TV consisted of only a few shows back then and all of them were for grown-ups, so we”d trade VHS tapes through the mail. Everything from GBH live in Dublin to Senator Budd Dwyer blowing his head off would be available to buy or trade next to a ratings system explaining how many times it had been dubbed. Our hub was a newsprint magazine called Maximumrockandroll that provided names and addresses of other fans around the world. We”d record the few albums we thought worthy and send them all over the world in exchange for someone else’s finds. I sent Nick in Bristol a rare NJ band called Sand in the Face and he sent me a recording of Ipswich’s The Stupids.
You also made mix tapes for yourself which would eventually be so good they could be used for courtship, but you can”t send a girl a cassette where “Secret 77″ by Bad Brains gets cut off on the first side. You also can”t have three fast songs in a row with no break. If you made a mistake, you had to record the entire mix tape again from scratch.
See, that’s the thing about youth culture back then. Like homosexuality today, it was a huge pain in the ass. People my age enjoy glorifying the struggle, but you don”t build character by making pop culture inconvenient. Music and fashion (and sex and drugs”which I didn”t get into because they haven”t changed that much) are pretty much all that teenagers have. Have you heard them talk about politics? They sound like women.
I asked an intern recently why he couldn”t name more than two Clash songs. He explained that he grew up with Napster and then MySpace and now iTunes and Spotify. There was no need to dig through the vaults because everything he needed was right there. Good! Fuck The Clash. Stop glorifying records. Punk may be dead but when you include all the Mexicans buying punk T-shirts from their local Hot Topic, there are more punks than ever.
The youth today aren”t flawless. They”re lazy. I blame the boomers for this. They gave all teenage jobs to illegals, helped dilute education to nothing, and then encouraged their kids to go deep into debt getting a BA in LGBT Issues in Modern Sci-Fi. Of course their kids moved back home.
Technology builds jobs. The good old days weren”t that good. In fact, they sucked. The only thing I want my kids to endure in the list of gripes above is the part-time job I needed to make my $20 in the first place. That’s what matters. I’m glad for all the new technology. I hated vinyl. The stupid rigmarole I had to go through to have fun wasn”t nearly as character building. Jobs build character. The only good thing about the good old days was that we had to work.
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