'The 80s and other reminiscences'

Started by MAtT, July 18, 2020, 12:21:12

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Ulrich

Quote from: SueC on August 09, 2020, 02:10:33...but he didn't start going to concerts till the 1990s himself, and he says:  "Well, the 80s were all bad.  It was a worthless decade.  ..."

Please note, it's early morning here and my husband is not a morning person.

Oh well, please ask him again when he's elated in the evening after a good dinner or so...

I can (sometimes) see why people hate the 1980s, but: it wasn't all bad.

Also: it is a matter of fact that I grew up in the 80s - and it could've been much worse! (After all, I had a good childhood in the 70s and early 80s and "coming of age" is never easy, doesn't matter so much when it happens...)

Seeing I had no choice back then, all I could do was living my life; what I can do now is look back with fondness on the good things (e.g. The Cure and so much more)!

Of course the start of the "plastic music" was terrible (I never liked "disco" much and it got worse with acid house and whatnot).

My life in the 80s may not have been "perfect" (nor was it in the 90s), but my musical taste was "formed" back then. (Okay, "rock music" might've had its "peak" in the late 60s and 70s, but there was good music later as well.)

As described above, I was "drawn" towards the "outsiders", those bands who weren't played so much on the radio or tv shows. They were a little different compared to the "mainstream". My love of (post-)punk & new wave began in the 80s and I still like many of those bands. (I also listen to tons of other music - as I already did back then, I began to dig up "influences" on those bands I listened to, which meant looking back on the 60s and so on)!
It's never enough...

SueC

I think he is a bit of a stirrer, @Ulrich, but I also think he really genuinely hated the 80s - the politics, the materialism, the majority of the music - particularly mainstream.  He felt way more comfortable once the 90s started.  He went to a funny high school all his teenage years and didn't have a good experience there, so it's pretty much tainted for him.  He says next to the school was a large park in which people were drunk all day long, day in, day out, and this also didn't make him feel any better (rampant alcoholism is unfortunately commonly seen in Australia, even now, over three decades later - and we've just finished watching a really interesting documentary on Australia's fraught relationship with the stuff - in this country, if you don't drink and you don't like football, many people think you're not a proper Australian).

While I personally had many bad experiences at my middle school (new immigrant, Australian racism in a backwater town), I moved schools to the city for my senior high school years and that was actually a really lovely experience for me, worlds apart from what had gone on before.  So I don't see the entire time all black like he probably does, but I also didn't like, even as a teenager, people like Thatcher and Reagan and what they were doing to the world, and the complacency with which most of Western society seemed to meet this shiitake - and the whole "greed is good" thing and the horrible me-me-me-ness that was in our generation, and still is...and it was there in the majority of our year's stated ambitions in our leaving yearbook, as well.  I often wished I'd grown up in the 60s instead, when it seemed that more people cared.  I personally didn't think the 90s were much better at the beginning, but by the end of that decade I taught my first lot of high schoolers and was so impressed with the kids in my first Year 12 class, who had a maturity and an ethic that was so much better than what we'd had at their age.  They were a particularly great bunch, but it was also a genuine pattern I noticed through the next decade and a half.  I genuinely feel that the world has a better chance once these generations replace the current people in power.

Getting back to the 80s, I too had this deep loathing of mainstream 80s music as a teenager, because it seemed to me to encapsulate all that was shallow and trashy and self-obsessed about those times, and much of it seemed insultingly immature - considering these people were supposed to be adults, from the perspective of a high schooler.  And I included The Cure in that, when I first heard Why Can't I Be You which to me seemed absurd and out of Playschool, and part of the general anaesthesia of the times (I didn't hear their more serious stuff, as you know - wasn't played on the radio stations I had access to - and these days I'm OK with many of The Cure's absurd songs).  And for instance, Wham! with their bloody Wake Me Up Before You Go Go, like a whole bunch of people partying on the Titanic, and most of the stuff that was popular with my middle school classmates at the time.  I think Brett is pretty much spot on actually, when he says that much of 80s mainstream music was like The Wiggles, only with big hair and bad synthesisers.

Have you ever watched Ashes to Ashes?  It's a time-travelling drama from 2008 where a contemporary person was thrown back into the 80s, and it was great fun:


...precisely because you could now look back on this stuff as an adult.  It's funny how the fashions and the mainstream music and the general attitudes were actually just as bad as I remembered them!  :lol:  The series really milks these things to the maximum.

And that's why I was drawn to alternative music in the 80s - people who weren't partying as the ship went down, people who thought differently, who thought seriously, who actually cared about the quality of what they were doing, and why they were doing it - instead of producing chloroform in the guise of music.

I think when I was young I always felt like a person who was from a different planet and had arrived here by accident, precisely at the wrong time in history.  But, it was nice to discover that there were other people who didn't just blithely go along with the herd.

