Growing up and getting down.
Number of reasons to feel old this week. As usual, I don’t really – but I really should. Because, apart from anything else, they tell me it’s exactly twenty-five years since Thriller was released.
I queued for that record when it came out. Or at least, I kept having to go back to John Menzies in Christchurch to get new copies of it because there was a whole funny batch of them badly pressed that made Billy Jean jump. ..And with a courageous stiff upper lip that would make one of Queen Victoria’s finest cavalry front-liners proud to stand next to me, I admit that I bought this fabled Michael Jackson epic along with George Michael’s beat combo debut – Wham! Fantastic! I did. I just admitted it, there. What have you got now?
So Thriller seems both quainter and sweeter second time around. Found it in a bargain bin at Borders on a rain-lashed Friday evening, after a Goodbye Old Chum drink with Kev; little baby Marshall is scheduled for much-anticipated poolside entrance tomorrow. Jeeeeepers. There again – a reason to feel old.
Another reason to feel old is watching your Father do enough aging for both of you in front of your eyes. We went over to help mine celebrate his 73rd today – but there’s no escaping how his current illness has given him extra years. I won’t put into idle words here how it feels, but he and Mum seem to have everything queuing up against them. And I love my Dad, and my Mum.
When I cycled from school to spend my meagre Advertiser delivery money on Thriller the first time, I was enjoying a very happy end of childhood – and looking forward to a very groovy adulthood, thanks in giant part to my groovy parents. Though ‘groovy’ in the Eddie Izzard sense, rather than the would-honestly-ever-dance-to-Thriller sense. Like most people’s parents back then.
As an aside, today – against the natural order of things or not – most of my be-parenthooded friends seem to be doing a remarkably good job of being groovy in a way that wouldn’t have made sense twenty five years ago – ie: still reasonably sexy young Got Its. As much as any of them ever had it, they still seem to have the funk for getting down –no different to two and a half decades ago to my eye. Is this right? Or am I old after all? When do we all become Real Adults?
But look at us as a generation – we still bang on about blummen’ Star Wars and Stardust and Atari home video games and Thriller – and refuse to fully accept we’re no longer that age, even as our heroic creatives and everything else we love slide into mediocrity and decline.
And a bloody good thing too, after all. Maybe. All I know is that, full blast in the earphones, Thriller is making me fug round the studio like a disco zombie – I am doing the dance, yes. Damn right. Do it too. Get the record and do it too, with me.
Because, however grown-up life is trying to make me, I’m still going to fight it. Somehow. And help my Dad fight it. ..Somehow.
Though I’m not sure suggesting a moonwalking class to Michael Jackson would say it right for him – or assure him I’ve taken up the mantle of responsibility at last.
Which would probably reassure my Dad after all.