CIPC #181: Yoko Ono, Don’t count the waves

Over the last two blog posts about movies, there was a distinct rising theme in quality. Now, I will make it a crab canon by introducing the inverted theme in the posts about music videos. To help me in that design, there is Yoko Ono. Well-known for being married to one of the most famous musicians of the 20th century and producing a large amount of music-adjacent things herself. One of those things was Don’t count the waves, which was part of a double album titled Fly. It also appeared in the John Lennon/Yoko Ono film Imagine, which explains why there is a music video of sorts available so long before MTV.

John has white, Yoko has white as well. At first glance, this might look like an insignificant if very stupid detail, but it is far more than that. It is, in its puny little self, the perfect metaphor for the whole song: it wants to be symbolic but is devoid of meaning; it tries to be creative but ends up with empty innovation; it aspires to think outside the box and ends up being hugely impractical. There is one clever aspect, though: by removing the colour from the board, they avoid accidentally making h1 a black square.

But back to the game. Apparently, John has slightly-whiter, because he starts. With 1.f4, no less. This earns him a rather condescending look and Yoko answer, inexplicably slowly,1 with 1. … d5. I think so, at least, it is not perfectly clear because whoever directed this seems to have laboured under the sadly mistaken idea that we’d rather see Yoko and John’s faces than what’s happening on the chess board. And so we lose track of the game, until one blissful moment when we get a nice overhead shot of the position in all its glory:2

Holy — and I can’t stress this enough — shit. I’ve seen some terrible positions in my time: I’ve seen illegal positions, I’ve seen boards with the wrong dimensions, I’ve seen positions where a king is missing. But I don’t think I’ve ever seen a position this bone-headed.

First of all, all the pieces are white. That already makes it something special. Then there’s the fact that there’s only one king. That, too, would earn it a honourable mention in the list of stupidest positions I’ve covered. But even if we ignore all that and if we imagine an extra king somewhere, there seems to be no possible colouring of the pieces that makes for a plausible position. How would one explain the bizarre clump of pawns on the centre? What could have led to the strange distribution of knights?

There’s one more question: why does Yoko keep imploring us to not count the waves? Is wave-counting a sin in her hippy ideology? Is it dangerous? Impolite? Do waves object to being counted? What kind of waves is she even talking about? The rollers crashing onto some beach? Sound waves? Electromagnetic waves? Does she actually mean different waves or the local maxima of a single wave?

I figure it’s probably the latter; she’s trying to stop us counting the frequency of the sound waves, so we don’t notice pitch problems.

Realism: -/5 No.

Probable winner: Mark Chapman.

1. [Seriously, it’s as if she’s stuck in a jar of jelly.]
2. [Don’t count the errors. Count your blessings instead.]