In hindsight I see more than I did at the time, as you'd expect.  It's actually really interesting to sit in midlife and look back through a telescope at the history you lived through.  And these days, I don't loathe 80s mainstream quite as much as I did - because I'm looking at 20-somethings from the perspective of someone twice that age, and I see them as so young, when as a teenager they seemed so terribly grown-up!  :)

PS:  To be properly fair to 80s mainstream music, I'd have to investigate how it compares objectively to mainstream music before or since, and I've not systematically done that (and I don't think it would be a very enjoyable task).  I will say though that Top 40 radio at any time of my life so far has never been inspirational to me and I'm always turning it off if in a position to, and thinking about taking earplugs to the supermarket etc.  Yeah, the odd good song makes it onto popular radio, but mostly that medium seems to contain a lot of music that is rash-inducing to me.  Actually, in the last ten years I've heard some stuff on the radio that's arguably even worse than the average 80s mainstream music - and at some point I vaguely noticed there was an 80s revival and it seemed to sound even worse than the original stuff too (while alternative music keeps producing listenable stuff).  I read an interesting article recently that argued that music is actually getting more simplistic, losing both sonic and lyrical complexity.  I might have to dig that up for this forum, it actually analysed these things in-depth.
SueC is time travelling

SueC

THINKING

Greed and Protest

So, this topic has me thinking a bit more.  Clearly, the teenagers of the 80s didn't invent greed, materialism etc - it was being projected at us from mainstream culture, by people who were older than us - the next generation up was into driving expensive cars and general ostentation and thoughtlessness, you could see that, but it went further than that - not just Thatcher and Reagan's neoliberalism, but something that had always been there in human nature - just look back at the disposable 50s in America where they thought it was a great idea to throw out plastic plates instead of doing dishes, and to start using disposable nappies that have sat in landfill ever since - and even at the Roman Empire with its feathers and buckets so you could throw up and keep eating.

But although the teenagers in the 80s didn't invent that, they were also pretty happy to go along with it, on the whole (many in my class saved up so they could wear Reeboks, for instance) - it was a minority who objected to that strongly, and to me it seemed that the teenagers of the 60s hadn't gone along so easily with the idiocies presented to them.  Of course, to complicate matters, some of the teenagers of the 80s were the children of those teenagers from the 60s, and some of those teenagers from the 60s were the ones now driving around in red Ferraris and Armani suits.

While the proportion of teenagers protesting idiocies in the 1960s was greater than the proportion of 1980s teenagers doing this, I'm sure part of the glow of the 1960s to someone who wasn't personally there is because in retrospect, these things are probably reported through rose-tinted spectacles as well, which a person experiencing them would not necessarily have been looking through.  Also, accounts of history carry bias and editing...

Back to music - mainstream 80s probably wasn't any worse than mainstream before or since, but the 80s was when mainstream music was most inflicted upon me by circumstances beyond my control - and subsequently I could mostly avoid it.

Radio

I'm going to think about it in terms of the radio stations we grew up with in Perth - we actually had a pretty decent radio station in 96fm at the time, whose presenters talked like normal human beings, not like shrill megaphones.  They were thoughtful and respectful and friendly, and would always give you a bit of background on the music they were playing.  They never tried to sound "cool" and they never sounded like they were up to their eyeballs in amphetamines, either.  If they interviewed a musician, they didn't gush or titter or act stupidly, they just had decent conversations with them.  For those of you who know Australia's Triple J, the presenters were basically very much like Richard Kingsmill in the 90s (by which time 96fm had been bought up by Triple M, and was therefore effectively killed).

96fm played mostly a mix of what they called classic rock, and alternative music.  They did not play gormless dance music, they didn't play country and western, and they didn't play rap (with the odd exception, if it was intelligent stuff, on some of their late-night music shows).  Their playlist was pretty extensive and broad, but managed to mostly exclude the trashy stuff being played elsewhere on screamy Top-40 stations.  I've got to take my hat off to them, because they remain the best contemporary station I ever heard anywhere in Australia, and yet sadly they were sold off soon after I left school in the late 80s, and to the best of my knowledge, there's not been another station like that since, or I really would still be listening.  They covered both history, and current experimentation.  I rarely had the urge to turn them off, and I often heard really excellent stuff, both from before my time and from odd corners of the world - they did a fair bit of unearthing, and introducing their radio audience to things they'd not otherwise have heard.

Triple J, later on, at its best, was an OK station, and unearthed a lot of local Australian music, and played some of the stuff you could no longer hear on other stations once 96fm had been killed off, but they also played a lot of tedious music, and I honestly had no desire to listen to tunes like Too Drunk To F*ck.  That would just never have passed 96fm's IQ test, and rightly so.

Countercurrents

Growing up in the 80s with the concomitant worship of material possessions and the self, it was such a nice contrast to the general anaesthesia in popular music to hear songs with thoughtful lyrics, and with actual passion.  96fm, while they existed, provided this regularly - through artists like Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Jackson Browne, Lou Reed, Suzanne Vega, etc etc, who embodied actual social conscience.  When I was 14, I went to the university library to check out the bookshelves, and was drawn to the social philosophy section, and then spent most of a day sitting in a cubicle breathlessly reading Martin Luther King's classic on social change and nonviolent resistance.  It changed the way I thought.  And they'd put a bullet in him and that was that.

