My eighties experience

When I woke up this morning, my neighbour was blasting eighties music through our party-wall as he likes doing sometimes. He is generally quite a nice guy so I guess that I am ok with it, however, it is the type of music that I have issues with. A friend of mine once defined his taste as “dads’ style music” , and I can only agree.

I grew up in the eighties and to be honest with you, there was very little that I would have kept with me moving forward to the nineties. The aesthetic , particularly, was pretty difficult for austere me to deal with. All those shoulder pads , excessive make up , fake glasses and terrible combination of mullet and perms quite literaly gave me nightmares.

In Spain, the eighties were a complex time of newly found freedom and economical uncertainties. I was much too young and came from the land where not even the Moors went to during their 500 year adventure so, admittedly, mine was not a shared experience with the majority of the country who probably enjoyed the time. I was a serious mini intellectual living in a politically charged context who loved words and meaningfulness and who listened to Bob Dylan, Mikel Laboa and Joan Baez… More like a sixties person rather than an eighties.

The music was indeed problematic for me. I do believe that the arrival of the music video had a lot to do with this. (Yes, I know that someone wrote a whiny song about the topic) You no longer listened to but actually watched bands perform their work and more often than not, even watch rhythmless people twitch in the background whilst they did. The new aesthetic allowed for experimentation and individuality. Creatives like Pedro Almodovar thrived in this context, but ,in my modest opinion, it also allowed for truly bad examples that now-a-days nobody would even put on youtube to be broadcast to the whole country on public TV.

It was , I understand, the first time that one could see each band trying to add color to their performance but at some point, it felt like anyone could make a song about some meaningless topic and be on television performing it. Worst of all, given that there were two channels, we were forced to watch it!

Do please remember that Spain had no MTV like curating and to be honest, due to a serious age gap, it did not feel like those in charge of the public television could understand what was worth showing or ditching. TV went from a radio-like reporting role to providing entertainment and this clearly had them confused. Thankfully, the introduction of the regional televisions with their international connections brought some sense and offered a point of reference to compare with.

I think my most hated song was one called “Mi agüita amarilla” ( My yellow water ) with a rather physiological topic and a disturbing video. Who, on RTVE, could ever have imagined “that” to be prime time TV material still puzzles me. The band, Toreros Muertos ( Dead bull fighters) believed to be the Spanish response to Madness, but if you thought that “our house, in the middle of the street” made little sense, try to imagine “sale de mi una agüita amarilla cálida y tibia” ( a little yellow warm water comes out from me ). Seriously!

As I finish this entry, the music has ceased and , admittedly, I am happy to be left in silence.

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