Posts Tagged ‘1980s’

[April 18, 1994] Pearl Jam and the 90’s vs the 80’s

December 6, 2010 2 comments

how grungy it is...

Monday, April 18, 1994

Dear Journal,

Last night Anita and I went to a Pearl Jam concert.  It was great!  It was announced Friday at 6:00 and the only way to get tickets (if you weren’t in the fanclub) was through a radio station.  Anita called one for 2 ½ hours and actually got through.

Mudhoney opened up for them and they were okay.  Then Pearl Jam came on and for the first couple of songs I was real stiff (I almost felt like I didn’t belong there.  I mean my favorite band is U2 and Smashing Pumpkins are way down the line at second favorite).  Then I loosened up and just got real into it.  I danced, screamed, it was wonderful.  I hadn’t been to a concert in such a long time (about 4 years) and it was incredible.  I want to go to so many more now.

(Also I should mention the fact that there was an extremely high number of cute guys there).

–“Just Say Maybe” (the back of a cool Smashing Pumpkins shirt this really cute guy was wearing at the concert.

Few things encapsulate the 1990’s as much as grunge.  I’ll be honest, I had Doc Marten boots and a few plaid shirts, but for the most part, I hated the sloppy, unwashed grunge aesthetic.  In terms of decade trends, I felt completely and utterly cheated coming of age in the 90’s after experiencing the 80’s as a child. The 1980’s were full of so many things I adored: the clothesthe movies, the TV shows, the hairstyles, the music… pretty much all of it.

The grunge that typified the 1990’s didn’t move me as much as the new wave and pop of the 1980’s. Nirvana, Hole, and most of the other bands associated with the scene did nothing for me, as evidenced by my lukewarm response to Mudhoney.  There were exceptions music-wise, Pearl Jam being one for a short time (Alice in Chains and Smashing Pumpkins being others). But these bands never felt like a revelation to me, more like a reluctant acceptance, because they were so ubiquitous it was easier to just give in and like them after a while.

While I knew I wasn’t truly part of the scene Pearl Jam represented and didn’t love their music, I did become more of a fan after seeing them live.  They sounded infinitely better in concert than they did on their albums, their growling intensity was mesmerizing, and the show reminded me of the power of live music. I don’t listen to Pearl Jam anymore apart from a rare song here and there, but to this day, having attended ~100-200 concerts since that one, I’d still say they are one of the strongest live bands I’ve ever seen.


[December, 1989] The End of the 80’s As We Know It

December 21, 2009 4 comments


May the new decade bring better fashion and music choices.


Dear Journal,

New Years Eve!!

I can’t wait until later tonight! I am going to my cousins house for a party. (Anna’s)

Yesterday Mitchell didn’t call me so I went shopping and got these amazing “New Kids on the Block” jeans! They are so cool! I absolutely love them! Later!

This is quite possibly the only time the words “New Kids on the Block” and “so cool” were used in the same sentence together.

As a new decade was about to dawn on us, did I take those last moments to reflect on the last ten colorful years? Did I ponder what the dawn of the 1990’s might bring? No and no. Instead I enthused over a pair of acid washed pants with airbrushed graffiti on them spelling out “New Kids on the Block” in bubble letters down one of the legs and the band members down the other. (I have scoured the Internet looking for a comparable photo, but there isn’t one, which can only mean they were one of a kind. Thank heavens for that.)

I could try to defend myself by saying that not hearing from Mitchell caused some sort of fashion temporary insanity. Because there’s retail therapy and then there’s retail suicide. The truth is, I was briefly a fan of this boy band (Joey was my favorite, in case you’re wondering, which you probably aren’t). My taste in music and clothing would take another few years to improve, but at least I ended the decade on a sufficiently tacky and colorful note.

As for the end of the 80’s, I always thought I was born ten years too late. While I was blessed with some fantastic cartoons and sit-coms (Thundercats, Jem & The Holograms, The Facts of Life, Perfect Strangers, Diff’rent Strokes… my definition of “fantastic” is probably not the same as yours), I missed out on a lot of the pop culture being so young. Sure, I had the enormous hair and wore enough shoulderpads to stand in for a quarterback, but I never got to get tarted up like Lucky-Star-era Madonna back then. Wearing fingerless lace gloves a decade later just wasn’t the same. And sure, in recent years I ended up seeing a lot of the new wave and post-punk bands I was too young to appreciate back then (Pet Shop Boys, Sisters of Mercy, Duran Duran, The Cure, Depeche Mode, Human League, etc.) but it would have been really special to see them in their heyday.

I think a lot of people feel out of time in their era. I was a reluctant participant of the 90’s and will always feel like I was stuck with a bum decade to come of age in. And as a another new decade is about to roll in I can’t imagine what kids growing up today will contend with. All I can wonder is whether we’ll ever get those damn flying cars.

