Acceptable in the 80s

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I’m really envious of people who write blogs – they like to share, they like to unburden, they like to reveal themselves.

I won’t be doing that.

Instead I want to pretend I have my dream job of being a record reviewer for a music mag. So indulge me.

For years,  I kept notes about chart positions and wrote little commentaries about what I thought of new records. I never did it for anything but my own amusement – doubtless believing that Melody Maker would just come and find me and I would be editing the paper.

Then I decided all these years later to perhaps share this strange habit with the outside world and set up my own review site. I fully imagine you have better things to do but if you do drop by – thank you.

So I am going to talk about the music I’m listening to or re-listening to, if I’m to be more accurate. But I don’t want to write about what’s new and what’s cool – I wouldn’t even know where to start.

I want to talk about stuff we’ve forgotten.

I am a sucker for a digital remaster, a bonus disc of extras or a deluxe box set and now the world is full of opportunities to buy things I already own, but in a far more expensive format – and I do. Every single time.

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Perhaps it’s because I am currently living and working in Japan that I have finally decided to write about this compulsion. Because here is the home of the beautifully packaged reissue and why not share some of the unearthed treasures I’ve been finding.

I don’t have a problem with the way that people consume music these days and I am not going to launch into some sad old diatribe about downloading. I download – not much, but I do.

I just prefer to go out and buy a physical product. Always have done. And in days of yore, that included vinyl of course and the now thrown aside cassette.

Although even I’m not old enough for the 8 track cartridge.

Buying music in the 80s was a really exciting thing to do. A new album was heralded weeks ahead and if it was something you all wanted, there was kudos in being the first to own a copy.

You might have queued outside Our Price or HMV or the Virgin Megastore to get hold of a new release on the day they took delivery and the excitement of taking it home and listening for the first time could rarely be beaten. You would tune into Top Of The Pops or The Tube religiously just to see what was going on. If you were somewhere that piped in MTV you could stay transfixed for hours. You’d read all about the latest launches in Smash Hits or the NME or, my personal favourite, Record Mirror.

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Music was really important to me (and many like me) and there were lots of ways in which the excitement was hyped. A video premiered on Channel 4 at midnight perhaps; 24 hour Whistle Test Marathon; a live appearance on Thursday’s Top Of The Pops; or an exclusive live performance on The Roxy.

Crikey! I even remember the first issue of Q.

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Honestly, I am not saying that it’s no good nowadays, it’s just sometimes good to remember what made (my) life really exciting back then. Music really was just that. You were defined by your taste and I was certainly wanting it to define me.

It might be the onset of a second childhood but I’ve started to enjoy it all over again with all of these wonderful reissues. And frankly, I love CDs. Remember when they launched and they told you they were indestructible and you could spread jam on them and they would still play. That was what I wanted the future to sound like.

Not that I would ever spread jam on a precious piece of recorded material. I won’t leave one out of its case for more than 10 seconds unless it’s in the player and I cannot bear a creased sleeve of liner notes…

So, if you’re interested, I shall be musing about albums and songs and bands with which I have been reconnecting. I’m not here to go over old ground with widely acknowledged classics or to dig up rare artefacts but to go back to some of those sounds that sold well, were heard everywhere and we all owned but simply never get round to playing now because we’re all supposed to like Kanye West or Clean Bandit and really… we just don’t.

Nick Heyward, The Pale Fountains,  or even Amazulu – Some of these pleasures will be hellishly guilty, I warn you. But try it – dig that box of albums out of the loft and give them another spin. You’ll be pleasantly surprised (not always – admittedly – but go with me).

The soundtrack will probably largely come from the 80s – why? well let’s just say back then I was probably a lot cooler than I am now.

You might say I was Acceptable In The Eighties. Thank you Brother Calvin!

Let’s delve.

Yrs Tony