Zoom Side Effects, The Faces and ‘Stay With Me’

Well, how are we all doing? It occurred to me that for months now, all I seem to have written about around here is what I’ve been doing from the comfort of my own home – Reading, watching telly, my college course, helping Mr WIAA out with his business…, and so on. There are the walks and the trips to the supermarket, but all very local so nothing much to (literally) write home about.

A most unexpected and unwelcome outcome of lockdown is that I seem to have aged by about 10 years. This one is very much aimed at the ladies of my own age who drop by this place, as I would be very surprised if I feel alone in this. All down to the phenomenon called ‘Zoom Face’. Never before have we had to conduct most of our interactions with others via screens, and it leads to far too much time contemplating our own visages, resulting in a reverse Narcissus experience.

In a normal outward-looking life, we don’t have to spend much time at all perusing at our faces. Other than popping on a bit of mascara and lipstick in the morning (if you are so inclined), and fluffing up the hair with the drier, we tend not to spend that much time looking at our reflections. Nowadays, what with FaceTime calls, family Zoom quizzes and my online college course, all I seem to do is look at my face, and I think it’s made me develop some sort of body dysmorphia. We are usually seen as a complete package, and the essence of who we are comes down to a combination of our personalities, our minds, the kind of clothes we wear and our individual mannerisms, but we are now reduced to a badly lit, high definition… face.

I’ve written about faces that seem to have got younger around here before, but decided I’d give certain ladies in the entertainment industry a pass (Cher and Dolly). Both freely admit to having had ‘absolutely everything done’, but as they are both icons and neither seem to ever take themselves too seriously, I don’t begrudge them the squillions of dollars it must have taken one bit. It has now become very clear however that just about every female we see on our television screens (unless they are very young) has felt the need to go down the cosmetic surgery route, but after experiencing ‘Zoom Face’ myself, I kind of understand why. It was the advent of HD television that swung it apparently, and once you start with the Botox, there’s no going back. Like hair-colouring and leg-waxing, it just becomes a routine part of body maintenance for those in the public eye.

But where does that leave the rest of us who aren’t in the public eye? Feeling a bit shitty about ourselves it seems. I’m writing about all of this as if it’s a purely female problem but perhaps men experience the current reverse Narcissus phenomenon as well. Do tell.

But this is a music blog, I think, although I’m all over the place at the moment. What song would fit this post? At first I thought of Holding Back The Years by Simply Red but the lyrics aren’t really about the kind of holding back of years I’m talking about at all. So instead, I’m going to follow on from last time, when I wrote about the year 1971 in music. Two of the biggest albums of the year were by Rod Stewart (solo artist), and by the Faces (where Rod played lead singer). I’ve never quite got to grips with how the Small Faces morphed into the Faces, so maybe it’s time to find out.

The Small Faces were from London and formed in 1965. The group originally consisted of Steve Marriott, Ronnie Lane, Kenney Jones, and Jimmy Winston, with Ian McLagan replacing Winston as the band’s keyboardist in 1966. The band was one of the most acclaimed and influential mod groups of the 1960s. They got their name because they were all under five feet six inches tall, the face part coming from the Who song, I’m The Face, which showed their mod allegiances. When their first and only No. 1 hit, All Or Nothing, made it to the top of the charts in 1966, it shared the spot with Yellow Submarine by the Beatles.

All Or Nothing by the Small Faces:

The band split up in early 1969, after Steve Marriott went on to form Humble Pie with Peter Frampton. The remaining band members changed their name to the Faces in 1969 when Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood joined. Both of them were much taller than the other members at the time, so the band wasn’t really ‘small’ any more. When touring, they were known for living a wild hedonistic lifestyle and were banned from many hotel chains.

Their big hit, Stay With Me, reached the No. 6 spot in the UK Singles Chart in 1971 and is the tale of Rita, is who is left under no illusion that she is anything other than a one-night stand. I don’t think family man Rod would get away with writing lyrics like that nowadays, but I suppose 50 years ago they were writing about what they knew, and girls like Rita were not exactly in short supply. It still sounds great, and not dated at all, but some of those lyrics are a tough listen. Funny how the theme of this post is ‘Faces’ and even in the song, reference is made to Rita’s countenance. It seems whatever other qualities we may possess, the one that carries the most weight (when it comes to first impressions) is facial beauty.

You won’t need too much persuading
I don’t mean to sound degrading
But with a face like that
You got nothing to laugh about

Stay With Me by the Faces:

So, ‘What’s It All About?’ – I hope this is a short-lived dysmorphia that leaves me once things start to open up again but having done some research for this post, I know I’m not alone in feeling a bit blah… at the moment. The botulism injectors look as if they’re going to be working round the clock once we all get out there again. Another sad consequence of the pandemic.

As for the Small Faces and the Faces, I now understand the personnel changes along the way and how it led to a slight change in their moniker. Most of them are sadly no longer with us but a few of them still are, Ronnie still playing with the Rolling Stones, and Rod still doing his thing. They are both around the same age as Cher and Dolly pictured above. I questioned whether this obsession with looking young and unlined was just a problem for the female of the species, but it’s hard to tell really. Maybe we could ask Ronnie?

The happily lined and craggy Ronnie Wood – Way to go Ron, but wish we girls were allowed to do the same.

Until next time…

Stay With Me Lyrics
(Song by Rod Stewart/Ronnie Wood)

In the morning
Don’t say you love me
‘Cause I’ll only kick you out of the door

I know your name is Rita
‘Cause your perfume smelling sweeter
Since when I saw you down on the floor, guitar

You won’t need too much persuading
I don’t mean to sound degrading
But with a face like that
You got nothing to laugh about

Red lips hair and fingernails
I hear your a mean old Jezebel
Let’s go up stairs and read my tarot cards, c’mon

Stay with me
Stay with me
For tonight you better stay with me, oh yeah

Stay with me
Stay with me
For tonight you better stay with me, oh rock on

So in the morning
Please don’t say you love me
‘Cause you know I’ll only kick you out the door

Yea I’ll pay your cab fare home
You can even use my best cologne
Just don’t be here in the morning when I wake up, c’mon honey

Stay with me
Stay with me
‘Cause tonight you gonna stay with me
Sit down, get up, get down

Stay with me
Stay with me
‘Cause tonight your going stay with me
Hey, what’s your name again
Oh no, get down, whoo, hey, oh no, woo, get yourself home, slow down babe