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Déjà-vu

12/04/2007 - par Mark Tungate

My life is being recycled. When I first started working, in the late 1980s, everybody's idea of nostalgia was the 1960s. Now, twenty years on, I'm being forced to confront the fact that the 1980s have become the good old days. In fashion, in films (like The Comeback, featuring Hugh Grant as a has-been pop star) and in the music played in clubs and restaurants, the Eighties are being repackaged as a carnival of kitsch - which of course they were.

But the Eighties were also a crucial period for me : the era in which I became a grown-up, got a job, got laid... My adult self came into focus against a backdrop of floppy fringes and pleated trousers. Which is why I practically found myself weeping into my scrambled eggs when a ­medley of Eighties hits was being played over the sound system at breakfast in a New York hotel last week. Who'd have thought that a crap band like The Cutting Crew (I Just Died in your Arms ­Tonight) could be as powerful as Proust's madeleine ? I'm sure if I'd asked the staff they could have downloaded all the tunes onto my memory stick. The past as software, a bit like that Schwarzenegger movie... you know the one... what's it called ? Oh, yes : Total Recall. But to be honest, the 1980s were much more fun to live through than to recall. The repackaging retains the obvious but misses the subtleties. For instance, the hipsters of the period were not listening to Duran Duran, but to classic soul music. Even nostalgia was better in the old days.

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