A Bit About Me

My photo
Along with my daily duties as founder and head writer of HumorMeOnline.com, in 2003, I took the Grand Prize in the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (also known as the "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night" competition). I've also been a contributor to "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" and the web's "The Late Show with David Letterman". I also occupy my time writing three blogs, "Blogged Down at the Moment", "Brit Word of the Day" and "Production Numbers"...and my off-time is spent contemplating in an "on again/off again" fashion...my feable attempts at writing any one of a dozen books. I would love to write professionally one day...and by that I mean "actually get a paycheck".

26 September 2008

Adamant about...Adam Ant...and Other Such Fond 1980s Memories

Have you ever misplaced something and then found it later in a place you least expected? It could be hours, days or even months later and you think..."Oh THERE you are...you silly thing, how'd you end up here?"

Well, I lost something less tangible years ago - and, in a way, I found it the other day.

Through a random act of Internet association, someone happened upon my interactive comedy website because someone mentioned it to them. I, in turn, noticed their screen name and avatar...one thing led to another and I am now an active participant on an Adam Ant forum. I also found a group of people who rekindled something in me I lost long ago: memories of my youth.

You see...way back when, I was also one of another group of people - those who witnessed the advent of MTV. I was there from the get-go - from the days they stayed on the air just a few hours...to the days they went 24-hour format...to the days they went global...to, sadly, the days everyone complained they stopped playing music.

But, back in their youth...and back in MY youth - wow! Those were some exciting times.

Sure, there are a lot of people you will find who will tell you how much 80's music sucked and how MTV played a monumental part in its doing so. But -- there are also a LOT of people who cruise YouTube extolling the virtues of 80s music...video after video, wishing they lived during that time. Multitudes of people love the music and the antics going on in the videos.

Truth be told...MTV and 80s singers had a symbiotic relationship...MTV gained viewership by playing beautiful videos sung by beautiful people. Beautiful people flourished -- it was like the "Golden Age" of Hollywood all over again - but on a much smaller screen.

One of those beautiful people gracing their airwaves was unknown to me at the time. I lived in New Jersey, and altho I would listen to Philadelphia radio stations, they still managed to play only what was selling advertising, which equated to Top 40 rock format...with a few local favourites thrown in. Princeton University would broadcast a much more eclectic sound and through them I found the likes of REM, The Police, U2, Depeche Mode and The Cure...all well before they were mainstreamed over to the "popular" stations.

But people like Duran Duran, Madonna and Adam Ant were bypassed altogether...and without MTV around to find their niche - these talented, albeit beautiful, people...would have probably fallen by the wayside.

But a little less about them and more about me...

Duran Duran burst on the MTV scene about the same time as my hormones started bursting out of me. And while they undoubtedly were the fantasy of schoolgirls everywhere...eh...they weren't my cup of tea.

Then I caught my first glimpse of Adam. I remember it distinctly - I was hanging out at my friend, Cecelia's house, watching MTV, talking about boys, and making life-long plans we'd always put down on paper. I guess it was more official when you had it in writing. And somehow, ultimately, living in Los Angeles or England was always involved - as was "marrying a rock star". And when Adam swaggered into her living room that day - well, our lists got updated.

We then ran out, for the first and only time in my life - and bought one of those Teen Beat-type magazines. I can't recall the exact name of it - but I do remember Adam was featured prominently inside.

Then out came the make-up kits - we now had in front of us our "Rembrandt" if you will - to copy. We spent many hours trying to replicate that "masterpiece"...but honestly, I really think we spent more time drooling over Adam than drawing on our faces. Could anyone in their right mind blame us?

It goes without saying that we also bought up all the albums of his we could find...then promptly taped it over to cassette. Keep in mind these were the days pre-recorded cassettes sorely lacked any real quality recording...so when you bought the album you'd also buy a Maxcell tape and do it yourself. Then you'd sit down in front of the stereo with the lyric sheet (another reason you'd buy the album...they rarely provided them then in cassettes) and play that record until you had it memorized. And then you'd pop that tape in the car and play it everywhere you went. Yeah...you might say this whole regimen bordered on obsession - but, boy...what an obsession!

