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Posts Tagged ‘1980s’

Dear Friends:

It’s the rare time of year in the South where I can put down the top on my convertible and be comfortable.

One of my favorite things to do is play music REALLY LOUD and (possibly) torture those around me.

I’ve been in a serious metal and rock phase lately: Think Halestorm, Drowning Pool, Rage Against the Machine, Disturbed, Metallica, etc.

But I do have eclectic taste. See this recent screenshot from my Ticketmaster app:

I’m looking for suggestions. What’s your favorite song? Though I will listen to almost anything, note that I’m not a huge fan of rap, trap, jazz and classical music.

And please don’t send me video game theme songs. The 14 year old has the lock on that. And he is persistent. (Read: annoying when he wants me to do something.)

(Yes, this is what I have to live with every day.)

Looking forward to your suggestions!

Sincerely,
Beth

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Dear Adam,

You know I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for you, but our love affair is over.

It’s not me. It’s you. Definitely you.

I gave you a pass when I saw you in 2013. And another in 2017.

But this time, it’s really over.

It’s too bad.

Pam and I were so excited to see you Friday. You were our first.

Our first concert, that is. The original “Friend or Foe” tour.

We even got there early to see your opener, the Glam Skanks.

They were great. Even though people sat through their set, the Skanks didn’t phone it in.

Unlike others (cough cough).

Listen, I know you are geriatric now. Maybe your hips hurt. I don’t know.

I do know that fans like Pam and me expect to see you do more on stage than just hop weakly a few times.

Was your hussar jacket too tight? Had you sweat too much already in your leather pants à la Ross? Were you afraid of your ridiculous straw hat falling off?

Whatever the case, your moves are gone. It appears your voice is too.

I’m sorry to be so hard on you, but I paid for a service — and I don’t feel serviced.

As Pam said, “We’re living on a memory.”

Part of it is not your fault. Perhaps the acoustics in Atlanta Symphony Hall are great for the Atlanta Symphony, but they were not great for you.

It wasn’t until I drug Pam up to the front that things got interesting. You had shed your jacket at that point (but not the hat, of course).

You went deep into “and the Ants” history and brought out “Physical (You’re So).” I thought maybe we could stay together.

But then I got a good look at your new facial hair pattern.

You know me: all or nothing.

I don’t know what’s going on with you.

All I know is that I’m moving on.

Adam, meet Chris and Randy.

I’m sorry you had to find out this way.

But, I went out last night to see Fozzy.

They BROUGHT IT in a way you haven’t for me for 20 years.

Don’t be too sad. We had a good run.

But I just can’t with you anymore.

You’ll be fine.

Go spend your time grooming and buying hats.

Sincerely,
Beth

 

 

 

 

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Dear Friends,

Back in my day (someone get me my walker), we cruised around Stone Mountain Park after school.

Now the Dunkin’ Donuts is the hangout.

According to Dominic, the crowd is hit or miss.

Last Friday featured quite a crowd, though. When I went to get him and Gideon, I decided I needed an iced coffee.

Inside, I practically needed a machete to hack through the hormones in the air.

As soon as I got back in the car, I got hit with this:

Dominic: At least the thots we liked last year were cute. These are obnoxious and covered in acne. These seventh and eighth graders are awful. Gideon is more mature than any of them.

Gideon, an eighth grader: I really am. It’s true.

Dominic: He can take a hit too.

Me: Wait. What?

Apparently they went to a nearby park before DD to play football.

And that’s why they didn’t want me to pick them up too soon. And ignored my texts.

Dominic: I saw your question mark. Mama, we was out with the boys.

(Gideon informed me it’s supposed to be written this way: “We was out wit da bois.” Shudder.)

During said football game, Dominic had a run-in with a tree.

He saw it as an occasion to go into full drama mode.

I do have to tell you all that he’s been mostly great since he started ninth grade. More from Friday:

Dominic: There are three girls who said they caught feelings for me.

Me: Do you like any of them?

Dominic: Naw. I gotta get me those As.

(Not with that grammar you don’t. But I digress.)

