Someone close died recently. Someone close to all of us. The funny thing is no one noticed. There was no column in the newspapers, no mention in the little rolling bar beneath the news, not even a damn epitaph on his tombstone. And since I’m the only one who noticed he’s gone, I’m going to allow myself the privilege of a eulogy.
He was called the Eighties. And given that we spent most of the nineties recovering from the mullets, the plastic and the shiny pants, we could well say he was alive even then – pulsing and throbbing in our rabid disapproval of him. An introspection, however, offers that he wasn’t all that bad.
Sitting right next to the 60’s and 70’s is obviously doesn’t make him look pretty. But think about it. Fine, everyone dressed up in the 60’s but the hippy sack cloths of the 70’s more than made up for it (not to mention the smelliness). Okay great, the idealism of those drug addled years is aspirational, but just what did flower power achieve. Sgt. Peppers, Woodstock, Warhol, who gives a fuck. What remains? The sheer presence of Metallica negates everything the Beatles ever did (and let’s not even get into the Trent Rezners, the Marilyn Mansons and the Jay-Zs here, that’d just be profane).
Onto Woodstock and the Flower Children. You’ve seen fear and Loathing in Las Vegas right? It wasn’t the deep rooted urge for a better world that drove it. It was excess. Sex and drugs(1). The world has done more of it since, why do the 60’s get all the credit.
And Warhol. Okay, hear this. An Art Director friend of mine is in love with him. Not for his ability to create art but for his ability to create MONEY. Face it, Warhol blatantly subverted art to commerce. The kind of patronage and salability he received off the 60’s expresses the period’s inability to recognize him for what he truly was – an advertising guy. Pretty damn daft for a generation claiming to have seen the light etc.
Now, the enlightened might mention, what gives you eighties kids the gumption to pick on us. For starters, we destroyed the Berlin Wall. More has been done for humanitarian relief from the 80’s to the present than ever in human history. The invention of the internet – the closest we have ever got to the global village hippies ever dreamt of. And Michael Jackson. The Maharishi said that the Beatles were angels because when they made their first appearance on American TV, on the Ed Sullivan show, there was no crime in the US for that one hour. Fuck that. My illiterate Man Friday who hails from 110 Kuchlibari, Post Bajejama, dist. Koochbehar (read backwaters), cried when Michael Jackson died. Led Zepplin, The Beatles and Queen combined didn’t acquire the kind of reach this guy did.
That the profound import of this time isn’t blindspotted by history is, quite frankly, too much to ask of this eulogy. A bit of a reminiscence, however, shouldn’t be a problem.
So well, here’s to Jughead Jones, Michael J. Fox, U2, Kurt Cobain, Jack and Rose on board the Titanic, Tina Turner, R.E.M, Bret Easton Ellis, George Michael, Madonna, Baywatch, the T-1000, Michael Jordan, Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Gianni Versace, Forrest Gump, UB40, Trey Farley and Muriel the talking dinosaur, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Elton John’s glasses, Beverly Hills 90210,the X Files, the diplodocus appearing on the damn 70 mm screen with John Williams on Dolby DTS, the shapeless white t-shirts, the long curly hair, the cologne, the happy ending, the dreams, the hope, the hope, the hope…
(1)“People today are still living off the table scraps of the sixties. They are still being passed around -- the music and the ideas.” Says Bob Dylan. Don’t blame him, Shakira sells more today than he does. He has to feel nostalgic.