In the meantime, I hope somebody out there is tinkering with and putting the finishing touches on a time machine that will one day let me return to the 1980’s and experience it in person again, this time as an adult. I’m sure I’ve glamorized that time period far too much in my mind, and maybe it’s best left in those nostalgic corners. Still, a girl can hold out hope.

[December, 1989] New Year’s Resolutions (Age 12)

December 10, 2009 4 comments



Dear Journal,

Tomorrow I am going to Elaine’s birthday party.

I want to try something new.

Well since the new year is coming, and the new decade, I want to write down my new years resolutions.

1) Go steady with Mitchell.

2) lose seven pounds.

3) kick my knuckle cracking and nail biting habits.

4) learn how to ride a bike. (I know that I won’t keep that one, but who really cares.)

5) talk my mom into letting me get second holes in my ears.

Well I geuss that does it. I hope I have a good year and decade.

Ah, resolutions. I don’t know where I got the idea to make this list, but it was probably inspired by something I saw on television (did  the girls in The Facts of Life ever make resolutions? I’m thinking a strong maybe on that). This exercise sparked what would become a lifelong fondness for making lists, though I no longer make resolutions. Why should the calendar dictate personal self-improvement?

Back in the late 80’s (how sad it will be to usher in the 90’s. Can we have an acid washed moment of silence?) I think I misunderstood the idea of making resolutions with making a wish list. In the spirit of hindsight, I’d like to revise that list for my 12-year-old self. This is what is should have looked like:

1) Realize that being in a relationship is not always something one can control.

2) Make peace with those pounds.

3) Now that the nails are safe, kick the cuticle-biting habit (it’s pretty gross).

4) Learn to drive (I probably won’t keep that one, either).

5) Thank mom for not letting me get that second pair of holes in my ears, because accessorizing with one pair is challenging enough.

[December, 1989] You Never Can Tell…

December 8, 2009 3 comments



Dear Journal, My birthday party was rad! It was so cool. I got a bunch of neat stuff.

Vito C asked me out and I said, “no.” When I told Mitch he said “pretty good” and I wanted to know what that was supposed to mean but he just said “forget it.” Mitch wanted to take me out yesterday but he has the flu so he will take me out next Saturday.

I really think that Mitchell wants to go steady with me. I don’t know, but it’s so easy being with him. I feel so comfortable and not nervouse.

I have heard some bad things about Mitch but I will believe when I see it! If I see it! I can’t wait until our date!

I hope he kisses me! I have to admit that I think I’m falling in love. You never can tell can you?

So here I was, twelve years old, feeling unexpectedly sophisticated and popular, and navigating new dating waters.  I don’t remember what the negative gossip surrounding Mitch was, but I do know I didn’t bother to get details or ask Mitch about his bad reputation directly. Why bother with common sense when I could let my emotions rule? What’s the worst that could happen. As for Vito, while telling Mitch about him have been smart in that it made me seem desired by other guys, I wonder whether it also made me a little too available and eager to commit after one date because I was so quick to say no to another prospect.  I wouldn’t have gone out with Vito regardless,  but this may have shifted the balance of power a little more in Mitch’s favor.

I’m still not sure exactly what Mitch meant when he said “pretty good.” Was he complimenting my feminine wiles at being able to lure two suitors in a short space of time? Was he impressed that it was Vito? Was he pleased that I confided in him and showed him such loyalty early on? You never can tell…

[December, 1989] Back to the Dating Part II

December 4, 2009 3 comments

where's my damn flying car already?


Dear Journal,

Today I went out with Mitch and we had a lot of fun.

We saw Jason, Charles, Yanmei (the bitch!), Rose, Penny and Elaine at the movies.

What a coincidence! Really! But it was really fun anyway. And I think that me and Mitch will have something going. Also at the movies (we saw “back to the future II”) I found out that Charles wants to go with (make-out with) Rose but I know that Charles is just desperate (someone told me.) so he asked Rose and they will probably go out. He might like Rose but I still know that he’s desperate. Elaine is really upset because she really likes Charles and thought that he kind of liked her too, so now she’s depressed because she wanted Charles to ask her out. Oh well. I hope things work out between them because if they don’t things can get messy between Elaine and Rose.

Between these type of diary entries and watching old episodes of Dynasty via Netflix (if you’ve never seen a catfight between Krystle and Alexis you are missing out, my friend), I have about all the 80’s drama I can stand.

