In Love with the 80s

If you had the choice of re-living your childhood and teenage years, and could choose the particular decade during which to enjoy them… would you? And which decade would you choose?

Baccombed wild hair, puffy tulle skirts, pink scrunchies, men wearing heavy make-up, others stroking screeching guitars as though they were lovers, skintight leather trousers, shoulder-padded blazers, bubblegum and legwarmers. No it’s not a drag-queen’s parade – it’s the 80s!

Ever since I can remember, I have always been in love with the 80s. The movies, the video games, the music, the pop-culture, the anime, the clothes (especially the Madonna phase)…. Taking into account that I was born in the mid-80s, and therefore don’t remember a thing about actually living during this decade, since I was a toddler at the time, this kind of retro-nostalgia might not be understandable to others. After all, why yearn for slower services, archaic I.T, and vanilla sitcoms right? Still, when I look at the ingenious convoluted plots of 80s movies, as opposed to the boring recurring tropes featuring semi-nude women, sex scenes, car chases and gratuitous violence… without a shred of innovation or creativity, presented to viewers today, it is no wonder I end up re-watching old 80s, and sometimes 90s films over and over again.

And what to say about the music? David Bowie, Queen, Siouxie and the Banshees, Black Sabbath, Def Leppard, Madonna, Guns n Roses, Van Halen, AC/DC, Twisted Sister, Whitesnake, Kiss, Scorpions, Eurythmics… need I go on? Who do we have now? Justin Bieber? Miley Cyrus? Kanye West? Oh please…

I don’t doubt that there are great and talented artists out there. But does today’s entertainment culture give them prominence as it should? I’ll leave you to answer that yourselves shall I?

Two days ago, I finished reading Cline’s amazing book ‘Ready Player One’. And it was a blast. The movie? I liked it and watched it twice… before I had actually read the novel. Now? Let’s say I think I’ll be considering the movie and the novel as two separate entities, rather than one. Yes, the movie does derive from the book, BUT apart from holding to the mostly-right cliche that ‘The book is always better than the movie’, I have to say that the characters, plot-lines, adventures and contents of the movie vs book itself are vastly different. And yes, the book is much better. Especially if you are a sucker for the 80s like me. And a movie-geek. And love video games. And are an otaku. And a geek. And a nerd.

I think you’ve realized by now that even though I finished reading the book more than 48 hours ago, I am still MASSIVELY HYPED UP about it.

Time to listen to some good 80s music and re-watch ‘Back to the Future’ or ‘Bladerunner’!

Epic-Fantasy Nerd Moment

Ever since I picked up ‘The Sword of Shannara’ around 8/9 years ago, I’ve had this naggy feeling about it. The novel (I admit I hardly managed to finish the first one) was a complete copy (minus the good writing that is) of Tolkien’s ‘LOTR’ and nothing more. Enter the usual metaphorical nerd-grumbling in my head. I researched online and asked about it and everyone seemed to have enjoyed reading it, not to mention staring blankly at me when I criticized it as being a Tolkien-wannabe.

Flash-forwards to a week ago, where suddenly someone I know commented negatively on Terry Brooks and his plagiarism. Miraculously, I could hear a chorus of angels singing ‘Halleluljah’ in soprano and treble. Someone else with a brain!

Then this morning, I stumbled on this – http://www.newstatesman.com/2015/05/neil-gaiman-kazuo-ishiguro-interview-literature-genre-machines-can-toil-they-can-t-imagine  !!

An interview with the MASTER Neil Gaiman who while describing said books said ‘And then you had people like Terry Brooks, who wrote a book called The Sword of Shannara, which was essentially a Lord of the Rings clone by somebody not nearly as good, but it sold very well.’…. YES YES EXACTLY!! THANK YOU!!images (1)

Sorry Mr Brooks, I know I’m not a great book-selling writer, but REALLY… I’m a reader and in this case, that’s what matters, since it is people like me who are the most qualified to actually say whether they enjoyed your work or not.

Anyone who wants to read the whole interview – it is really brilliant, though quite long 😀

I Read therefore I AM

Each year, goodreads (which is an excellent website for keeping track of what you read, not to mention reading comments and opinions about books) organizes a GOODREADS CHALLENGE in order to promote reading and show readers how to value their reading time more. It’s pretty simple, you go on the website, you click on the challenge link on the homepage, and you just set a target for yourself. For example, my target is to read 50 books by the end of the year.

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To be honest, I am kind of ashamed of myself. 50 books??? I used to read a book a day!!! SERIOUSLY, my reading quota is one page per minute! And no I AM NOT JOKING! I m not a bookworm, I’m a book devourer.

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Yes, I used to read 1 book a day, and I’m not talking about paltry 200-pagers here, no ‘young adults’ claptrap for me, I’m talking about the 400-600 epic fantasy tomes by the likes of Terry Brooks and Brandon Sanderson. The emphasis, however, is on the USED TO. I USED TO have the time… before I started working full time, before I started living in my own place, and before I got in a serious relationship. Life-wise, these changes are obviously very important for me as an individual, however the VERY UGLY TRUTH is that everything comes at a price, and the price of monetary self-sustenance, freedom, and love, is having less time to read. Before, I used to read a book a day, now I’m fortunate if I can manage a book per week 😦 And I try sooo damn hard too! I read while I’m on the bus, I read during break at work (when I have any), I read while I’m on the toilet, I read before I go to sleep, I read while my bf plays ps4, I read in the car when there are longish drives… and still…

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So, to be on the safe side, taking into account evenings out, festivities, holidays abroad (already booked and payed for 2), sickness, etc, and that one year has 52/3 weeks, I set my target to 50 books this year. *sigh* I want to bang my head against the wall whenever I look at that in writing, but there it is.

I wonder, will I manage to surpass that? Am I being too pessimistic? I’ve already finished two books since the beginning of the year, but to be honest, the first one was already half done when it started, and the year started with a long weekend too, so I had quite a bit of free time. We’ll see how it goes. Maybe I’ll be posting again about it in 3/4 months saying I had been too hasty in my 50-book bet, and that I had already achieved it. Fingers crossed!!

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