Saturday, 29 January 2011

I am the bastard child of Thatcher, Reagan but most importantly Ridley Scott

I hate nostalgia. It's a wasted emotional throwback to something your mind is pissing about with. It wasn't better then, things weren't more fun, it's just your mind reminding you that initial endorphin rush wears off. But, in the spirit of nostalgia, I want to place my flag in my sand.

The Eleventies had the great war. The twenties had a 'my God we survived, let's enjoy it before the next one'. The thirties had 'something is brewing, let's invent burlesque', the forties had the Dunkirk and Blitz spirit, the fifties never had it so good, the sixties never had it so revolutionary, the seventies, err, bless them for putting up with the seventies. But the Eighties.....

I was 11 when the Eighties started and 21 when it finished. I went from bucked tooth child-prodigy to long-haired society hater in all of ten years. I understood death, life, discovered computers, watched as a generation had no limitations on what they could achieve as long as it was drenched in money and champagne but came of age just in time to catch a financial wave downwards.

But more importantly I grew up when Sci-Fi finally hit its stride. Sure, Star Wars was '77, but Empire was all 80's. As was Blade Runner, Robo-cop, Star Trek - Next Gen (yes, I was a HUGE trekker, I could name all the episodes, knew all the trivia, drew Starships in the margin of all my school textbooks, I was SuperNerd), Outland. It was a time when Sci-Fi reflected and amplified the shitty fear of death that we all lived under.

Oops, slipped up. See, the Eighties had some serious background radiation going on, quite literally, thanks to the super-powers and a life changing piece of television called 'Threads'.

If you can see that word and not feel a ripping pain of terror slice down your backbone, feel your bladder go cold and see, in your mind, the sight of a milkman burning on a doorstep as everything around him is consumed in fire, then you are not a child of the Eighties.

See, Sci-Fi had some raw edges back then. I'm not complaining, I still get a hard-on at the site of a mushroom cloud, which is so not right for SO many reasons, but I don't resent it. Threads left me scarred for life, and you know what - I'm happy it did.

Sci-Fi back then didn't deal with all this 'greater good' bullshit. It came from a time of decadence, but a time that was born from the potential ashes of M.A.D., and that made everything so sweet and so poignant, because every moment you lived could be wrought with the sound of the ten minute warning, telling you of the incoming Russian missiles.

So, now we live in the frankly boring times of the 21st century, let's raise a glass to Red Storm Rising, to Blade Runner, to every goddam piece of fiction written by Phil K.Dick, to edgy sci-fi that cut to the bone and exposed the soul to the impending cooking effect of gamma radiation.

Nostalgia sucks, but I miss the Eighties. Fearing death every day makes you appreciate what you have when you have it.

We are a blessed and cursed society, both by the same thing. Comfort, safety and boredom. Oh, and go watch 'Stalker'. It's Russian, it's Sci-Fi, and it will blow your mind.

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