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MTV 80’s Idents

As a child of the 1980’s, the flashy, cinematic and garish music videos endemic of the decade were all-pervasive and along with movies, cartoons and comic books fueled my dream life. In an era when transatlantic travel and even European travel was less common and before the online revolution, pop culture exported from America felt like exotic, strange, intoxicating transmissions from a dream planet far, far away with MTV the prime exporter and exponent; stylish, iconographic images and sounds of glamour, heartbreak, longing unabashed hedonism, escapism, seize the day opportunism, glorified individualism, airbrushed sexuality, overwrought romanticism, good times and most of all, freedom. Freedom to be whoever and whatever you wanna be!

Phil Oakey & Giorgio Moroder – Together in Electric Dreams (1984)

A grand, cheap attractive illusion – to this kid anyway – living underneath grey Dublin skies, concrete playgrounds and a sense of never being allowed to overreach your grasp and the notion of one day travelling to the USA only happened to the ridiculously fortunate and those whom were deemed ‘cool’. Well, at least this was a limited , extremely naïve view of the world, how I saw it and partly imagined it through my dumb childish eyes.

Reckless (1984) Director – James Foley

Of course, these shiny, loud, flashy things that entranced my younger self were very often a cynical cross marketing, synergistic ploy by corporations to sell records, film tickets, concert tickets and appeal to youth culture but leaving aside the machinations, trend chasing and politics behind the image and idol-making which have only accelerated with the inevitable evolution of communication technology, marketing strategies, globalization and the likes blah blah blah…i’m getting away from the point here aren’t I?

John Waite- Change (1982)

So I guess what I’m saying is strip the adult cynicism away, the transience nature of fashion and taste and what’s left? For those daydreaming 80’s kids or at least this kid America and it’s music was a sense of purity, escapism, big show off gestures and acting out, becoming a superhero in your own bedroom and your own world, winning the girl,  rising above and proving everyone wrong; exceptionalism and romance wrapped up in hook laden three-minute songs and elaborate, ridiculous film fantasy’s. To be ‘cool’ and respected by friends and enemies…adults? They barely existed in these feverish scenarios. Thinking back, it was really an extreme, early form of narcissistic behaviour but the world only existed through this gauzy visual and aural ephemera, sensory, erotic overload sending my heart and head spinning with notions above reality.

Madonna – Crazy For You (1985)

Is this a mini essay on my youth? A nostalgic wallow in what was and shall never be? Well, in all honesty all of this looking back was triggered by a John Waite song  from 1982 called Change that I’ve listened to over and over and which features in the current Anchorman sequel. It was also used way back in 1985 on the soundtrack to a Matthew Modine wrestling flick called Vision Quest or as it was titled on these shores Crazy For You after the hit single Madonna recorded especially for the movie. The songs typical 80’s impatience, its adrelanized catchiness, the mixture of confidence and doubt, optimism and heartache contained within summoned up feelings that felt long-buried.

Some Kind of Wonderful (1987) Director – Howard Deutch

But not only did it provoke an undiluted emotional response, it also made me aware that what was regarded as a decade of questionable cultural merit for so long now in retrospect now feels like a more innocent, sincere, thrillingly irony free period. Or maybe I’m still dreaming, my prozac hasn’t kicked in and I need to wake the fuck up; my scattered, deranged, sentimental musings simply the symptoms of an ageing fool clinging to the past as a crutch to rationalize his current state.

You decide, reader…. you decide.

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