Alliance: At Dawn (1984)





Hey, Kelby McFurryballs here again. Having escaped my hillbilly Russian jail cell recently (I was framed!), I've been on the lam, trying desperately to get back to America where the press is free and the girls have teeth. I haven't gotten far, however, mostly because I have sensitive paws and I need to nap at least 21 hours a day. As a result I'm still barely a half-mile from the prison, hiding out in a little shack in a schlubby run-down industrial area on the edge of Saint Petersburg. Luckily, a kindly old Russian grandma has taken me in and given me grain whiskey and salmon snacks.


Sympathizing with my plight, but still a crusty old bitch with hairy moles, she has offered to call her dipshit son's second cousin Potap, who knows a guy who once drank vodka with a dwarf who has a running car and a valid Russian passport who can smuggle me out of the country. The Finnish border is only like 75 miles from here so that's my best bet to escape Russia before the cops track me down, and since it would take me about a thousand years to walk that on my little furry paws, I have to take this chance.


Is there a catch? Ugh, there's always a catch with me, isn't there? The catch is that the mean old lady wants me to watch and review something for my old MMT site. What is it?, I ask with trepidation, am I going to like it? No, she says, laughing, you will not. Great. It's called At Dawn, she cackles as she reaches into her cabinet and pulls out a weathered VHS tape, it's from 1984, a very special year. Eh alright, I say, sounds ok, what's the movie about. Oh it's not a movie, she laughs, it's a music video for a Russian Synth-pop band called Alliance, think of them as a cheap knock-off Communist version of Duran Duran. Fuckcockshit! Panicked, I look for the door to run, but am suddenly overcome by the desire to take a nice nap in the sunny patch by the window. Maybe Babushka's cats will nap with me?


Ok, fine, let's get this over with. Oh god, that was the longest 6 minutes of my life. And now I will break it down in visual form so you will feel my pain. What about the music??? I don't give a shit, after the first go I hit mute and never looked back. I can't stand Depeche Mode or the Pet Shop Boys and Spandau Ballet once gave me an ear hernia. I get that some people like early-mid '80s Synth-pop, but I'm also aware that some people like to drink their beer warm and watch reruns of Nash Bridges. I will not judge you or your musical tastes, but if you do enjoy some Eurythmics with your room-temperature Zima then you are a terrible person and I hate you.


Ok, but what about the band? Well, the dreamy lead singer has taken his fashion inspiration from Robert Smith from The Cure, that should be your first clue that he's a douchewaffle. Ah, nice, just staring off into space during the bridge? Oh lordy, now what are you doing, mate? Put your hand down, no one's going to give you a hallelujah or an amen for your shitty electronic music, you'll be lucky if this gig gets you out of conscription for a few years. Are you even getting paid for this?


Now what are you looking at? And what's going on with your hair? Going for a Ziggy Stardust-era poof-mullet and failed? How long did it take you to tease that monster out this morning? Can you even grow facial hair? How young are you? I have so many questions for you but I don't care anymore. I'm sure you immigrated to Europe after the Wall fell and are probably now a janitor at a McDonald's or something, serves you right for your Synth-pop sins.


There are three other guys in the band, including a lead keyboardist who might be 12 years old. His imitation leather jacket is festooned with fake Soviet Army medals and he has that single whispy-thin curl hanging down his forehead like every single pimple-faced kid hanging out in the food court at the mall had in 1984. The other guy is the bassist and I just couldn't get a good look at him, but I know 100% in my heart that he's a dweeb. Because all bassists are dweebs who weren't cool enough to be guitarists and all your mom would buy you is a second-hand bass from the pawnshop because she never loved you.


The other keyboardist (because of course there's two in this band) deserves special mention because he's 30 years older than anyone else in the band (someone's dad?), and he dresses exactly like a middle-aged Russian guy in 1984 who has seen one too many bootleg VHS tapes of Miami Vice. And that's it, no drums, no guitar, no tambourines, no back-up singers, nothing. David Bowie would not approve.