It’s true that the notifications I’ve been getting from Campus Parent have not made my blood pressure spike.

And I made him laugh this week too. We were trying to edge into traffic, and I wanted to slide in front of a particular car.

Me: I’m going to slip in here because Drake isn’t paying attention.

Dominic: [Looks up from his phone to see my reference.]

Me: [Pulling in front and waving] Thanks, KeKe!

Dominic: [Looks at me in shock and actually chuckles.]

Me: You’re impressed I knew that aren’t you?

Dominic: Yes, because you listen to this [referencing The Pixies coming out of the speaker]!

Me: Listen: They were a seminal act of the late ’80s.

Dominic: [Exaggerated eye roll]

So, friends, I’m hoping we’ve turned a corner. (Don’t tell me it won’t last. Let me have my delusions.)

Cautiously optimistic,
Beth

 

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Dear Music Lovers,

I last wrote to you more than a year ago to share my favorite playlists.

I was reminded of that post today because I had lunch with an old friend who was influential in developing my musical tastes.

He created a fantastic mix tape for me back in the day.

I don’t save a ton of things — I’m not a hoarder! — but I saved all the mix tapes I received. As I knew Mike and I were meeting, I dug his out this morning to bring to lunch to show him. (I did this in the living room in my underwear, scarring Gideon for life. But that’s another story.)

I miss the days of mix tapes. They were an essential part of the courting ritual. You liked someone, then carefully crafted a tape that would do three things:

1. Indicate your feelings. You could be obscure or obvious.

2. Introduce the recipient to new music. And show off your own coolness. Or not.

3. Tell a complete story. Flow was key. It was a narrative.

I always went one step further (of course) and decorated the paper sleeve. I would find a great image from a magazine or newspaper (I’m old, y’all), cut it precisely, and glue it to the cardboard. I’d list all the songs on the other side.

It was a task to create these because you had to time everything out perfectly to fit the tape plus switch out albums.

Playlists are easier to create and share today, but I don’t get the impression they are as much a part of the getting-to-know-you phase. They certainly don’t provoke the same feeling as when someone you liked would hand you a tape. You couldn’t wait to get in your car (!) or get home to listen to it to see if they felt the same way you did.

For the record, Mike and I were and are great friends. No big romance. The purpose of this tape was to introduce me to new music. (But it’s true we were very flirty.)

I recreated it in iTunes:

Mike was tickled that I still had it.

“These songs definitely represent an era,” he said.

True that.

Here’s a picture of Mike taking a picture of the playlist. He was as amused as I was.

If you’re feeling industrious, send me a playlist. It can have a message. Or not. I’m always open to new music, as I think I’ve demonstrated.

Vinyly yours,
Beth

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Dear Music Lovers:

If you are like me, you have playlists for various occasions. In my case, these playlists correspond to very specific occasions. Here are some examples:

1. Playlist that keeps me from murdering my attitudinal oldest son and burying his body in the shrubs outside our door:

Notes: It’s hard to be mad at your 13 year old when 13-year-old Taylor Hanson is scatting. No, I’m not ashamed to have One Direction on a playlist. Yes, “1985” resonates (I too never got a hand on a member of Duran Duran. Yet.).

2. Playlist that helps me get ready for work when I spent too much time the night before bingeing “Santa Clarita Diet” and drinking wine.

Notes: I dare you to stand still when you hear any of these songs. “Thrift Shop” is one of my youngest son’s favorite songs.

3. Playlist that allows me to let my redneck freak flag fly (and those moments I can ignore over-the-top objectification of women):

Notes: This may surprise you, but my first date with Eddie was a Tim McGraw/Sawyer Brown concert. I was a DJ for a country music radio station at the time. As I also worked as a TV news reporter, I couldn’t use my real name on air at the radio station. I wanted to call myself Moonpie Jones, but my boss wouldn’t let me.

4. Playlist to offer when someone asks you your favorite song from the ’80s.

Notes: How could I choose? So many great songs for so many good reasons. It’s shocking how Bow Wow Wow is undervalued and underplayed.

