Sunday, July 6, 2008

Everyday is Like Sunday, Except for Blue Monday and Ruby Tuesday and...Well, Friday I'm in Love: Weekly Mix #24

I was a strange child. Well, that only figures since I'm a strange adult. However, one of the strangest things about me as a child was my keen sense of nostalgia and self-reflection. My first memory of this was New Years Eve 1989 - I was seven, but I knew the decade was changing, and I felt a profound sense of loss about never being able to return to the 80's. Time marched on and no one could ever go back, and that did a number on me as a child. The next time I panicked was when I turned ten - this time, I was keenly aware of the fact I could never go back to a single digit age. If anything, my tenth birthday was more traumatizing than my thirteenth, sixteenth, eighteenth, and twentieth, and it likely prepared me for all these other "landmark" birthdays. Perhaps I had an overdramatic outlook on life, or an overdeveloped romanticism, or maybe I was just bonkers. The best way to explain my emotional state when these changes occurred, changes which didn't even register with regular kids, is that it felt like leaving the movie theatre after the end of a particularly amazing film or watching the last episode of a television series you enjoyed for a long time, knowing it had to end, but also knowing you could never encapsulate that moment again. To combat all of these feelings, I think I tried to arrest my development for as long as possible. I never looked forward to growing up like other children did. I never felt like adults had it better or had more freedom - it's like I knew that being a child was the best time of my life before I even left it behind. The last time I felt unequivocally happy and satisfied with life was when I was eleven years old.

Adolescence was still a relatively naive time for me, but at the same time, I couldn't capture the unbounded creativity and self-assurance of my childhood - I had written three novels by the time I was fourteen, but then I stopped writing creatively until I was in my first year of university, and even then, I found it rather difficult. I was caught in a weird dichotomy of naivete and intellectual maturity, and I swung between the two like a pendulum throughout my teenage years. I entered my most embarrassing period of music for a couple of years in high school, following my friends' penchant for diabolical, vapid pop music of the worst kind, but at the same time, I penned the following poem at age fifteen:

Generation X

Indecision, indifference,
A bleak yet volatile combination.
Standing on the brink of nothingness,
Knee-deep in aromatherapy and pop culture.
Numbing from the coldness of society
Moving to the extremities.
Intellect maturing beyond experience
Futile, but articulate.
Pressure to be perfectly imperfect
Perhaps even cynicism is parried by apathy
A confused, deviant future
Labelled Generation X.
A variable without a common denominator,
Nevertheless, a variable that equates
The future.
A category derived by psychoanalysis,
Making a vain attempt to conceptualize people
Terming them as gothic rebels with a cause;
Excuses made for them, telling them what the inkblots mean;
In actuality, they are raging against the stereotypes
Searching for hope in a frantic world;
Varying, a spectrum of integrity,
as much as 'x' suggests,
Desperately clutching the receiver
listening to the busy signal
From a world that has hung up on them.

Whew. I hadn't even heard of Douglas Coupland at this point in my life. Nor was I even a member of "Generation X" - I missed that by a whole generation. I won fourth prize from the Poetry Institute of Canada for this little piece of poetry (my guess is the ones who actually won monetary prizes may not have been so bleak). Sufficed to say, I haven't really written poetry since.

Throughout my teens, my preemptive need for nostalgia and bizarre fear of the loss of cultural artifacts manifested itself in my compulsive documentation via video and audio cassette. I still have over a hundred videotapes of all sorts of things (interviews, music videos, television shows, movies, advertisements, etc., and I recorded tons of material off the radio at the time - even the stuff I didn't particularly like - with the rather odd feeling that I may want or need to listen back to it in the future - for the record, I don't think it's worth my time or my ears at this point...if anything, these tapes are a concrete document of the bad mainstream music scene of the late 90's and evidence for anyone who wants me sectioned). And I have a feeling no one, including myself, will be interested in VHS copies of the short-lived TV series Teen Angel. Maybe I should have taken anthropology in university instead.

I am getting to a point somewhere here, and not just to conclude that I was a cracker as a child and teenager. I decided to make a mix of music that either celebrates or encapsulates that feeling of being young. From those simple chords of Baba O'Riley that always make my heart pump faster to the wild vindication I feel listening to Stay Beautiful, this mix will attempt to catch that romantic notion of youth, whether as a child or an adolescent. That feeling that your whole life is still ahead of you and you still have so much potential to explore. That feeling that living fast and dying young is a brilliant idea. That feeling that things could never be this good again. I'm going to call it I Don't Wanna Grow Up. And yes, I realize I didn't include Teenage Kicks, but that was because I already posted that song in a previous mix, and that also goes for Whipping Boy's When We Were Young.

Eanie Meanie - Jim Noir

Childhood Memories - British Sea Power

Pumpkin Soup - Patrick Wolf

Sixteen - The Indelicates

Pretty Young Thing - Blondfire

So Young - Suede

One More Lie In - The Delays

Time to Pretend - MGMT

Baba O'Riley - The Who

Teenage Lust - The Jesus and Mary Chain

Stay Beautiful - Manic Street Preachers

The Prayer - Bloc Party

Antmusic - Adam and the Ants

You Were Young - The Associates

Once and Never Again - The Long Blondes

Alright - Supergrass

You! Me! Dancing! - Los Campesinos!

Burn Baby Burn - Ash

Teenage Thunder - Sigue Sigue Sputnik

Rebel Yell - Billy Idol


JC said...

Wow. I don't really know what to say as the words alone wont capture the effect reading that has had on me.

Suffice to say that I felt much the same as you when I was 15 back in the late 70s, but there's no way I could ever have articulated it like that.

" In actuality, they are raging against the stereotypes
Searching for hope in a frantic world;"

It was new wave music that saved me.....that and having an ability to escape into higher education rather than a job in a factory that was doomed to close just 3 or 4 years later thus ageing my friends prematurely as they worried about their futures what with the girlfriend/wife and one on the way....

You've inspired a posting at TVV.....

Darren said...

Aye, but what about Thursday?

Anonymous said...

You’ve described your experiences very evocatively. But I was thinking, you know, I think these experiences you describe are a boy thing. I don't know any women who have (or had) these feelings as they grew up: “That feeling that your whole life is still ahead of you and you still have so much potential to explore. That feeling that living fast and dying young is a brilliant idea. That feeling that things could never be this good again.” At least, I’ve never read any woan writing about that, or had any of my friends say anythign like that at all.

You know, like near the end of the Tom Hanks movie Big: little boy Tom says to grown-up lady Elizabeth Perkins, Come back & be a kid with me. And she says Oh no, no, I could never go through all that again.

anglopunk said...


I'm not sure how to respond, considering the fact I'm a female. It just proves to me yet again, that I don't fit nicely into gender boundaries. That's me, a square peg. I like to think the gender boundaries are the problem, mind.

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