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David Miller Online: The Return Of A Golden Age

David Miller Online:

The Return Of A Golden Age

Correct me if I am mistaken, but in 2002 the 1980’s appear to have returned. It would seem that the music of that decade is being heard more and more in nightclubs and bars throughout the country, Duran Duran have reformed and are back with their original line-up and every Sunday evening at 8.30 Miami Vice graces our television screens once again. Not everyone who reads this column will be enthusiastic about the return of the Eighties. For one thing many people were not born when Crockett and Tubbs shot their first drug dealer on the streets of Florida or when The Reflex hit number one in the charts. Maybe they lost the speedboat when their share portfolio went through the floor in the crash of ‘87 and don’t want to be reminded. Whatever the reason, the Eighties have returned and here is my guide for surviving them in the 21st Century.

The first thing to remember is that not everything that came from that decade was good and worth repeating. For example, Bros. Pastel and white colours have made a return however this does not involve wearing them with black shoes and white socks under a pair of jeans and when you don your grey shiny suit jacket do not turn the sleeves up halfway between your wrist and elbow. If you wore a suit back then it generally had to be a size too big and your tie as thin as possible. If you decided against the tie then a brightly coloured t-shirt would do nicely and a pair of boat shoes without any socks. Fortunately, changing times have meant that such fashion sense has remained buried along with Equiticorp and even the most die hard Eighties relics, i.e. my flatmates, have moved with them.

While the Eighties have not quite been revised in the fashion stakes, they have been making their mark on television. For so long we have had to endure soppy and painful teen coming of age dramas where the hero or heroine was forced to deal with the trying times of impending adulthood and dealing with all the emotional issues that this brings. Perhaps it may not have been so bad had there only been a few of these dramas about, but when this genre is forced to include aliens in the mix you know things are getting desperate. Sensing that the public was tiring of such crap, certain stations have begun to look what has gone before. I do admit that Knight Rider is total rubbish and that despite all the violence in the A Team no one seems to die, but Miami Vice is still compulsive viewing.

What makes Miami Vice such great viewing is the drama of the whole thing and the fact that it unashamedly displays wealth and hedonistic living. The entire show is about two Miami cops who try in vain to clean up the streets and struggle to reverse the seemingly never ending flow of Class A drugs into south Florida. They come into conflict with wealthy and powerful enemies such as “The Colombian” and “Captain Real Estate” and the whole image conveyed to the viewer is one of fast living, high rolling and decadence. They cruise the streets in a Ferrari and the opening and closing credit scenes display speedboats, expensive cars and nightclubs, all designed to reinforce this image.

Music had also heralded the return of the Eighties and hopefully we are beginning to see an end to the flow of manufactured boy and girl bands and bubble gum pop. Once again it goes back to the self indulgent, ‘I am in pain over a lost love” and “o how I need you now baby” nonsense that typified the last decade. Even now it still gets into the charts but one must admit that there is no soul to this music and this is why so many DJ’s are playing the sounds of the Eighties on their turntables and CD players. While visiting Auckland last weekend I went to some of the bars in Parnell and was amazed to hear all the old artists again, including Madonna, Irene Cara, Rick James and even Falco. What I liked best was that Nineties icon Billy Ray Cirus came on when the managers decided the bar was closing and that everyone had to leave.

In the politically correct Nineties, such hedonistic and decadent living was frowned upon. The desire to be rich, wear the latest fashion label across your chest and more importantly buy a bigger yacht than your neighbour vanished as rapidly as Goldcorp. All the style and panache of fashion and music was driven underground along with the fans of Poison, first by grunge then skateboard music and finally bubble gum pop. Perhaps this was needed to cure the hangover of the fast paced Eighties and to try and eradicate the memories of what was lost when the share-market fell in 1987 or maybe because we all got older and could not maintain the pace. Either way, the Eighties have returned and I will see you all at the Duran Duran concert.


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