Youth is an unstoppable force of excitement and adventure; an explosive concoction of never ending potential and fierce rebellion. A melancholy stage for angst, first loves as well first heart breaks. But at the same time it’s this whirlwind of uncertainty that makes being young such an unbelievable experiences and thus for this same reason youth needs an unbelievable decade to harness its full potential. But what would said decade need; well fist pumping music and big stars singing exactly what’s in our hearts, great fashion that can fully express our craving for individuality, films to act like mirror to all the vanity of adolescences and technology to make us feel smarter than our parents. Quiet a daunting job description right? And sure plenty have applied for the best decade to grow up in; the 50’s had the excitement of Rock n Roll. The 60’s had flower power and whole lot of sex and drugs. The 70’s had the best decade for cinema. Forget the 90’s because they sucked. The 2000s had social networking and YouTube and the 2010’s are still in its dipper so doesn’t get to sit at the adults table just yet. But despite whatever the other decades say, boasts or brag about; for me there was one outstanding applicant; the 80’s, period!
Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince, AC/DC, Duran Duran… need I say more? The 80’s were blessed with some of history greatest songs; ‘Beat it’, ‘Purple rain’, ‘Like a virgin’, and phenomenal, legendary artists to sing them. So just imagine how great it would have been, to be young and have your ears serenaded or your neck hurting from all the head banging, to the likes of the King and queen of pop; Michael Jackson and Madonna at the peak of their godly powers. The 50’s started of the trend of teens having their own music away from jazz and swing of the parents, but it was only until the 80’s that music truly became engrained in the very essence of what it was to be young. Have you ever heard of something called MTV? Silly questions, which would be like me asking you, have you ever heard of sunshine and oxygen; well to be fair MTV did eventually become the sunshine adolescence needed bring light into their lives and the oxygen they breathed to keep them going. Not only did MTV introduce to the world artists they never heard of, it also introduced to them the concept of music videos, allowing us to practically invite musicians to our homes through are TV screens. If it wasn’t for MTV and music videos something like Youtube would have merely become a grave yard site full of cat videos resigned to the murky depths of the internet.
While songs like Whitney Houston’s ‘Saving all my love for you’ filled us with new thoughts, feeling and perspectives, 80’s fashion provided the ideal means to express them; and with ripped jeans, jean jackets, jumpsuits, miniskirts and leather pants, it certainly expressed them with style! People usually associate the 80’s with a chaotic mess when it came to its fashion, whilst always pointing at the absurd neon bright clothing and tacky power suits with the mountain high shoulder pads as the main tacky culprits. Sure in hindsight it’s difficult to disagree, but that’s only from the retrospective vantage point of the 21st century. However if we were actually there, those clothes had completely different meanings and connotations; simply put the outlandish, in your face expectations of 80’s clothing meant that adolescence of the period could express themselves in a wacky and out there as possible and as a result feel like they were the artist and their bodies were the canvas. And care I remind you that the 80’s gave birth to the leggings courtesy of the silly yet iconic film Flashdance’s, and seriously were would 2010’s teen wardrobe be without their trusty pile of leggings.
Okay so when it comes to films, no one can even begin to beat or even parallel what the 70’s did for cinema; The Godfarther, Apocalypse now, Rocky, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, so in terms of art and cinema look no further that the 70’s. However like I mentioned before, sure Flashdance was silly, but it damn was it iconic! Who didn’t attempt a wind mill on their beds after watching the film? But that’s what the 80’s did best, it wasn’t about the art, it was simply about creating iconic films, which last with you for a life time. I dare you to watch Back to the Future, Dirty Dancing, Teen Wolf and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and not get struck with a bad case of nostalgia. The 80’s taught us that film not only could it be fun and thrilling again, but with every film John Hughes did; Pretty in Pink, The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller’s Day off, that film can understand what it is to be young better than any other art form, better than the government and even better than our parents. 80’s films spoke directly to the hearts of young people, because it empathised with the angst of adolescence better than any other decade.
Just like with the creation of MTV, the 80’s was a decade that nourished the seeds of innovations until they blossomed with ground breaking technology; and like bees and honey, we couldn’t get enough of them. Every Christmas, kids drag their parents into stores everywhere with the eager excitement over Playstations and Xboxes and various games they had to offer; GTA, Little Big Planet, Fifa, Modern Warfare. However if it wasn’t for Nintendo and that charming little yellow blob with a predilection for white pixels, there would be no games industry! Because the 80’s with its Legend of Zelda, Donkey Kong and Super Mario, was the decade that ignited the love affair with gaming enjoyed at first with nerd kind everywhere, however it would go on spread to consume the whole world.
Youth; a collection of wonderful, magical all to fleeting moments; that the 80’s did well to bring towards a euphoric high and solidify its status as possible the greatest time of your life. The 80’s made left you feel special and that the entire world danced to the sound of your heart beat. Where everything you said and felt truly mattered. Where every single song lyric uttered by iconic musicians spoke directly to your soul; film weren’t trying to chase artistic status, but instead focused unfurling your every dreams in Technicolor splendour and communicating to you in words and emotions you understand. The 80’s made it more than okay if you wish to spend entire evenings running through open fields until the sunset without a care in the world. Youth; yet we spend the entirety of it trying to escape its grasps, however once we’re out, we spend the rest of our life time looking back at it fondly and wishing to once again bask in its immortal rays. On behalf of the 80’s your welcome.