Tuesday, September 21, 2010

'Thank You For The Music'.......even if it's 80s stuff

Turning 40 has its share of side effects…and no I am not referring to a hormone haze just yet. What I am talking about is a creeping obsession with music that marked one’s school and college-going years. Never mind that most of it – heck all of it – was either sentimental pap or worse, synchronized noise. To our 40-ish ears that’s the sound of being young. Not youth mind you, just us being young. And it never fails to hit the proverbial right chord.

Now I don’t pride myself on my musical taste. I am not one of those who can casually say ‘I like my music eclectic,’ and then proceed to quote everything from Japanese jazz to African beats to prove my point. Indeed I get spooked by such blatant display of musical machismo. At the best of times, I prefer ballad rock (Eagles etc) and at worst ABBA. (Oh yes, while I am at it, I might as well admit that hubby and I watched the musical AND followed it up with the film…and loved to tell the tale.)

But coming back to 40-something music, it takes a special kind of ear, conditioned by a generous dose of sepia-tinted sentimentality, to cheer anything that was written or composed during the 80s. For the true-blue aficionados, it was the dark decade. But for us, growing up with over-sized tees/sweat-shirts, baggy MC Hammer pants, neon jelly shoes, shoulder pads and blingy accessories, 80s music, like its fashion, is an acquired taste.

I realized that when I attended my husband’s college reunion party recently. The tony South Delhi pub graciously played ‘our kind of music’ all through the evening and the crowd, all class of mid to late 80s, were on their feet, swinging and jiving to ‘You drive me cra-yey-yey-zy’! I was so inspired by the music that evening – given that on most days I can’t make head or tail of the lounge/techno stuff most pubs play these days – that I scribbled down my version of the top 20 all-time favourites from our generation. I think most 40-somethings will more or less agree to my list. If you don’t, please feel free to add your own…And hey don’t feel apologetic…so what if George Michael is now a junkie jailbird…back then, he was WHAM….

So here goes, in no particular order….
1.Sussudio/Another Day in Paradise: Phil Collins
2.Every Breath You Take: Police
3.Billie Jean: Michael Jackson
4.Uptown Girl: Billy Joel
5.Girls Just Wanna Have Fun: Cyndi Lauper
6.Eye Of The Tiger: Survivor
7.Total Eclipse Of The Heart: Bonnie Tyler
8. Walk Like An Egyptian: Bangles
9.Everybody Wants to Rule The World: Tears for Fears
10.Sweet Dreams Are Made of These: Eurythmics
11.Nikita: Elton John
12.Careless Whisper/Wake Me up: WHAM
13.Material Girl/Papa Don’t Preach: Madonna
14.Mamma Mia/Dancing Queen: ABBA
15.You Drive Me Crazy: Shakin’ Stevens
16.I Just Called to Say I Love You: Stevie Wonder
17.Hello: Lionel Ritchie
18.Lady in Red: Chris De Burgh
19.Right Here Waiting: Richard Marx
20:Dancing In The Dark: Bruce Springsteen

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

It's raining men? Nah!

Girls love to talk about men. In our impressionable years, its about the ones we snagged and those that got away, boo hoo. When we're in our 40s, it's about the ones we are aiming to snag for a favourite niece, younger colleague, cousin...(we're still too young to matchmake for our daughters so I'll let that be) and occasionally ourselves. Jane Austen was right, with some minor editing. Every young man in possession of his wits and a certain undecipherable charm currently called the 'cool quotient,' must be in need of a girl friend!

I should know. I plead guilty to this form of sexual harassment. For years I have tried to get a close single friend paired off, to every conceivable and some inconceivable candidates in our vicinity. Fortunately she's still gloriously single and about to turn 40 this month. Which should tell you something about my track record. It isn't great. But when did that stop Emma, pray?

My latest victim is my comely 25-year-old niece. I use her as much for a demographic study of her race (20-something inhabitants of youngistan) as to occasionally hone my skills as matchmaker. She loathes, in no specific order:
-Funny accents..namely those who turn opportunity to awe-ppaur-tunity and content to cun-taint
-Guys who think Stephen Spender is a management writer but can't quite place the how-to book he wrote (pardon her, she's an Englit type, she knows not what she wants)
-Shabby shoes, dirty toenails
-Bong men (except when they are family but then she doesnt have to date 'em)
-Conversations that begin with dude, babe and other similar endearments
-Men dripping brands
-Men who can't laugh at themselves and at her jokes
And finally...BOYS...too cute for their own good.

If a casual glance down that list makes you despair, imagine my plight. Only I realise our gen wasnt all that different in our men talk either. One close friend liked smart talk, another, a whacky sense of humour..as for me I had (and still retain) a weakness for the bespectacled of the species. My single friend likes 'em strong and silent. And a favourite cousin likes hers metrosexual -- pink shirts, peace beads, earrings, et al...So each gen to their gents...and as Aisha has proved at the boxoffice, sometimes even the best-plotted scripts go awry. I should know...I am guilty of that too.

What hasn't changed in 15-odd years, though, is how much time girls spend talking about guys...those in their lives, those out of their lives, those in and out of their lives. And then there is the eternal love for the artistic type (guys, if you can sing, strum a guitar, splash some paint on the canvas or generally act dark and brooding as sensitive souls are wont to do, you're in clover). Not to mention the disdain for 'safe guys'. Heck even Deepika Padukone sniggered at a 'safe' Farhan Akhtar...who in their right mind would want a square squire? Till, you actually walk down the aisle with one, you'll probably do a Padukone.

But the most enduring complaint of all times is, 'Where did all the good ones go?' My niece says the sexiest ones are 'older' and 'mostly taken'. My friends, the single ones that is, say the same. When we were doing the dating drill, we said pretty much the same thing. Moral of the story: It hasn't rained men in a long long time....' 

Maybe they all took a one-way ticket to Mars...