5. Playlist for when the kids are not in the car:

 

Notes: All great. All NSFW and NSFC. It’s surprising there’s no “E” next to “Crazy Bitch.” It’s definitely “E.” (Sarah K., don’t say a word to me about Buckcherry.)

6. Playlist for stress cleaning your habitat because your house in your old city STILL hasn’t sold.

Notes: It’s been a year. This is better than drinking.

7. Playlist for cooking complicated dishes like Mexican tamales, Puerto Rican pasteles and Japanese gyoza while wishing regular life could be as easy as following a recipe.

Notes: If I’m going to cook, I’m going to COOK (i.e., go all out). All-day cooking makes me feel very counterculture — counter to my usual routine — hence this throwback playlist.

I’m open to new bands. I promise! (I’m just too lazy to go searching.) Send me your top playlist and its best occasion!

Thanks for the recs,
Beth

 

From Instagram. Change 2000s to 1980s.

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Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life. Let me share mine through music.

FRIDAY

Out Tonight
From “Rent
René and his partner Cris accompanied me for more recon for my PR project. I actually changed out of work clothes this time to go out. That’s commitment.

All Night Long
Buckcherry
There were three bands scheduled for this venue: The Sagas, Dank (formerly Dank Sinatra) and Casual Cadenza. We had an interesting conversation on the Lyft ride over about the word “credenza,” which would have been a better band name. The ride to the bar also featured this quote from Cris about my college drink of choice:

There’s nothing good at the bottom of a bottle of Boone’s Farm.

So true. Did you know they still make it? (Did you get a case of the clap from just thinking about those days? Just kidding. It was herpes. KIDDING. Maybe.)

The Sagas

The Sagas: The best band of the night. I’m bummed I didn’t take the photo before the singer took off his gold tablecloth.

Deadbeat Club
The B-52’s
I really didn’t understand the audience for many reasons. They paid to see these bands, yet they stood like recently reanimated corpses, dressed like they were going to a casting call for L.L. Bean catalog work. The men outnumbered the women at least 10-1. And all of these guys seemed like they were one drink away from switching sides.

A Toe Needs a Shoe
The Replacements
Apparently, Dank was the main attraction. I couldn’t see why, but all the stiff white people were THRILLED that this band had gotten back together after a reported six-year hiatus. In that time, they clearly did not give much thought to their stage wear for the big reunion. Or maybe they did. (That’s worse.)

IMG_1022

What is going on here? This is a true wardrobe malfunction.

Mean
Taylor Swift
When I read “Southern rock sound” in the Casual Cadenza bio, I thought I would like them. I did not. They sounded like a bad lounge band. Like I could smell Nick WintersBrut by Faberge. René should be happy he had to leave early because he had an early-morning flight.

Little T & A
The Rolling Stones
At some point in the evening, I got the booking manager’s email on a napkin (for the aforementioned PR project). I stuffed it in my bra for safekeeping. Somehow, it went missing. (I don’t know how; I promise the only hands in my bra were my own.) I got the email rewritten on a piece of register tape. It also went missing for a bit. It turned up the next morning. When I relayed this story to my “client,” my friend Simon, he called it “the Narnia Bra.” That’s bloody brilliant!

Seen in the ladies room. Nicky will what?

Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow)
The Monkees
For the second time in a month, I was still in the bar when they turned the house lights on. No one looks good when the house lights come on. No one. Cris and I scuttled away like roaches.

SATURDAY

Morning has broken
Cat Stevens
Sweet mother of God, that came quickly. Got to get up, because …

Take Me Out to the Ball Game
Jack Norworth
My youngest son is into baseball. I’m not into baseball. Yet there I was at his AAA game. Early morning. So early. Bundled up, sipping coffee, hiding behind sunglasses, and waiting for the Tylenol and English muffin to kick in. The game was a nail-biter. His team was up 6-1 going into the fifth inning of six. Then the wheels came off the cart. They went into the sixth down 7-9. My son managed to score the eighth run, but then the tying run was called out at home plate. The kid looked safe to me, but what do I know?

Gideon gets ready to score.

