Hubby Steve and I went to see the Black Crowes last week—Steve and the band have been tight since the late 80s and I came into the fold a few years later. We all stood around backstage, looking at each other, and somebody said, “How in the hell did this happen?” We’re all forty. Or older. I don’t feel forty. I don’t even think I feel thirty. People my age don’t drive around in their car listening to Superchunk, singing at the top of their lungs. But wait…those guys are getting old too (notice I used the word getting…I don’t want to bruise any feelings, especially not Jim’s…and have you heard the new record? It’s awesome!). I guess music keeps us young, because my mom friends and I were shocked when we figured out how old Rick Springfield is. Sorry, Rick—you still look great, babe.
I’ve been trying to decide when a person becomes old. We don’t want to describe ourselves as being old, although sometimes it’s fun, just to have someone say, “Oh, no. You’re not old.” Forty was the new thirty a few years ago. Now fifty is the new thirty. How about if we just come up with a new system? Like, you’re old when you can’t wear a tube top anymore. Oh, wait, that ship sailed a while ago.
Rob Sheffield is probably a genius. That’s no reflection on him that he’s only probably one, it’s just that I’m not qualified to say who is and who isn’t. What I can say, with certainty, is the reason why I think he’s probably a genius.
I loved his latest book, “Talking to Girls About Duran Duran”, because Rob manages to conjure the exact way it felt to be a teenager in the 80s. Some might think that would only take a mention of Frankie Goes to Hollywood and a Rubik’s Cube, but that’s not it at all. Rob was a guy growing up on the east coast and I was a girl growing up in the Midwest, and yet he perfectly captures the essence of adolescent experiences during the age of day-glo and rubber bracelets.
When he talks about wishing he could have been the one male member of the Go Go’s, I totally related. Of course, there could be a male member of the Go Go’s and of course, Jane Wiedlin would fall in love with him. I used to wish that I would be called up on stage to replace a suddenly ill Belinda Carlisle so that I could be the lead singer. A boy once told me at a Suburbs show (Mpls band, for those of you who don’t know) that I looked like Belinda Carlisle. I was sure that meant he was in love with me. I’ve since wondered if that was 80s boy code for “you’re a tad pudgy”.
I annoyed everyone in the house when I read Sheffield’s description of Journey’s “Separate Ways” video—I was laughing too hard to even explain it. The chapter about being the ice cream man is wonderful and I couldn’t help but be touched by the chapter about The Replacements. There are also some tender moments—enough to make you cry, especially the parts about his grandfather.
Highly recommended—won’t make you cringe over all of the stupid things we did or the clothes we wore. Quite to the contrary, it will make you realize that you were lucky if you grew up in the 80s.