And on the airwaves at the time, like a breath of fresh air amongst all the plastic bubblegum music, this song embodied all the grief and all the outrage of that so perfectly:


This song has such dignity, and was such an enormous contrast to the general self-absorbed atmosphere of the 80s...

(Bono, like me, grew up in a war zone, and had much childhood experience of violence.)

While we're there, we may as well listen to the next song on the album, one that few casual listeners have heard but is such a gem:


Those Synthesisers

Penultimate subtopic for this post:  The 80s and bad synthesisers.  There were quite a few songs spoilt by this phenomenon, to me even when I was in the 80s.  I mean, it's easy for people to hear that now, but it stuck out like a sore thumb for me even then.

Let's take what I consider to be a decent act, Howard Jones, who was actually rendered more lightweight than his lyrics suggested, just by those darned keyboard sounds, and by some of the vocal delivery at times.  What he's singing in both the songs below is well-considered and positive, and I'd give you an odds-on bet he's a really nice person, but though I never turned off the radio when he was on, I've never bought one of his records either.


That one actually isn't too bad, as he's mostly set this to piano.  But this earlier one has those 80s keyboards...


You see, on the surface that's exactly like the kind of 80s music I didn't like, but he redeemed it by writing considered lyrics and emanating a lot of antidote to the disposable mentality of the time.  This last one, for instance, is NOT another, "Hey stranger, let's shag!" type song - although the chorus may seem to imply it, if you want to read that into it - if you don't believe me, go look up the lyrics, because it actually presents a very different kind of message to the use-and-dispose attitude of the time.

He's still at it, by the way, and good on him - and it's nice to see he's actually improved some of the sounds since the 80s.  Also, I love how he turns choirmaster at the end of this track, and gets the crowd doing harmonies. :)


Another band played on 96fm I didn't turn off, but never bought anything from either, is this one.  This is another example of what I consider awful keyboard sounds:


There's sounds like that on some Cure songs from the time as well, like in Let's Go To Bed (which in my innocence, when I was 12 and first heard it, I thought was about getting some beauty sleep).  And OK, so that song is apparently a parody, which explains both the words and the sounds, but when you're 14 and your BS sensors suddenly turn on, this is going to be in the firing line.  Parody like this is similar to U2's 90s "ironic" rock star claptrap, and for me, equally hard to like - I prefer more intelligent parodies...

Now let's contrast the above songs with two mostly synthesiser songs from that general era which I think are musically fantastic:



That last one is by Icehouse.

And Now, The Cure

...and of course, there's a lot of lovely stuff from The Cure like that too.  This isn't all from the 80s, but here's some personal favourites where the keyboards don't detract at all, quite the opposite:


...we were playing this in the rain driving to Denmark for our stormy hike on Sunday, and it was just picture-perfect for it, and completely hair-raising.  The intro to this song is so amazing that I'd class that amongst the most beautiful sounds ever created by any artist, any genre - so that's lots of serious competition, from people like Arvo Pärt (first movement, Tabula rasa) as well (I won't give more examples or this will take hours).  And actually, The Cure have a lot of music like this that's just hauntingly, achingly beautiful, which is why I have become a much-belated fan, having now got past the radio songs. :angel

The composition in that piece - take all the voices apart and you've got individually beautiful parts, each and every one of them - the introductory keyboards, the more staccato guitar, the sliding guitar, the steely notes, the piano, the percussion - gorgeous melodies, and such tonal beauty as well - and together, all of that becomes pure, breathtaking magic .  Music like that is one of the most profound experiences it's possible to have. ♥

By the way, my favourite recording of my favourite classical piece is now coming up on YT, so here's a treat if you've not heard it, and then we'll go on with a load of gorgeous Cure songs that are indeed in the same league.  Like with all great music, this is best listened to up loud, sitting in the dark (or at least with your eyes closed), and giving it your total focus.  This piece builds, but oh my does it build - and actually, that's something The Cure often do as well.  And, this piece demonstrates how powerful the use of silence and space can be, in music.


OK, now in the same league of amazingness is Plainsong, and I'm going to post a live version because like a lot of Cure stuff, it sounds even better live, and also because I usually prefer things transposed down by at least half an octave - I think the bass transposition is magnificent... and since we've had the excellent Hyde Park version so much lately, let's go back to a really lovely night version, with a particularly nice crowd:


That crowd I would have felt comfortable in, and that's unusual for me, because I don't actually like to be in enormous crowds, generally speaking - and definitely not when there's hysteria and bad behaviour.

