Friday, October 22, 2010
Boy George and the sad eighties clock of the heart
And that's rather appropriate in a way because time has seen the boy transformed from a gender bending pretty boy to an overweight beast who seems to spend a lot of time in the dock.
I wonder how Boy George looks back on those days of effortless hits when Karma Chameleon was the top selling record for a zillion weeks and Culture Club were a hot commodity.
Maybe it's a bit like the way we all look back on our youth; as endless summer days when anything seemed possible.
Still it's all becoming about as outdated as the expression. "Twelve inch version."
Five years ago there were kids in my office who had never heard of Duran Duran. Today the new kids on the block have never heard of Oasis.
Today the '80s are viewed as a museum of bad taste. Unfortunately I have the evidence; photos of the pointy pixie shoes, the jeans that were so tight they had to be prized on with meat hooks, the bad blonde dye job, the lame attempt at a Phil Oakey comb over, the white studded belt that hung down my leather trousers, the effeminate double breasted shirt ... it goes on.
Yes my friend Marc really did used to simulate playing a synthesizer on the TV and my mother gave him strange looks. We went out to the leisure center of a dull suburban town where Marc prowled the corridor in his white leather shoes hoping to pick up a girl who looked like Suzanne Sully from the Human League. We were hopeless stereotypes - we could have been a set of lyrics by the Smiths.
Where is Suzanne Sully now? Maybe muttering and dribbling on herself in an old folks home. If you google Suzanne Sully as I do, you come up with a blog by Heroine Addict.
Incidentally I did interview Phil Oakey a decade ago. He had lost most of his trademark hair. I also interviewed Nik Kershaw who said the '80s had made him look like a "dickhead."
Well, to be fair, he was short to begin with, so that mane of big hair made him look like he was about to topple over.
And while I cringe, a part of me loved the '80s. I can never hear Cruel Summer by Bananarama without feeling nosalgic for my bitter, awkward and acne ridden youth. I can never walk past a Rubik's cube in a curiosity shop without reigniting my old desire to match up more than one side.
I love watching re-runs of Wall Street in which Michael Douglas tries to look cool while holding a mobile phone half the size of Greenland.
So those pictures of Michael Douglas, prematurely old with cancer are poignant to me, beause Douglas was the face of an era.
The '80s had some brash icons and in Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher a power couple whose shoulder pads could pack a lot more punch than Krystle Carrington's.
Ronnie has long gone and history has been kind to him. Comparisons with George W. Bush saw to that.
And Maggie is ill and fading away. In her heyday I hated her arrogance and coldness. I even campaigned for Neil Kinnock.
But in retrospect you have to love her. Because she stuck to her convictions; because she was as impressive as Churchill in many ways and she was a part of my youth that I'll never get back.
Time is like a clock of the heart and it's chiming away.