Sunday, June 05, 2005

40 Watt Years
When somebody mentions, "Hey, remember the 80's?" I remember the usual things: synthpop, John Hughes films, Ocean Pacific and JAMS shorts, etc, etc, etc. But I also remember a different 80's, an earlier, poorly-lit 80's - an 80's that was more like the 70's. I remember our house had really large heavy wooden furniture. Lamps had thick fabric lampshades that tended to glow rather than shed light and cast helpful illumination. In fact, it seemed like everything was illuminated with a 40 watt bulb - even streetlamps (fewer then than today) were useless and lacked candlepower. There seemed to be a lack of shiny things though there was no lack of chrome. Most cars had a flat matte finish rather than the gloss coats that today's cars gleam with. Everything looked drab, dusty, and covered with dirt. I remember far more house with chipped paint jobs than what you see today. And if I remember correctly, it appeared that bolts of paisley curtains hung everywhere.

I sort of miss those days - that dark and lived in look. You can't escape the newness of today - constant home improvement; roads full of brand new cars partially due to popularity of lease programs; the phenomenal attention put into stylish and modern looking industrial design. Things have a clean bright look - even wood accents at places like Starbucks and Panera shine with a just-waxed finish. No way did you see this back in the early 80's. Oddly enough, you can still get a sample of the way things were - just go to a House of Pizza that hasn't updated itself. You tend to see a lot of dusty wooden banisters and accents everywhere. You will be hard-pressed to find a hint of Burnt Sienna anywhere in the place.

My impression of things may be explained by the darkness of memory - memories from childhood. It may also be simple nostalgia for a different time. Its sort of wild just to think about it though. Man, how did we get by back then?


At 11:50 AM, Anonymous Mrs. Rants said...

I know exactly what you are talking about. It is sort of like when you watch a movie or TV show from the 70s and think, "Was everyone that ugly in the 70s?"

At 2:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the sound in the movies of the 70's. think of a person walking on concrete in hard-soled shoes...


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