Or actually, I’m not. December and January find us with a self-imposed musical exile, partly because it’s cold, partly because there’s so much chocolate to get through and partly because everyone is skint. This is our time to be merry and jolly, not bellyache about the state of the musical nation. And so, my blog isn’t about music. It’s about Hollywood’s representation of kids in the Eighties.
While spending the post Christmas Holidays in a sort of calorific stupor, shuffling around the house, gazing out windows and occasionally going into rooms and forgetting what I’d gone in for, I found myself with a kind of mental unrest. I found myself putting rather too much thought into the purchase of a pair of slippers. As much as I appreciate the new level and warmth and comfort engulfing my feet, the depth of thought going into this was leaving me a worrisome nagging in my brain. Is this what I have become?
Whenever I don’t feel right, I’m a big believer in going with one’s instincts. You know sometimes you get a random craving for a particular foodstuff? I believe your body is in need of a particular thing found in that food, and your brain responds by telling you to eat that food. I’m not talking about constantly stuffing your face with cake and crisps, but say your body is in need of vitamin B6, you may suddenly find yourself wanting a tuna sandwich. You get the idea. I listened to my body and what did it want? 80’s kids films.
I was born in 1985, so while missing out on most of the classics of the genre at the cinema, I was ideally placed to reap the bountiful supply of these films in the 50p section of the local video shop. They all made sense. I related completely to every aspect of them. Fast forward twenty something years later, and here I was finding myself watching them all over again. They soothed my mind. But why? They mostly follow a similar pattern. Kids (preferably in a gang) are faced with mild peril and respond with adventures. All adults are either evil or dullards, there’s an innocent love interest, and at some point they all ride bikes. Job done. But why was this putting my mind at ease? My best guess is that although as a child I never found pirate treasure, or hacked into military databases with my BBC school computer, or met aliens, I truly believed that I could. What I was missing was that sense of childish imagination. As adults we retain an imagination – imagine a pink elephant, right now. What you see in your mind is an image of an elephant and the colour pink. This is your boring, grown up, logical brain computing what a pink elephant might look like. As a child, your imagination took you so much further. It didn’t just stop at the elephant and the colour. The world seemed like a much more interesting place.
This was highlighted be the scene in E.T where Elliot is explaining to said alien what the things in his bedroom are. ‘...this is Lando Calrissian, and this is Boba Fett,’ he says, holding up worn action figures, ‘and look, they can have wars you see, Pioww! Pioww!’ Can you imagine what that scene would be like today? Should the child be able to tear its attention from their inexplicable need for a mobile phone, it would be all Ipad this and Hi Def that. Would E.T care anymore, or would he still just want sweets and beer? Is there an app for that?
What I realised was that sometimes it’s far too easy to become bogged down in the world of adulthood and it can leave you exasperated. It’s all pay this and plan that, drive here and work more. Health and Safety legislation forbids it. Your account is overdrawn by...
Bizarrely, kids today act like little adults, and given that a lot of adults have developed into materialistic simpletons, I wonder if they will ever feel that liberating sense of adventure that used to seem just around every corner. Now everyone knows what is around every corner, because the internet tells them. There’s an app for it, so you can sit on your arse on work’s time and not have to find it for yourself.
And so my New Year’s Resolution is to live my life more like my Eighties self and retain a sense that however unlikely something may seem, it just might still be possible. There is still pirate treasure out there, aliens do exist and while you may not ever have any closer friends than the ones you had when you were young, count yourself lucky that you were there to actually experience it all in the first place. There wasn’t an app for it.
Now, I’m getting out of this horrible virtual reality and going to ride my B.M.X wildly through a building site.
Until next time, party on dudes.