On a trivial note, that was 80s keyboard, but it really wasn't.  ;)

On a less trivial note, I first heard that song around two years ago, when we ordered in Disintegration, and it blew me away - none of the live albums we had featured the track.  Trilogy was the next thing we bestowed on ourselves as a treat, after that.  I know a lot of people think this song is all sad and negative and depressing and like it because of that, but I don't read it like that myself - this music reminds me of all the very best things about being alive, and how miraculous it is to ever have a life, and how utterly astonishing the things most people take for granted are:  The shapes of raindrops, the roll of the ocean waves, the slant of afternoon sunlight through leaves, the enormous distances in space, the moons of Jupiter, what tiny ants we are, the way light refracts through a prism, the way flowers unfold, the songs of birds and frogs, human sexuality (because we're subverting it and using it as metaphor, etc etc), Rayleigh scatter (which makes the sky appear blue to us), friendship, photosynthesis, laughter, joy, gravity, the colours of a sunset, etc etc etc.  I don't think it's an accident that this song is called Plainsong.  I think this song is closer to worship than it is to tragedy.  And I also think that about the Arvo Pärt piece posted above, which a good friend of mine can't bear to listen to because to her it depicts agony and despair.

Since this bracket was loosely under the theme of keyboards not detracting from compositions, here's some more wonderful watercolour impressionism in musical form:


I may add more to this later - there's not exactly a shortage of material.  Of course, I'd be happy for people to jump in and post their own examples of gorgeous Cure tracks where the keyboards don't detract... (and no, The Walk isn't one of them...)


SueC is time travelling

MAtT

Quote from: SueC on August 09, 2020, 02:10:33More of Brett on the 80s:  He was watching Countdown in the very early 80s - for those of you who've not seen it, it was a highly grating music show.

Robert half agreeing in 1981:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0r9fHrL5t0o
Cure anomalies on my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/infov0y

Twitter: https://twitter.com/infovoy_v2

Blog on free will and consciousness: http://informationvoyeur.wordpress.com/

MAtT

OK Sue, so I lost my draft by timeout, cos I'm useless. :)

So I'm going to give a much abbreviated version of my reply and just say that in my ideal world, gender should be much devalued, and disconnected from biological sex. In other words, the stereotypical gender associations of men and women (from appearance, to comportment, to personality traits) should be equally expected in either sex. Some men and women will be what we used to think of as stereotypically masculine, some stereotypically feminine, and vice versa. I think this is how things would work without all the sexist historical and cultural baggage humanity drags around with itself.

But also in my ideal world, that we're now a civilized and technological species means the sexist systems and institutions we run, which for messy evolutionary and historical reasons have been created for and run by men and are so based on those stereotypically male traits of competitiveness, even ruthlessness, should be rejected as outdated and replaced with stereotypically female ones of cooperation and empathy.

If this view has me labelled a man-hating reverse sexist so be it! The label is wrong, because it assumes in its premise the very stereotypical gender to sex relation I reject, but what's true is that I'm biased and discriminatory towards people and systems that are cooperative rather than competitive (and most of the other components of the same stereotypical m/f dichotomy).

And so to Madonna.

For me she's the product of the non-ideal world we live in. Like many women she either just naturally is - or has at least learnt to be   as good as or better than men 'at their own game' (again, taking the stereotypes I ultimately reject as a given) which includes exploiting her sexuality for that purpose. And for that I don't blame her but rather say 'more power to her', while at the *same time* knowing ultimately both that *no woman (no person!) should need to do this* and that doing so has the unfortunate by-product of *elevating* the very thing I wish to overturn.

Phew, does that make sense? Once again it's very early in the morning and I'm only half awake!

(PS: job hunting - OK, just started really. Not panicking yet!)

Cure anomalies on my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/infov0y

Twitter: https://twitter.com/infovoy_v2

Blog on free will and consciousness: http://informationvoyeur.wordpress.com/

SueC

Quote from: MAtT on August 17, 2020, 06:41:54
Quote from: SueC on August 09, 2020, 02:10:33More of Brett on the 80s:  He was watching Countdown in the very early 80s - for those of you who've not seen it, it was a highly grating music show.

Robert half agreeing in 1981:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0r9fHrL5t0o

Bwahahaha!  :lol:  Thanks for this clip, it was from before my time - I was still in Europe, and as @Ulrich will be able to attest, Hitparade is even worse, and I never voluntarily watched it, although one of my best friends did, and she was always going, "Isn't that great?  Isn't he cool?" and I was always going, "Ehhh, no, I can't see it!" (because Germans say what they think instead of beating around the bush - we were 10, by the way, but two things I really didn't like even back then were Hitparade and screechy opera...)

Can you interpret something for me?  I don't quite catch what Robert Smith says Top of the Pops is full of - is it drugs, or drunks, or droids, or something else?
SueC is time travelling

MAtT

Quote from: SueC on August 17, 2020, 08:21:19
Quote from: MAtT on August 17, 2020, 06:41:54
Quote from: SueC on August 09, 2020, 02:10:33More of Brett on the 80s:  He was watching Countdown in the very early 80s - for those of you who've not seen it, it was a highly grating music show.

