Someone Somewhere in Summertime
By Le Clown.
There’s a window letting the humid July air in, and a Purple Rain poster on the wall. Around the room, comic books, G.I. Joe figurines, and an impressive collection of vinyls lying on the floor: Tears For Fears, U2, Thompson Twins, and eight LP records by Simple Minds. I’m sitting in Patrice’s room under his bunk bed with my best friend Valerie, wearing a Ralph Lauren Polo long-sleeve pink shirt, a pair of white Lacoste baggy pants rolled-up to my ankles, and Penny Loafers shoes complete with an American penny inserted in the slit of each shoe. I sport the Andrew McCarthy St.Elmo’s Fire hairdo, but inside this 14 year-old boy burns the spirit of John Bender.
Every record in the room is borrowed from a vinyl shop owned by Patrice’s father. It’s a tiny two-room store where vinyls cover the walls, organized alphabetically by band names. We’re granted five records each per visit, and because of John Hughes and The Breakfast Club, we only care about mainstream New Wave music. Patrice and I dress alike, whereas Valerie has an edge, a stylish haircut, and better taste in music. She is lukewarm to Don’t You (Forget About Me). In her opinion, fans of Simple Minds should spend more time listening to New Gold Dream and Sons and Fascination. And because Valerie has an edge, a stylish haircut and better taste in music, I agree with her… even though I listen to Don’t You (Forget About Me) when I am alone with John Bender.
Side one of Sparkle in the Rain is spinning on Patrice’s turntable and cassette duo deck. We insert the compact audio tape into the cassette deck to convert the ten songs for our portable Sony Yellow Sports Walkman player. It isn’t neurosurgery, but it is a delicate operation. Valerie holds the phono cartridge and gently drops the metal needle to graze the vinyl surface without a scratch, while I push down the “Play” and “Record” buttons together. Jim Kerr’s voice will soothe your teenage angst, murmurs John Bender. On this breezy 1985 summer day, Valerie drops the needle, once, twice, all afternoon long, aiming for aural divinity:
“One, two, one, two, three, four…”
…And the sound of Mel Gaynor‘s crashing drums. Adolescence was recording.
Inspired by Up on the Catwalk.
Walking Down 8th Street
By Madame Weebles.
Almost every weekend we hung out in the Village. First we’d stop at Tower Records, where we spent as much time scoping out the hot guys as we did looking through the records. I always went in reverse alphabetical order, lingering at my usual landmarks: U2, Tears for Fears, Squeeze, The Smiths, REM, Echo & the Bunnymen, Depeche Mode, The Cure, and Elvis Costello.
Then we’d head a few blocks north to 8th Street. We’d start at St. Mark’s Place, at Trash and Vaudeville, and make our way over to Sixth Avenue, weaving in and out of the all the vintage clothing stores, record stores, poster shops, and grungy pizza joints.
For a few months in 1985, you’d hear the same song over and over, blasting from cars and store speakers.
Don’t you…forget about me…
I had the wild hots for one of the guys who worked at Postermat. He had a ponytail, little round John Lennon glasses, and an earring. I’d think of all kinds of stupid questions just to have an excuse to talk to him. He must have thought I was a moron. I didn’t really care.
Won’t you come see about me
I’ll be alone, dancing, you know it baby
At the wise old age of 17, I already knew this experience was special. Not just because I’d be a teenager only once, but because there was something about this time, on 8th Street. We were too late for the punk heyday of the 70s but this era, the 80s, was going to be big too. So many genres converging…the punk rocker types with mohawks and safety pins through their ears, the club kids, the preppies, the jocks, the popular girls with the ultra-trendy clothes…
…and the ones like me and my friends. We had classic 80s hair, clothes, and accessories. We had Frankie Say Relax t-shirts and pins with the peace symbol and messages like I Read Banned Books. We had posters of U2 and the cover of the Clash’s London Calling with Paul Simonon bent in half on stage, ready to smash his bass to bits. But we didn’t fit into a particular category.
Will you recognize me
Call my name or walk on by?
Each of us was a brain, and an athlete, and a basket case, and a princess, and a criminal.
Inspired by Don’t You (Forget About Me).
Prompt: What are your favourite memories of adolescence, or the year 1985?
Artwork created for this post by Sophia Fredriksson.