Friday, 11 December 2009


Like the great big sugar-coated fool that I am, I volunteered to "help out" with a local production of a musical, and suddenly find myself in charge of all the blimmin' music. Help!

It's called Ocean High and is a Grease-a-like with a soundtrack consisting entirely of 80s pop songs. They were all in the charts when I was a teenager, or in some cases even younger, and I am becoming awash with nostalgia. Material Girl, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, Footloose, all get me gazing into the middle distance and remembering the excitement, the angst, the sheer giddy giggliness of being 13. And then the other day, preparing for a rehearsal, I clicked through to a YouTube recording of Video Killed the Radio Star, and found myself in tears. It's just such a great song, and I loved it so much when I was ten. And I'd just been (rather foolishly, I suspect) looking at a satellite pic of my grandparents' old house, which hosted so many happy childhood memories and has now been turned into a sock factory (a sock factory!).

I was ten!! It's so long ago. 30 years ago. THIRTY YEARS! And what really gets me is that when I was a kid, various pop songs from the 50s and 60s made comebacks, and they were great (all that Motown and Atlantic Soul) but very old. Very much part of the past - the kind of thing that old-fashioned people once listened to. And now there's a whole new generation thinking that way about me and my youth, and I just can't get my head round it. Partly because I was quite sniffy about the 80s when I lived through them and I still can't think of them as cool, not in the same way that the 50s and 60s seemed cool to me. How can shoulder pads, big hair and rara skirts compete with teddy boys, leather and psychedelia? But partly because... it's not old! It was only yesterday. Wasn't it?


Queenie said...

I don't think anyone who lived through the 80s thought it was a cool decade. The 90s, now, that was different. I wonder why? Maybe it was that whole 'second summer of love' thing; maybe the fast approaching millennium with all its associated apocalyptic prophecies. But anyway, this is history, and I don't do history. What's for tea?

Beleaguered Squirrel said...

Ah come on Queenie, there's always someone who thinks the times they are living in are cool! In this case it was probably all Thatcher's children, with their padded shoulders, big hair and shiny fast cars.

I think the fact that neither you nor I thought the 80s were cool would have more to do with (a) our politics, and (b) the fact that we hadn't hit our own personal heydays, which were in the 90s. Which is as much about our age as anything else. We were at optimum being-cool age in the 90s.

aka k said...

yer but...what about the 70's

Beleaguered Squirrel said...

I don't know K, what about them? Depending on your point of view you could probably use them to prove several points. I was a child in the 70s (and a teenager in the 80s, and a young woman in the 90s), and I always thought they were pretty uncool when I was kid: All those silly ugly flares and clashing colours. But then when I was older I decided the 70s had been very cool indeed, what with the birth of disco and all that.

Personally I now think that every decade last century was cooler than the 80s. I'd rate the 70s at the top of the tree, followed by the 90s, then the 60s, then the 50s, oh and the 20s need to be in there somewhere, and the 40s... and the 30s were pretty cool... it's all very subjective though, isn't it? There is no objective truth in matters like this.

Anonymous said...

Have no knowledge of this thing called cool, but certainly the 80's were about 15 minutes ago.


Jen said...

What happened to my comment? It was very clever and interesting, as you imagine.

Um... now I feel even older. Too old and addled work the interwebs and too dozy to remember what my comment said. Oh. God.

I'm going to buy some KajaGooGoo posters and relive my youth.