Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Fun Boy Three, the 1980s and all that....

It's been a while - my blog has been sadly neglected during a very busy term, which is thankfully now over.

Yesterday I found myself in a strangely 1980s musical mood. I started off listening to Arcade Fire but was then overcome with an overwhelming urge to listen to the Fun Boy Three, Madness, The Jam, Iggy Pop, The Style Council and Eurythmics. I'm not ashamed - I enjoyed it and it's not even my favourite 80s music. The Fun Boy Three are great though, they look very dated if you watch their videos but they wrote great lyrics - I think Terry Hall is one of the most underated lyricists of our time.

There is something about 80s music - it must be the influence of the era. I sometimes wonder if the way I am is because I was a teen in the 80s - it has left me slightly cynical and a bit of a pessimist. Friends who were teens in the 70s seem to have a different outlook on life. The 80s was a bleak time especially politically. On the one hand there was a lot of frivolous stuff going on - lightweight music like Duran Duran and Wham, there were some ridicolous fashions (big hair, the bubble skirt!) and some people were getting rich quick. But on the other side of the coin there was the miners strike, race riots, the National Front were getting big, there was The Falklands War, mass privatisation, The Peace Convoy and the way they were hounded and finally beaten by the police in the infamous Battle of the Beanfield. It was a bleak time for young people too - there was massively high unemployment which was why some people went on the road - or like me went to live in a commune.

Out of this however did come some really great music, which wouldn't have existed without the backdrop of those times - UB40, The Specials, Fun Boy Three, Linton Kwesi Johnson, The Beat etc.

I saw a piece of graffitti recently that read "there's no point in voting, if it changed anything it would be illegal." I understood the sentiment, but I disagree - anyone who lived through the 1980s will tell you - things could be a lot worse.