My daughter and I had a lovely time seeing the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang musical last night. On the way back we were listening to a radio station, playing ’80s and ’90s party hits. I commented that every Sunday, all the kids would listen to BBC Radio 1to hear the top 40 countdown and it would be the one thing that would lift that ‘back to school tomorrow’ feeling. I described how exciting it was, waiting to find out if the record you’d just saved up for and bought, had made it to number 1. I told her about Top of the Pops on a Thursday night and the emergence of music videos; how my friends and I would make up dances and perform them for our very patient parents.
Now I assumed every generation thought theirs was the best time to be young but Immy surprised me by saying that it sounded a lot more fun in the ’80s. She said it seemed like things were simpler. They were. At the risk of sounding dusty and crusty, I think it was easier to get a little excitement. There was a lot that was new and not everything was always accessible, including our friends. We weren’t constantly in touch with them, so seeing them was interesting – we had stuff to talk about when we hung out. Even as an adult now, I know what my friends are doing, even if I’ve not seen them, for weeks.
Are we missing the simple pleasures? Have they been superceded by our theme park lifestyles? Do you ever experience delicious highs and lows on the same level as waiting for the release of the latest Duran Duran album only to have to wait another agonising three weeks to get enough money to buy it?
I do feel a little sad for Immy and her peers because despite their mass of possessions and access to a world that was only just beginning to exist 30 years ago, they don’t have to wait for much. Without the anticipation, is the thrill ever the same?