Robert half agreeing in 1981:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0r9fHrL5t0o

Bwahahaha!  :lol:  Thanks for this clip, it was from before my time - I was still in Europe, and as @Ulrich will be able to attest, Hitparade is even worse, and I never voluntarily watched it, although one of my best friends did, and she was always going, "Isn't that great?  Isn't he cool?" and I was always going, "Ehhh, no, I can't see it!" (because Germans say what they think instead of beating around the bush - we were 10, by the way, but two things I really didn't like even back then were Hitparade and screechy opera...)

Can you interpret something for me?  I don't quite catch what Robert Smith says Top of the Pops is full of - is it drugs, or drunks, or droids, or something else?

Full of "dross"!

https://www.dictionary.com/browse/dross

Used here to describe (usually cultural) things that are boring, derivative, dull...
Cure anomalies on my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/infov0y

Twitter: https://twitter.com/infovoy_v2

Blog on free will and consciousness: http://informationvoyeur.wordpress.com/

SueC

Thank you! It's been a while since I heard that word!  :lol:  I tested the clip out on Brett this evening and he had it straightaway (he's very British, just as his name would suggest, and has a history of using that word for the purposes of sneering...)

But guess what I found - the extended interview, which is quite funny:


...and that Countdown considers 5 minutes 11 seconds an "extended" interview gives you another clue to that programme... :angel
SueC is time travelling

MAtT

Quote from: SueC on August 17, 2020, 14:42:53Thank you! It's been a while since I heard that word!  :lol:  I tested the clip out on Brett this evening and he had it straightaway (he's very British, just as his name would suggest, and has a history of using that word for the purposes of sneering...)

But guess what I found - the extended interview, which is quite funny:

...and that Countdown considers 5 minutes 11 seconds an "extended" interview gives you another clue to that programme... :angel

Ha! I'd not seen that before! Very interesting as it must have been very late 81. So true what Robert says about work.... thanks!
Cure anomalies on my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/infov0y

Twitter: https://twitter.com/infovoy_v2

Blog on free will and consciousness: http://informationvoyeur.wordpress.com/

SueC

I guess that depends on the type of work you do.  I think it's probably true for the majority of people who get into the hamster wheel thing of getting a job and a mortgage and climbing up the housing ladder (in Australia, that's what the majority does, although property is becoming so expensive that the younger generations increasingly can't reach entry-level - like in Europe I guess).  (And for the vast majority of people on the planet, it's just about getting basic food and shelter so they can survive.)

But it really wasn't true for me - because I loved the work I did, and that's why I did it - my career choices weren't based on wanting to finance a "normal" life in terms of Western materialism, they were based on doing things I found enjoyable and worthwhile and worth pouring my time and energy into.  Things I would have done anyway if money hadn't been a factor in the equation.  I love finding out things, the natural world, reading, and working with young people, and by working with things like sustainable agriculture, biodiversity conservation and most of all, education, I actually got paid for things I really really wanted to be doing.

So, no regrets, although of course this didn't maximise my financial gain from my education, but in order to do that I would have had to sell out on what was important to me.  I can look back and say that all my time and effort was well spent, and that what I did made a positive difference which is still sending ripples through the communal pond, and the biggest thing that made a positive difference was authenticity, because when you are an authentic adult (and slightly insane  :winking_tongue) around young people, they take that as permission to be themselves, and to question the accepted way of doing things, and they can see other ways they could be.

And yet, the majority of jobs on offer these days seem to me rather pointless for spending your time on - open up a newspaper page to employment and tell me if you actually would like to do the majority of those things - and if you'd do them voluntarily if all your finances were taken care of in other ways.  Personally I think sales and marketing and even most management jobs don't actually contribute much of worth to society, and are parasitic on work that is actually productive.

It's extraordinary how since the 80s, the proportion of futile sorts of jobs seems to have gone up, while a lot of really important work that's begging to be done in things like environmental conservation and social justice isn't getting done because the "free" market (mostly synonymous with "money-making") doesn't value it, and governments don't want to put people on to do the things that really need to be done, when you step back and look at things objectively.  It's like we're on a driverless bus and just pulled here and there arbitrarily or because it's the way someone with power makes a lot of money, rather than sitting down and really thinking about where we should be going and why, and then actually going there.

There is a fair bit of work that seems worthwhile to me - work that's about caring for other people, for the earth, for promoting critical independent thinking (science and the arts equally important there IMO), creative work that has a positive effect on others, things like that - and if you're in those areas (and they're not the only areas, just examples that are obvious to me) you're not doing something meaningless.

