Tonight brings a free Pat Benatar/Debbie Harry concert at Coney Island, so I assume you’re going. In other 80s news, I bought a DVD of Krush Groove the other day, admittedly largely because the lovely Sheila E is in it, but it also inspired me to look up whether Run-DMC member Jam-Master Jay’s killers had been caught (sort of), which in turn led me to realize that one can spend a long, depressing time on Wikipedia just following links to all the hiphop folk who have apparently tried to kill each other at one time or another. Not all rappers are as harmless as Bert and Ernie.
(I, of course, am more of a New Wave guy — and tempted to buy the CD 80s Hits Stripped!, containing such acoustic wonders as a live version of “Metro” by Berlin. My own first New Wave album would be entitled I Am Unmanned: Like a Space Mission, and my later, less popular techno band will be called Hypnopatamus.)
Those tempted to think the 1960s was a better decade might want to consider reading Jonathan Leaf’s disillusioning book Politically Incorrect Guide to the Sixties, just out this week (he also happens to the be the conservative playwright I mentioned in an earlier entry who lives near a Manhattan block notorious for weekly confrontations between cops behind little barricades and drunk kids, albeit far more sedate ones than the oft-violent but rosily-recalled 60s saw).
My parents, neither hippies nor (at least back in the day) conservatives, once casually told me something that forever altered my perception of the 60s — and contributed substantially to my general suspicion of powerful media narratives: They said that for most people (and most people were never hippies, no matter what the documentaries might suggest), the 60s was a rather frightening time marked by riots and massive urban fires caused by arsonists. That doesn’t mean they think nothing good happened then, but it’s worth remembering it wasn’t all incense and peppermint.