During the game, though, the coach used that classic line from “A League of Their Own” with a couple of the kids:

Lay off the high ones!

Pumped Up Kicks
Foster the People
My sons went to a paintball party for a neighbor friend. I dropped them off then dropped my top (of my convertible — come on!). Loud singing commenced.

I love my home town.

Don’t Leave Me This Way
The Communards version
When I got home, I resumed binge-watching “Game of Thrones” with Eddie, who had just gotten home from work. I know I’m late to this party; I’m only up to season five. I said to Eddie:

I really like Davos. I guess I’d better not get too attached to him.

I’m still attached to Jon Snow. I know, I know.

Chicken Fried
Zac Brown Band
I’ve lived in the South almost my whole life. I cook all the time, yet I’ve never made chicken and dumplings. Until now. Damn it was good.

Temptation Waits
Garbage
On Friday night, the bartender’s friend told Cris and me about another live-music venue we needed to try. Cris is only in town for a few days, so we decided to check it out. We agreed to go easy; our “check liver” lights were still on. The bar looks super shady from the outside, real dive-y on the inside, but we knew immediately it would be fun.

I love this photobomber.

Don’t Stand So Close to Me
The Police
Cris and I carved out a great space for ourselves off the dance floor, protected by a long table and a load-bearing column. We could dance in peace and still watch the excellent band — the Wasted Potential Brass Band — and people in the bar. So many interesting humans. It reminded me of the George Clinton concert: a medley of shapes, ages, colors, proclivities. We heard an older man say to a younger woman, “Can I pay you?” We watched a lady pull a whole wad of money out of her own Narnia Bra. We observed one fellow creep on every single female in the place. Suddenly, I felt a hand on my waist. Guess who!

Him: You have a way of galvanizing the troops.
Me: What?
Him: You are fantastic.
Me: Um … thank you.
Him: Do you want to dance?
Me: No, thank you.

And I slid closer to Cris.

Props to Creeper for creativity in opening lines, though. Here he is with his final score and her poncho.

“Let’s get out of here,” she said to him. Yes, SHE said that to HIM. And he had just grabbed her by the hair, all caveman style!

Closing Time
Semisonic
After the band’s second set, the atmosphere changed. It happened quickly. Suddenly, patrons were sloppy and desperate. Cris and I had enough. So had these guys, clearly:

Go home, fellas.

SUNDAY

Sunday Morning
No Doubt
Oof. That is all.

The Luck You Got
The High Strung
Brunch with Brian and Cindy, two friends from high school. There’s such joy in being with people who have known you since you were a wee lass and still like you (I think).

Back in Black
AC/DC
“Black Panther” lives up to the hype. Top-notch acting, strong women, great costumes and storyline. Go see it. Drop everything.

Atomic Dog
George Clinton
Gideon and his friend Miles started a dog-walking business in the neighborhood. My older son, well … unless you can get paid for playing “Fortnite,” he’s not going to be flush any time soon.

K-9 Kids Dog Walking, $5 per dog

Celebrity Skin
Hole
Oscar party at the home of the president of my university. I’m so fancy (Iggy Azalea) that I wore a fake fur scarf I picked up at a Leek thrift shop for £2. I had a great time catching up with a friend from college (even though we got shushed by a woman who didn’t realize she was in the fun room). The host kept score from our ballots on huge pieces of paper he taped to his French doors. (Have I mentioned how much I like my job?)

Can’t wait to see what next weekend has in store. Anyone up for a mission with me? Eddie just rolls his eyes as I revert to my 20s.

Don’t “Call Me” (Blondie) because I hate to talk on the phone (Right, Trish?). Text, tweet, FB message me or comment here if you want to “Stand and Deliver” (Adam and the Ants).

See you next weekend!
Beth

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Dear 1980s,

I’ve been thinking about you lately. It should be no surprise as I just wrote a post about growing up as your child. For those who did not experience you (or don’t remember because of all the crack cocaine), let me walk through your decade via all five senses.*

SMELL: Love’s Baby Soft and Polo by Ralph Lauren

Love's Baby Barf

Love’s Baby Soft, made of the tears of girls who realized they could never be real princesses, smelled like baby powder and desperation, roses and acne medicine. Every female wore it. How could our teachers stand it?