But yeah, if you're on a largely meaningless hamster wheel that you're only on to finance the material possessions the status quo says you must have (much of middle Australia), or in order to just have basic food and shelter (much of the world) then that does largely preclude ever having much freedom to think and be creative, let alone be authentic.  Sadly, and that's one of the many things we've all got to get together to change while the pandemic has slowed down the Titanic somewhat... and got people actually talking, and in part because there's a lot of people off their hamster wheels just now, or looking critically at their hamster wheels if they're still on them...
SueC is time travelling

Ulrich

The really bad thing about the 80s is not the 80s themselves, but "80s nostalgia" - and that already started towards the late 90s! (Compilation albums with 80s pop music were released, tv shows were looking back at 80s fashion etc.)  :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

Don't get me wrong, I liked some of the 80s pop back in the 80s (e.g. Kim Wilde, Mike Oldfield, Duran Duran or whatever), but the "nostalgia" made it seem there was nothing else, looking back mainly on "synth pop". For me, the 80s were so much more than just that.

The charts in the 90s were even worse than the decade before. For a while there was a "typical" formula: man raps, woman sings - almost every song in the German charts was like that. Yuk.
At least the "techno" music had its counterpart in "grunge" (yes I did like some of it) with distorted guitars and depressed lead singers...

For me, the 90s were "adventurous" musically. I discovered some 80s bands (I started listening to The Waterboys around 1991) - better late than never.

Like I said, "grunge" wasn't too bad if you found the bands with some decent songs. (Let's not forget, the groundwork for grunge started in the 80s with bands like the Replacements, the Pixies, Dinosaur Jr...)
Some "alternative/indie rock" bands were quite successful in the 90s, e.g. Belly and Sugar (both of which I saw in 1993 on a bill with The Cure at a festival in Finsbury Park).

That brings me to the subject of "live music", which I hadn't had enough of in the 80s, however in the 90s I finally got round to seeing many of my favourite bands live (The Cure, The Stranglers and many more).
Also, in the mid 90s I started going to see little known bands in small clubs, which was fun.

At first, in the early 90s, "punk" seemed to be "dead" - but then famous bands (like Die Toten Hosen or Guns N'Roses) covered old tunes from 1977 or whatever and there was something like a "punk revival". Not a bad thing for a "punk & new wave nostalgic" like me.  ;)

Then there was folk-rock (now called "Americana") from bands like The Walkabouts (from Seattle, but still not much to do with grunge).
Acoustic music like "singer-songwriters" had not been "big" in my list of fave musicians, but even that was to change during the 90s.  :cool

"Brit-Pop" came along and was another counterpart of "technoid" music. I liked some of it, the songs were good and nice to sing along to. (Sadly, despite them being an archetypical British "pop" group, the press failed to praise the Cure for being the forerunners they were.)
It's never enough...

SueC

Quote from: MAtT on August 17, 2020, 07:07:35OK Sue, so I lost my draft by timeout, cos I'm useless.  :)

Take care now!  :winking_tongue   If you say stuff like that, it starts to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.  (This is a broken record of mine that is also frequently applied to my husband. :angel)  I too have lost quite a few drafts due to technical issues, but it doesn't make me useless - 1) it's one tiny aspect of life and 2) it just meant I had to learn to do things differently, to reduce the problem.  I don't tend to lose drafts on CF because it kindly autosaves - if you let it do its thing.

But I vividly remember losing a 2,000 word university essay I'd spent most of a day on, back in the day, because I'd relied on the hard drive to do the right thing, and then it didn't - the computer malfunctioned in a big way.  That was really bad, and resulted in a tearful allnighter.  :1f62d:  And then I started backing up to floppy (remember those? :angel).

I like what you're saying in your post above about gender and biological sex etc, and wish more people loosened up a bit, if not for themselves, then at least with regard to others, and quit the judgement and bullying around difference.  Isn't it funny how humans tend to seek safety in numbers, and many are apparently too insecure in their own identities to not be threatened by other ways of being - including biological difference, cultural difference, individual difference.

In nature, diversity is always a good thing - and yet many Western humans especially have this tendency to want to regiment everything - nature, other people, etc - and to get rid of diversity.  We've bulldozed much of the biodiversity on this planet and are busy destroying what's left in other ways; the diversity of agricultural breeds/varieties is also shrinking rapidly, as are the gene pools in the fewer and fewer breed/varieties left behind (and the smaller the gene pool, the less secure the long-term survival).  There's a craze for conformity, for all beef cattle to be Black Angus (what reason?), all Granny Smith apples on the supermarket shelves to be the same size, shape and colour, ditto other F&V - as if these things are factory made and as if everything has to be homogenised and a clone of each other.

There's a backlash, thankfully; people going to farmers' markets and/or growing their own heirloom F&V, people into "slow food" as opposed to fast food and its homogeneity and horrific implications for human health, animal welfare and environmental destruction, even people supporting "all shapes, all sizes" at the more enlightened supermarkets (now there's an oxymoron)...

I'll step off my hippie soap box now; I just brought it up because I think it's part of that whole problem with distrust of diversity and difference.


