Jan 10

BIS WEEK: How Bis Are Responsible For Twilight

Do You See4 comments • 410 views

The short answer would be the Secret Vampire Soundtrack, but it would only be a superficial answer. Sure Secret Vampires makes explicit the link between vampirism and pop music, but you would be hard pushed to think that it is any particular clarion call for more vampires in the media. Except at this point of 1995, vampires were at a pretty low ebb. A couple of years after Francis Ford Coppola’s disappointing Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the poor Interview With The Vampire adaptation and the ropey Buffy film, vampires couldn’t be caught dead in the media. Which since they are undead is possibly the point but I digress.

The Secret Vampire Soundtrack contained Kandy Pop which was the track that broke Bis and was responsible for making them the first unsigned band on Top Of The Pops*. As such Bis not only made Vampires fashionable again, they toyed with the idea of vampires not being scary. If Manda Rin, chirpy chanteuse, was a vampire then suddenly the idea of the gothic immortal vampire was turned on its head. This almost certainly paved the way for the Buffy The Vampire Slayer reboot. Buffy constantly played with what vampires were, the old school psychosexuality of vampires remained but they were younger, more tied with teen high school stereotypes as well. Is The Bronze an analog of the disco in Secret Vampires?

Nevertheless I said it wasn’t Secret Vampires which directly led to Twilight. It perhaps created a 00’s which was much more vampire friendly, but actually I think it was Bis’s work on the Powerpuff Girls theme which really makes the difference. Like Buffy, the Powerpuff Girls were positive female superhero role models. But they were aimed at young kids. So what seven year old girls in 1998 were consuming was a TV show which was funny, celebrated a diverse selection of girl power and were also bopping along to a Bis Teen-C theme tune. Look at how the Bis lyrics celebrate the strength and diversity of the girls:

Blossom, commander and the leader
Bubbles, she is the joy and the laughter
Buttercup, she’s the toughest fighter
Powerpuffs save the day…

So who did these girls, watching the Powerpuff girls grow up into? Well for one Stephanie Meyer. For another the entire generation devouring the Twilight books and films. How did the Powerpuff girls, and the Bis theme, prepare them for this vaguely gothic romance? Despite the Powerpuff Girls having powers over and over it was their goodness of heart that saved the day. Much is the same of Edward in Twilight, he has powers he is reluctant to use and only wants to do good. Same with Jacob. And both are obsessed with the quietly strong Bella (note the name could be the fourth Powerpuff girl**). The Powerpuff generation take it as read that Bella can be strong, in the way that older generations cannot fathom. “She is a whiney weakling, needing to be saved and not as special as the boys”, say certain critics. The Powerpuff generation know that a woman is as powerful as a vampire or a werewolf, she doesn’t need superpowers or to be chosen like Buffy ten years before.

And whiny, surrounded by boys? Compare these two pictures and say there isn’t a direct link?

*Also being a symbolic nail in the coffin of TOTP, what with Bis being nowhere near the Pops let alone the top.
**Bella, broody and romantic.


  1. 1
    Garry on 1 Feb 2010 #

    Not forgetting, Sci-Fi Steven is a secret vampire at night.

  2. 2
    Kit on 1 Feb 2010 #

    * this was also a smart marketing catchphrase rather than an Actual Fact – PWEI for one had appeared unsigned in 1993¹, and it seems unlikely that in 30 years no-one else had ever been on the show while either between labels or at least on a record-to-record contract (which was the Scottish tykes’ situation, having signed four or five one-off deals at this point)

    ¹after being dropped by RCA – perhaps one A. Drude also popped before the cameras when Island gave him a pink slip around the same time?

  3. 3
    Pete Baran on 1 Feb 2010 #

    You are absolutely right Kit, in particular with Pop Will Eat Itself it was also their biggest hit (fanbase pissed off with record company, note to fanbase, there are better times to show solidarity). Perhaps with Bis the line should have been first unsigned band without a hit single. It was more the lack of hit single that was the nail in TOTP coffin rather than the unsigned bit, though the HOOHAH about it also didn’t help.

  4. 4
    Mike on 27 Mar 2010 #

    If anyone is looking to get a cheap copy of this Bis single, I am selling a copy at http://indierock45s.blogspot.com. Lots of other Bis 7″s available too.

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