I think the moment you get into music defines you. That era will have a profound effect. It's the first time you step onto the dance floor, enter the Darwinian arena that is the disco and take part in the unconcious mating rituals so prevalent in the animal kingdom and transplanted with all its show and pomp under the glittering disco-ball.
I remember the near homicidal RAGE when my friend Clive got to do the slow dance with Suzanne (the girl in the year above me who'd failed her Chemistry so was retaking hence in our after school swot club and our first and only date was her and four of my friends going to see Revenge of the Nerds which, frankly, is not a chick flick and then there was the fight over who would sit next to her but nothing happened and she drove us all home, one by one because she was, after all, a year older and could drive). Oh, and apparently he also got a snog out of another girl I really fancied, which I feel he did on purpose just to wind me up. Needless to say he came to a bad end and now lives in Australia, surfing and sailing each weekend. Serves him right.
I learnt to dance to Frankie Goes to Hollywood, which explains a lot. But first there was the AWFUL two-step that all us geeks fumble through. What is it about dancing and people who are good at maths? THEN I went to Imperial College of Science and Technology which is GEEK CENTRAL and the discos there were filled with anxious, spotty lanky teenage boys all vaguely dancing around the ONE girl in the department, who, ineviatably, would then go out with one of the cool guys from the neighbouring Royal College of Art.
Eventually some form of free-style dancing developed, but antropologists would still be able to place in firmly in the mid-80's dance culture.
I remember my first nightclub visit. I ended up having a nose-bleed in the toilets. No, not because I'd got into some fight because I was hitting on some girl (as if), I just got a random nosebleed.
My other big passion (which led me here, actually) was playing Dungeons and Dragons. Yes, I know. What part about me being a geek didn't you get? My favourite character was Nemesis, the Paladin. Really, it is as boring as it sounds.
However, that's when I first started writing. So when someone asks me how long I've been writing and I say 'Oh, about thirty years', that tends to put them off on the idea of becoming writers. It's been a loong road. But so worth it.
But what mattered most in the 80s, about being that age, was the passion, the thrill and the excitement of being a teen. That never changes. I think a lot of us who write children's fiction and YA is because we remember that age so vividly. It was a blast. Could have done without the acne, though.