks up. "Oh, this is going to really put the spanner to those stuffed shirts, Sophie. I owe you dinner if this works!"

(New BB message (10/38) posted to 'Spotlight' by Lachlan: Prrrrrrrrrr)
Sophie joins the delight. "That was amazing." she breaks into a laugh, "My parents, they had them memorized still, and I don't think they'd been on since.. well, I was alive."

"Would you like a copy to send them?" Joule asks, as the crowd breaks up, wandering off in a better mood after the impromptu sing-along. "I could email you one easily enough."

Sophie nods as she giggles. "I probably look silly, but it'll not be so bad, with other people being silly with me." she decides. She grabs one of her notebook pages, writing her email address.

Joule lets Sophie look at the video on the screen. It is a little silly, but it's also charming, because of how much fun she and the crowd are having, sincerely. In exchange for her email address, Joule gives Sophie a card.

Sophie takes the card and nods, "I'm just glad to be able to help. I think any way to learn that isn't dangerous, well, why not at least try it?"

"That's the idea," Joule agrees. "If school hadn't been so bloody boring, I wouldn't have taken so long getting through it." She tucks the page away in the camera bag, and the little camera along with it. "You may have helped his case. He'll be thrilled."

Sophie nods, "Well, I hope it works out for you." she says, cheerfully enough. "It is great meeting you. This sure was a more interesting dinner than I planned."

"I'm sure it will, luv. Things have a way of working out lately. Ever since the turning of the year. Maybe it's the alignment of the planets." She winks. "I'll give you a shout via email if anything comes of it."

Sophie laughs and nods. "I hope it isn't TOO popular with regular people. Like 'Funniest Videos' or something."

"I promise. Bob Saget won't get his grubby little mits on this video!" Joule assures the other woman, turning to walk excitedly toward the subway. "Thank you again! Seriously! Cheers!"

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