I have just been browsing through some old Smash Hits magazines
from 1982 in an attempt to research a personal project that I'm trying to
pursue. 1982: I was 13 years old and it was the time I first discovered
the kabala of pop music. No longer was pop music just something you
heard on the radio it suddenly became something that was important.
It became a way of life, no it was more than a way of life, for me
it was a Bushido. Instantly, there was a strict code to adhere to,
there were things you did and things you didn't do. Through the
pages of Smash Hits coolness was at hand. It was simple you just had
to follow the instructions, like the bands that were cool, wear the
badges, have your hair cut a certain way. From out of nowhere there
suddenly appeared the way to deal with all the anxieties of upcoming
teenage life, and it was available to me, bi-monthly, for 38p.
Looking back at it now it all seems pretty laughable, well it was the
Eighties after all. But as funny as it all seems to me now, glancing back
through those pages, I can remember how important it all was and also
how much of what I experienced in those pages has made me, for
better or for worse, who I am today.
Pop music is linked with rebellion and free-thinking and doing things in
a new way but looking back now this really wasn't the case with Smash
Hits, or my 13 year old self for that matter. Of course all the above
played a part, but more important, I think, is the feeling of belonging,
but belonging on your own terms.
I think the main thing Smash Hits gave me was a sense of my own
integrity, there was a code to follow, but by following it through there was
a sense of achievement that I had not felt before, not in school and
certainly not at home.
Anyway reminiscing can be fun, it can show you how far you have
travelled or how little you have changed. Browsing the pages with
adverts, posters and reviews of yet to be superstars or now forgotten
has-beens is a great way to appreciate the context of your life now.
What amazes me the most while looking again at these pages is how
nothing ages faster than the new. Also how many of the adverts I
remember, like they were printed yesterday, especially the adverts for
the new technology of the time.
New technology is important, it means you are going somewhere. It
means you have a future. So just about 5 years after the Sex Pistols
extolled their nihilism in God Save the Queen
, here was TDK,The Human League
, and Panasonic showing us the opposite.
The future was going to be great and I wanted to be part of it.
So here are a few of the adverts for stuff that kept me moving, from the
marvellous "Music Muff" that I would never own, no matter how much I
lusted over it, to my first computer that got me here today.
The Music Muff!!! How cool is this??
TDK, home taping is killing music, don'tcha know??
In the days when pocket calculators were cool!!(??)
Wow! who wouldn't want a walkman that slotted into a boom-box??
Ah I'm getting all teary-eyed just looking at all those pixelated screens.
And also as a treat, here is what Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys
used to do for a living; he was the editor of Smash Hits and on occasion
he would review the singles.
Hey, don't you like his encapsulated one-line style?