 

 

 

Polo by Ralph Lauren, made of the seeping testosterone of pubescent boys, smelled like cat piss in pine straw. Every boy wore it except my friend Rob. He wore Lagerfeld, I think. At any rate, it was something different, and I loved him.

 

 

 

SIGHT: Jessica McClintock and Bugle Boy

Little House on Central DriveFor any event — school dance, church, confirmation, scheduled pining for John Taylor, etc. — you were not a real girl unless you had a Jessica McClintock for Gunne Sax dress. Every dress had lace or florals — often both. I don’t know what kind of fever dream we all were having, but we looked like we were trying to channel Laura Ingalls Wilder. These concoctions went well with the Love’s Baby Soft, and the hope by our parents that our vaginas would stay hidden forever. I think I had the dress to the left. I remember it itched.

 

Every boy in my school, fat or thin, tall or short, wore black parachute pants. No one looked good in them. No one. So many pockets. Yet you couldn’t put anything in those pockets because the pants were so freakin’ tight. I think the boys had to tuck to get them on.

 

 

 

SOUND: Pac-Man and Rush

There is no sound as distinctive as the sound of the game in action. That and, of course, the sound of the meet-cute cut scene with Ms. Pac-Man on her version. It was what was playing in the background of every attempted hookup in the arcade when we girls had shed our Gunne Sax dresses and slid into high-waisted acid-wash jeans. The boys remained encased in their parachute pants, probably until they could be cut out of them at night by their parents (who likely were thrilled that the sperm count had to be way down).

 

Every boy in my social circle went apeshit over Rush. “Moving Pictures,” “Signals,” “Grace Under Pressure” — they dissected each album like an archaeologist examines microscopic fossil fragments. Granted, I hung out with band geeks. In this dark period, we girls were left to our own devices, mooning over Rick Springfield, Duran Duran and George Michael (we didn’t know) until the boys started paying attention to us again in 10th grade.

 

TASTE: Jell-o Pudding Pops and Cool Ranch Doritos

At this point in time, the world loved Bill Cosby, and he loved to shill Jell-o Pudding Pops. We just added it to the rest of the sugar we were inhaling every day, all day. We started off with Smurf Berry Crunch cereal, gnawed on jawbreakers, Twizzlers and Nerds all day, then ended with Jell-o Pudding Pops. No wonder we loved neon. Our mood matched.

 

When Cool Ranch Doritos came out, our collective heads exploded. We had no idea such flavors existed in the world. And God help you if you had a party and did not provide the Cool Ranch Doritos. You would feel a cool breeze from former friends come Monday. (And yes, boys and girls, that is Jay Leno hawking them.)

 

TOUCH: Aqua Net and private parts

For our hair to reach such death-defying heights as expected, we needed Aqua Net. It would coat our hair with a layer of lacquer that repelled rain, hands, sonic blasts, etc. Pity the fool who would try to touch our perms crowned by sky-high bangs.

Here’s a wee little photo of me during the Aqua Net era (because any larger would make your eyes bleed). I think I’m wearing a half a can of Aqua Net. I could have fallen on my head from a great height and been totally fine.

 

 

In addition to getting to know our own parts, we also were getting to know the parts of others — at the arcade, on bleachers, in the back of movie theaters, in cars, in AP History class. (What’s that you say? Just me? Well then.) What a wonderful time to be alive! All the bits a tingling.

 

Some say there is a sixth sense. I can assure you that we did not have it then. For example, I thought I might have a chance with Mike M. When my friend Kari asked him, though, she was told to bring me back the news that I was a “dog.” Oh. OK. Back to Andrew McCarthy for me.

Anyway, I miss you sometimes, but I don’t miss the angst associated with growing up.

Thanks for the memories.

Love,
Beth

 

*I apologize that these reflections are gender- and heteronormative. These are my personal recollections as a cisgendered straight person.

 

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