Quote from: undefinedBut also in my ideal world, that we're now a civilized and technological species means the sexist systems and institutions we run, which for messy evolutionary and historical reasons have been created for and run by men and are so based on those stereotypically male traits of competitiveness, even ruthlessness, should be rejected as outdated and replaced with stereotypically female ones of cooperation and empathy.

If this view has me labelled a man-hating reverse sexist so be it! The label is wrong, because it assumes in its premise the very stereotypical gender to sex relation I reject, but what's true is that I'm biased and discriminatory towards people and systems that are cooperative rather than competitive (and most of the other components of the same stereotypical m/f dichotomy).

Yeah, and you know, don't you think it's also a form of abuse to socialise boys into cut-throat competitiveness and lack of respect towards women in particular and other entities that aren't human males in general, just as it's a form of abuse to socialise girls into being compliant doormats displaying a learned helplessness that's designed to make males feel "alpha"?  Etc, etc.  I see any attempts to amputate aspects of people's full humanity in the name of gender as being completely misguided, even downright toxic.

Thankfully, it seems to be that the younger generations are less rigid around gender roles etc, as well as LGBTIQ, than my own generation was, and than generations before that were - that's both from working with young people for a couple of decades, and from surveys about various things our ABC conducts, which you can then read back to compare answers between different age groups, ethnicities, etc.   :smth023   So there's a bit of cause for hope, I think.


QuoteAnd so to Madonna.

For me she's the product of the non-ideal world we live in. Like many women she either just naturally is - or has at least learnt to be  as good as or better than men 'at their own game' (again, taking the stereotypes I ultimately reject as a given) which includes exploiting her sexuality for that purpose. And for that I don't blame her but rather say 'more power to her', while at the *same time* knowing ultimately both that *no woman (no person!) should need to do this* and that doing so has the unfortunate by-product of *elevating* the very thing I wish to overturn.

Phew, does that make sense? Once again it's very early in the morning and I'm only half awake!

Haha!  :)  Yeah, I think you're just kinder than I am here, and are cutting her a slack I personally wouldn't, because I expect powerful women not to abuse their power, same as I expect powerful men not to.  So I have little sympathy for Thatcher and the other she-men like her, who just beat stereotypical men at their own ugly game, for which I also have little sympathy to begin with.  Likewise, I have little sympathy for powerful women (and equally, men) who could make the choice to be positive role models selling out instead for personal gain - e.g. exploitation of sexuality, in the case we are discussing.  We're all responsible for the choices we make; and especially if we weren't under hardship when we made our choices.  I really dislike me-firstness, and people abusing any power they happen to find themselves coming into.  I think Madonna had, and has, as great a responsibility to avoid this as a politician or a teacher or a doctor, etc etc - as anyone else who wields any kind of social power.

I think Jacinda Ardern is a wonderful example of a female who wields a lot of power while taking great care to avoid abusing it - and in popular culture I think Suzanne Vega, Karen Matheson (Capercaillie), and other women who employ their skills and intelligence in ways that don't cause harm are far better role models for girls and young women than Madonna and her ilk.

So we're gonna have to agree that you can have leeway to like Madonna and cut her slack, and I can have leeway to dislike what she stands for and how she has wielded her power.  I've worked with a lot of young girls, and seen firsthand their struggles with body dysmorphia and what their sexuality should look like etc, not being helped by how Madonna and her ilk conduct themselves as adult women in the popular spotlight and wielding power.  I'll choose those young girls and their welfare over Madonna's versions of womanhood and "freedom" (AKA entitlement) any day.  And I think your Goth girl classmates totally rock by comparison (as well as generally).  :)

And while we're on this topic, we can probably both agree that Robert Smith has been a generally positive role model for boys through the years looking around the world at versions of manhood. While I don't think he was the most responsible person imaginable and I'm not giving him an A for that, I do think he generally showed you didn't have to be toxic or aggressive to be male, and that you didn't have to conform to a stereotypical male appearance, and that you were allowed to both have and talk about emotions :1f631:, and that you could love and respect people, and think for yourself; good stuff like that, which is really helpful for young boys to see - and actually, for young girls too, as they are also looking at representations of adult manhood, and creating sexual and social scripts for their own lives based on various alternatives of manhood / womanhood that are presented to them.  Whereas I would give Arnold Schwarzenegger, Shane Warne, Mick Jagger etc a total F as role models - really unhelpful.

