Is it an artistic trend? Is it a nightmare? Is it just a moment of fun? Or, is it time to get a new haircut?
As covered in Festival News this week, there appears to be another decade coming back: time for the Retro 80s. The Associated Press reports on the beginning of a nostalgic trend in the arts and culture for all things so-1980s. (It is true that the current U.S. republican presidential candidates can’t stop talking about their ability to channel Ronald Reagan. In an even more bizarre echo, a fellow actor will soon join the race.) Is this a good thing?
What defines the 80s for the arts? Advertisers pushed the idea of “shop ’til you drop,” and Tom Wolfe countered by defining the times as the “splurge generation.” The phrasing of a “sound bite” was promoted by new “spin doctors.” The gaming industry gave us the low-tech Rubik’s cube, and the high(?) tech Pacman. MTV planted its flag, cats appeared everywhere, and turtles looked really silly.
Here’s a short sing-along reference:
- Everybody Wants to Rule the World (Tears for Fears)
- Goody Two Shoes (Adam Ant)
- Jenny 867-5309 (Tommy Tutone)
- 99 Luftballons (Nena)
- Rio (Duran, Duran)
- Stray Cat Strut (Stray Cats)
- Take On Me (Aha)
- Voices Carry (’til Tuesday)
- Walk Like an Egyptian (Bangles)
- Walking on Sunshine (Katrina & The Waves)
How about a short list of film highlights?
Surely, any decade that produced that work from the masters provides lots of inspiration for today’s work.
Then, again, maybe it’s best to ignore any retro-trend and just stay in the present tense to make the future work.
- Bill Reichblum