Of all the decades I've lived in so far I hate the '80s most. I was too young to really be part of the '60s counterculture scene, but I was definitely aware of it. I knew who the Beatles were, I watched Laugh In and the Banana Splits (Dog Blog). I remember when Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King were assassinated within a month or so of each other, and Vietnam.
I didn't mind the first six or so years of the '70s. The '60s were kind of still happening then -- Nixon got impeached, the Vietnam War ended. But then disco arrived. That culture (or at least the white, straight homogenized version of it starring John Travolta, Karen Lynn Gorney and Deney Terrio, with a supporting cast of millions) wasn't really my style. I was into punk a bit, which helped, but I still felt pretty disconnected.
Then came the '80s. I don't really do materialism, so for me, they were a fucking waste. Politically, you had Reagan, Thatcher and Mulroney in power. And Devine was premier here. The Me Decade. Greed is Good. Evil Empire. Trickle Down. You Don't Say 'Whoa' in the Middle of a Mud Hole. The whole culture just saddened and sickened me.
Professional wrestling exploded in popularity. As did porn. And sports, big-time. The whole notion of spectacle. Excess. The '90s, conversely, were "lean and mean". I wasn't crazy about the mean part, which was mostly forced on us by all the raping and pillaging that occured in the '80s. But the lean part suited my personality to a T. I'm not a surface kind of guy. I don't like extraneous stuff. I like things stripped down, not polished and glammed up. Fresh. Raw. Authentic. That's what speaks to me. And the '90s were a decade of great growth for me.
The '00s are probably not yet far enough distant for me to assess them. There's been some promising stuff happen (or, at least, that's been proposed and has a reasonable chance of happening). But a lot of bad shit has happened too. That's similar to the '80s, but I'm better equipped to deal with it now. So, overall, the '80s are the decade I've hated the most.
If you've read Emily Zimmerman's excellent cover story in the Jan. 14 prairie dog you'll know that in the next eight days Regina is being visited by two bands which both rocketed to fame in the '80s. It's not fair to say that Guns 'n Roses (which plays Brandt Centre tonight) and Motley Crue (which hit Brandt Jan. 28) epitomize the '80s, but through their music and off-stage antics they definitely embody the ethos of the time.
As I write this, I'm actually still considering going to Guns 'n Roses. Motely Crue, though, outside of "Kick-Start My Heart", just doesn't do anything for me. To get the G 'n R crowd limbered up for tonight, here's video of the band from the '90s doing "Sweet Child o' Mine" (YouTube)
And if you're in the mood for something a little less raunchy tonight, but still in a musical vein, as part of Philosophy Cafe at Connaught Library at 7:30 p.m., U of R prof Bela Szabados will discuss Philosophy at the Music Hall.