Wednesday, 19 January 2011

The 1980's were GREAT!

This is writing related, I promise. Okay, actually, it's not, at all. But if you were born pre-1975, I hope this may give you a pleasant trip down memory lane. If, however, you were born after 1975, and don't have older siblings, I can only pity you, so read on and find out what you missed.
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.


kathryn evans said...

The Cure are headlining Bestival this year. My 16 year old has Soft Cell on her Ipod. Wii Dance is littered with 80's tracks. Need I say more? We were sooooo good. Apart from Kajagoogoo but there must be an exception that proves the rule ( and any one who says The Cure was a late 70's band is not playing fair.

Anonymous said...

I was born in 1976, so I think, technically, I'm more of a 90s era school discoer! However, I fared no better in terms of the horrors of teenage-hood. It's much worse being a girl-geek than a boy-geek (I read David Gemmell till my eyes practically bled and if I'd had anyone to play D&D with, I would have done). Gosh I'm glad I'm in my thirties now!

SarwatC said...

Mrs Evans,
You're obviosuly an amazing parent to have raised such musically wise children. Ah, Soft Cell. August '81No.1 slot, unless I'm terribly mistaken.
Hmm, a girl-geek still has one over the other geeks by her rarity. Bet you were dating boys form the art department though, weren't you? I still remember trying to get invites to the parties at the Life Science department. That's how desperate things were.

SarwatC said...

Jeez, I'm going to add an ammendment. Now I've checked on YouTube I've realised my dancing is more like that guy from Bronski Beat. It was my moustache that was like Paul Rutherford's out of Frankie.