Armagideon Time

This wreckage

December 12th, 2013

The 1980s as a decade began when the clock struck midnight on December 31, physician 1979, but the start of the “Eighties” as a consensual cultural-aesthetic concept is more difficult to pin down.

Was it kicked off by the sudden implosion of the disco fad and subsequent realignment of the pop music mainstream? Or was it marked by Reagan’s electoral victory and the widespread shift towards fiscal and social conservatism? And what about the launch of MTV and the concurrent revolution in consumer electronics?

Most cultural historians will tell you that there is no set answer to when the Eighties truly began, that our perception of the era is an aggregate construct formed from scores of overlapping events and trends, and that what we associate with the era is actually a matter of nostalgic density relative to each individual beholder.

Most cultural historians are wrong.

The Eighties began, without question or doubt, right here:

Kind of ironic, considering that Telekon marked the point where Gary Numan’s neon-radiant star waned from mainstream prominience (in the States, at least) back into the stuff of rabid cult fandom. Having stamped his indelible mark on the Bold New Era, he found himself eclipsed by a crowded field of folks who followed in his creative footsteps.

It also didn’t help that he left the post-Pleasure Principle singles “We Are Glass” and “I Die: You Die” off the LP.

Recommended listening: And this must please you.

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  2. Pick your future past
  3. One cheap illusion could still be divine

3 Responses to “This wreckage”

  1. Tim O'Neil

    Thank you for not insisting that the 1980s began when the clock struck midnight on December 31, 198o.

  2. bitterandrew

    There’s a special circle in hell for pedants. One where they are trapped in molten glass up to the neck with an oily rag stuck in the mouth while leering imps taunt them by not using “decimate” properly.

  3. Zeno

    Couldn’t agree more. I remember my mom getting me a K-Tel compilation called “Rock 80″, in that year, with “Cars” as the opening cut, and feeling like The Futureā„¢ I had long daydreamed about had just arrived within my own lifetime.

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