There’s nothing like going on a date only to find out that you’re being stalked by half a dozen of your classmates. That sort of thing only happens when you’re a kid or a character in a movie filled with wacky misadventures. As annoying as it was to have the group sitting a few rows behind us at the movie, I found it even more irksome that the entire crowd also followed us on the seven-block walk back to my apartment building. It gave us something to laugh about, but made the date more awkward by a factor of ten. The only real privacy Mitch and I had was the elevator ride up to the fifth floor and the three foot walk to my apartment door. There was no kiss and I don’t think we even held hands, so I’m not sure what made me believe that the two of us might “have something going.” But at least I was completely over my crush on Charles and could be a mere bystander in the unfolding love triangle surrounding him.

A few words on Back to the Future Part II. I remember enjoying the movie but feeling cheated that the it ended with a cliffhanger which reduced the film to a trailer for the third installment (the first movie did that too, but still felt more complete). I did love all the special effects, including the hoverboards, flying cars, and holographic theaters, and managed to suspend all disbelief regarding the time travel logic, so that I could enjoy the movie for entertainment’s sake. It’s something I wish I could do more often today.

[December, 1989] Beaches and Other Scary Movies

December 1, 2009 10 comments


(spoiler alert: one of them doesn't make it)


Dear Journal,

I just (well a few hours ago.) saw the movie “beaches” again and it was really sad at the end. It’s about this friendship that these two girls have and one of them dies at the end (that’s why it’s so sad). It got me thinking about friendship and how I would feel if one of my good (or even best!) friends died. I would be so depressed and miserable, I don’t know what I would do.

Well let’s move on to a happier subject. Like my date with Mitch (which is tomorrow by the way.) I hope it goes all right.

Also my birthday is coming up and my party is going to have a horror theme. We are going to see a horror movie then tell ghost stories, have some food then play with my Ouija board.

In case it’s still not clear, it’s sad because of the death in the movie. Of the friend. At the end.

Ah, Beaches. For those not up on their chick flicks, Bette Midler plays a bold and brassy gal (I know, so very unlike her other characters) who forges a lifelong friendship with a sensible and cautious gal (Barbara Hershey). What could they possibly have in common, you ask? Well, not a whole lot, but you know what they say about opposites (“they,” in the late 80’s, being Paula Abdul and a  cartoon cat). There’s fighting, singing, crying, dying, and more crying. All to the tune of a soundtrack sung by the Diving Miss M herself, who made us take stock and ask who the wind beneath our wings might be. Despite its somber conclusion, the film has moments of levity, plus plenty of shoulder pads, big hair, and a musical sequence about the invention of the bra (you owe it to yourself to hear “Otto Titsling” at least once in your life if you never have).

To me, Beaches is a scary movie because it shows the fragility of friendship and of life itself. However, others out there might consider it  to be a horror movie because of  its abundance of female emotion and sentimentality. Either way, it was not part of my impending birthday’s theme.

As I previously mentioned, my parents let me immerse myself in all kinds of media related to paranormal phenomena, but they didn’t let me watch scary movies. Nothing with Freddy or Jason or Michael Myers or anything of that ilk. Initially they forbade horror movies until I was 13, but decided to loosen up and end the moratorium a year early. Clearly, I decided to really run with the theme.

What better way to celebrate the anniversary of your birth than seeing a bunch of people die onscreen, tell stories about dead people, and then try to actually talk to dead people using a toy/instrument of the occult? Sounds like my idea of a good time!

[December, 1989] Glee and Paranoia

November 24, 2009 4 comments


Dear Journal,

Our glee club will have our concert soon.

Also, I feel very different around Mitch. As if I have to watch my every move. I feel uncomfortable but maybe I’m just feeling the tension before a date. Oh well, I hope the feeling goes away.

la la la la

One of my favorite things about elementary school was singing in the glee club. Mrs. Angelo was no ordinary music teacher. She had permed hair teased into a giant halo around her head and three-inch nails that miraculously did not impede her ability to accompany us on the piano. She was also inventive when determining the musical programs. One concert included a Neil Diamond medley, and to this day I have a soft spot for that crooner, from his immigration anthem “America” to his east coast/west coast struggle in “I Am I Said.”

Mrs. Angelo had us put on concerts for our entire school just for entertainment’s sake, like the showcase of Broadway tunes we did (I sang “Memory” from Cats solo). For the holiday concert, she even had an original Hanukkah song that she composed, “How Many Nights” (so catchy that I can still hum the chorus, decades later). She devised elaborate harmonies for us and made us rehearse often, but shared music with such enthusiasm and love, we didn’t mind.

Mitch was in glee club, too, so we were frequently in the same room together, though we didn’t speak. I guess we were saving up actual socializing for our date, and besides, we’d be scrutinized by our classmates if we talked to each other in front of them. As for the pre-date jitters, I think there was a part of me that worried Mike might find the reason to call off the date before it happened. To make sure that didn’t happen, I tried to keep my distance until then, and focused on singing instead.