What about the audience? Glad you asked (you didn't), let me tell you about some of them. First off, Where's Waldoski, David Duchovny, and Air-Drums Guy. I'm pretty sure Waldoski thought this was a gay bar down by the docks, but he seems to be enjoying the music nonetheless. Duchovny would be, like, 24 and still in grad school at Yale, but he obviously had a Synth-pop Phase because that's clearly him (right?). And that last guy has his air-drums cranked up to 11, which is odd as there are no drums in this song. There is most likely a completely different tune playing in his head, if you know what I mean. Chance of any of them being a KGB spy planted here to keep tabs on these upstart musicians so they don't defect: 3/10 (9/10 for Duchovny, because Yale)


Stepping right out of the cast of MosfilmTV production of Saved by the Bellski, this poor guy is clearly using cheap Russian hair products to hold that feather tight. Sitting next to him is the most fish-out-of-water person possible, with this heavy metal studs and "I murdered a guy over a sandwich" look I can't help but feel like Synth-pop is not really what he jams out to while reading French expressionist poetry. Chance of either of them being a KGB spy: 5/10


Are there chicks here? Oh yes indeed, but don't expect any hot girls unless you are into some weird shit (Bradley...). These two, for example, are way, way too serious to be having any real fun, Chiffon Girl looks like she's either trying to hold in a gnarly poop or she's silently debating what the lead singer's spleen tastes like. And don't get me started on Olga the Ballcrusher, she's clearly not going to be dancing to any funky electronic grooves any time soon. Chance of either of them being a KGB spy: 17.8/10


These two are actually the best you get, sorry, though the first one might actually be a dude doing Johnboy Walton cosplay and the other is maybe the mom of one of the band members? If so, she's clearly very disappointed that he didn't turn out better than his brother Ivan who has a great job down at the fish packing Komsomolets. Chance of either of them being a KGB spy: 1/10


There are also a few obvious couples in the audience, including the first two geezers. With her lunchlady smock and his receding hairline they look just suspiciously old enough to make you wonder why they're here with a bunch of teenagers at a Synth-pop concert. Devil Music! The second couple will probably be broken-up by the end of the chorus, she clearly wants to bone every dude in the band (even Hawaiian shirt guy) and he just wants to go back home and play Fortnite with his buddies from the factory. Chance of any of them being KGB spies: BqZ.9a/10


And why is no one in the audience smiling or dancing or grooving (Air-Drums Guy excluded)? Did their employer make them? Is this what "fun" was like in Communist Russia? Surely there was dancing and fornication and weed and all that good blackmarket Western stuff in Russia, kids are kids no matter where they live, right? I'm kinda depressed now. Chance of them being KBG spies: Firetruck/10


Oh, I almost forgot to mention that two special people watching the show are graced with lingering close-ups that each go on for about ten seconds too long for them not to be important in some way. Is the smiling man with his aviator shades and his Beatz-by-Stalin headphones maybe the sound engineer? The producer? Just some guy who is really trying to block out the sound of Synth-pop? And is this lady someone's girlfriend? Milfy aunt? She needs a better foundation, that's for sure. Chance of either of them being a KGB spy: 5/10

That silliness over, Potap arrives and he and his greasy gopnik dwarf friend bundle me up in a blanket, toss me in the backseat of a shitty Trabant, and drive across the Finnish border at night. Since the blanket was surprisingly soft and comfy, I may have napped the entire time. And maybe for the next 15 hours after they dumped me in a field by a gas station. It was a really comfy blanket and I dreamed of chasing dust bunnies and slapping hookers around until I finally woke up. Ok, Finland, I can do this, one more step closer to home! Thankfully, Potap left me with half a bottle of vodka and a well-worn day-pass coupon to a stripclub in Helsinki...




The End.

Written in January 2019 by Kelby McFurryballs.



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