I'm sure Robert Smith never set out to be a role model and probably would have cringed at the idea, but the reality is that everyone with any kind of power and in any kind of spotlight becomes exactly that de facto, whether they want it or not.  Ultimately I think we're all responsible for having a positive effect, rather than a negative effect, on this world with our personal conduct.  We don't have to be perfect, but we do have to be aware of this.  :cool
SueC is time travelling

word_on_a_wing

Yes I agree that we should all aspire to be positive influence in the world, or role models as you say Sue. This actually hits a real nerve for me at the moment. I've recently learnt that someone (male) who has been somewhat of a teacher to me may have been capable of extremely disturbing things behind closed doors. A scared and vulnerable feeling takes hold, and my instinct is to isolate myself from the world, but that isn't helpful either. Im finding it hard to remain open and trusting in the world 😥
What is the answer? I'm still figuring it out. I think it's a reminder though to not look outside myself for the wisdom I seek ...the best teacher is the one within. I also wish everyone could just do the darn best possible to treat each other well and be good role models.
And as a prophecy of the way forward....
perhaps in the future humans will be more evolved, conscious and intuitive, and secrets could therefore no longer be kept. Would we all be living differently if every action and thought could be known?

...sorry, I think I spun this thread down a strange rabbit hole
"Where the flesh meets the spirit world,
Where the traffic is thin..."

Ulrich

Quote from: word_on_a_wing on August 19, 2020, 15:13:27...sorry, I think I spun this thread down a strange rabbit hole

No problem for me... follow this down...
(sadly this program was never finished as such - if anyone got any footage lying around, send it to me please!)
It's never enough...

SueC

Hullo, @word_on_a_wing - lovely to see you here! :)  And good to see the numbers in Melbourne getting more encouraging at last, and a specific thank you for all the things you're doing personally to help with that, which helps to keep all of us safe in the Australian community.  :cool

I'm sorry someone you looked up to has possibly got a "secret life" of betraying trust, and has therefore betrayed yours as well.  I don't know any answers to that either, I just know that sadly, this happens, and happens more frequently than it should.  All we can do is to continue to be true to ourselves, and be determined not to let that throw us off our own course.  Sort of like when someone you loved and looked up to dies, and you have to learn to walk this world in the face of that.  In that case though, you can walk on from henceforth in part to honour them, and in the case you present, that becomes an unpalatable proposition, and would be so distressing.  :'(

Nobody is perfect, but when does imperfection become horrifying?  I guess when it breaches trust, when it causes harm to others, and especially when the person involved is unrepentant and not attempting to make reparation.  And even more so if they assume a "pillar of the community" position/reputation which clashes wildly with what they will secretly do to others.  Abuse of power, and not practicing for themselves what is preached to others...

It's enough to give anyone the bends.  I think it's really healthy though to acknowledge that possibility and to be prepared to re-think a person, than to be in denial about it as is often the case.  I'll give you an awful, but sadly common, example.  One of my best friends was molested by her stepfather from age 8 to age 12, at which point she finally told her mother, who didn't believe her then and still doesn't nearly 40 years later.  She didn't want to rethink her partner and the narrative she had constructed around their lives, or to confront the idea that her partner didn't really fall in love with her, but only used her as a tool so he could get close enough to victimise her daughter.  Where does that leave a person with their parental relationship?

Likewise, when I discovered I had complex PTSD and first got unbelievably graphic flashbacks of early childhood experiences around violence, in the form of vivid nightmares at first, and later on in the daytime as well, I had to rethink my own relationship to my parents, and indeed to myself, now that the missing emotional information was suddenly accessible to me and the big wall that I'd built as a child in order to survive had collapsed.  That was one of the most distressing things I ever had to confront, and I can likewise imagine your distress when hitherto missing information suddenly appears, and deeply affects how you think of someone (while probably questioning your own judgement, but the thing about secrets is that they are so well hidden and often you can't see them from the outside).

One helpful thing I think is to avoid putting any human being on a pedestal.  When looking at role modelling, it's better to say, "These are things that this person seems to be doing well" and to be aware that they will also have things they're not doing very well - rather than seeing them as some kind of exemplary superhuman, because none of us can live up to that - and people living double lives can use that inappropriate adulation to gain (and betray) more trust.

I guess we learn as children to look up to our parents and see them as superhuman, and when we reach the stage of brain development that allows us to deal in abstractions etc, we suddenly see their flaws (typical teenage thing), and part of the vehemence of our emotions about that is actually that we couldn't see it in the first place.  But I also think too many people then go on to put other people up on the pedestal they've rightly removed their parents from, instead of understanding that you really shouldn't put anyone on a pedestal, for your own sake as well as theirs.  I think that whole adulation thing mimics the child-parent relationship, when we ought to be learning to have adult-adult relationships of equal standing.  But it feels really unsafe for a lot of people not to have someone "bigger" than them in their own minds, as a sort of dyke against the big scary world, so they go on making other people bigger, and themselves smaller, and never really get to their own potential either because of it.  Which ties in well with what you've said about the teacher within. :)

If you think for yourself you'll still be making mistakes, of course.  Just, they will be your very own mistakes, and not someone else's!  :lol:

Here's an 80s song on that theme...and it's even Australian.  Definitely very very 80s :angel but excellent thinking.


PS:  Haha, @Ulrich, just saw that!  :lol:

PPS:  @word_on_a_wing, I was thinking about a Leunig cartoon in relation to this subject.  Here it is!  :)


SueC is time travelling