And what obsession would be complete without the 'coup de grace' of them all? The ultimate paying of respect? Yes, when Halloween rolled around, Cecelia and I went as Adam.

I had all but forgotten these things - as childhood memories make way for adult ones; and friends, sadly, come and go and then eventually drop out of contact altogether. People move, get married and start new families and new memories - the years pass by all too quickly and you stop making wish lists and make grocery lists instead.

And the only ones dressing up for Halloween are your children. Sure, you can always dress up as well (I know I still do)...but it's never going to be with the same innocence, fervour, and wonderment as when you were young. And now there you are...gazing upon your kids; the reflection of the doorstep jack-o-lanterns twinkling in their eyes, their quickening gait as they try to outrace the other kids to the door, and the sheer, unbridled passion only a new Halloween costume and the prospect of copious free candy can give a kid...and you can't help but reflect back to those carefree days of your youth and wonder how they went past so quickly.

Twenty years seem like ages when you're a kid - but are, in reality, a blink of the eye when you, yourself...much later...look back. That thing my mother always told me WAS true: "Before you know it, Mariann...20 years will have gone by..." She would say it so many times and I always, always dreaded hearing it. Funny the things you remember - and the things you don't. I can remember her saying it, well...like it was just yesterday...

...but...one thing I'm not dreading - is turning into my Mother, like some people do theirs; you see, I always dragged my Mom around wherever I went - and she listened to Peter Gabriel, Genesis, U2, Yes...and yes, Adam Ant as well. And one thing's for certain, if she were alive today, I'd still be dragging her around town with me, laughing, shopping and driving all over the place while listening to what's on the radio. And...she'd probably want me to turn it off. But probably not for any reason you might think, but because, like Adam sings -- "That music's lost its taste - so try another flavour..." And, my mother would be the first to agree. It IS time to try something different from what they've been playing on the radio (at least in this town) lately.

So, c'mon everyone...play something new...even IF that "new" thing just so happens to have hit it big back in the 80s.

11 comments:

  1. Hello Mariann,

    This post popped up on my "Adam Ant" Google blog alert, and it was a joy to read!

    As a member of the staff at the Family of Noise (a site by Antpeople for Antpeople) I'd like to ask your permission to add your story to the Ant Writings in our site's Company of Art section (all with credits and links of course).

    It would really be a nice addition to the stories and essays we already have there, so let me know if you're interested?

    Thanks,

    Annet

    ReplyDelete
  2. Awww! What a beautiful write up! Very enjoyable to read indeed!

    Mariann, you have been an absolute joy to get to know and we are so very happy to have you with us... and completely honored to be your friend.

    *Big Hugs*

    AntKitty aka Brenda :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think I found that 10lbs you lost. Do you want them back?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hey! I kinda liked Duran Duran!
    ;-)

    Loved this!!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. This really brought me back to the 80's sort of reliving it with you.
    Great writing!
    Very glad you re-found Adam and thus, us!

    ReplyDelete
  6. that was a lovly read i enjoyed it

    ReplyDelete
  7. Mariann this is brilliant, I enjoyed reading it and it took me back. Loads of love catch you on Ants in your pants! xx Glitter xx

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thank you everyone for the lovely comments. Wish it were 1981 again. Boy, do I wish! :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. My dentist has a unique approach to treatment. Or perhaps, maybe a different approach to stress management... either way, it almost makes me look forward to a visit.

    What he's done is to install a nice set of fat, cushioned headphones to the 'Chair of Pain' so whist he is getting just all too danged familiar with the inside of your mouth, you're off in Xanadu (or wherever) listening to a number of themed channels.

    My favorite is actually a combination of nitrous-oxide and classic rock. My last time there, it was an ELO, Styx and Kansas concert...

    Imagine that!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Nice Blog Mariann . Kenny :-)

    ReplyDelete