Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Late 80s and Early 90s

When growing up in central Ontario there were many different choices when it came to cliques.  I don't think it exists the same way today - but picture a John Hughes film set to a soundtrack of music by the likes of Stone Roses, Violent Femmes, LL Cool J and R.E.M. and that was my suburban upbringing.  Back then you identified yourself with specific groups and there were Rockers, Goths, Punks, Skinheads, Jocks, Mods, Hip Hoppers, Preps, Skaters, BMXers and many more.

If I had to classify my own style at that time I guess it was a cross between prep and skater.  I skateboarded but was partial to a good Ralph Lauren Polo shirt, Club Monaco khakis and a pair of Tretorn shoes.  Tretorns with ollie holes mind you.

Shoes were a big deal to me at that time - and still are today. I always wanted the best and most expensive ones.  I was also very aware that I was in grade 9 and that older teens were known to "Roll" kids for their shoes at the time.  All I wanted was a pair of 6 hole black boot docs with yellow stitches - but settled on Doc Marten shoes without stitching so I didn't get my ass kicked by skinheads.  I remember buying pair of low cut no stitch Docs in Scotland while on vacation between grade 8 and 9.  It was funny because the boots were basically the working man's boot and you could buy them for dirt cheap everywhere.  My older cousin Kenneth had a pair for his job as a security guard.  On this side of the pond it was different.  You could only buy Doc Martens on Queen Street at places like Twinkle Toes or head-shops.  Ironically there's an actual Doc Marten's store on Queen now.

I do remember getting a great pair of Timberland shoes in grade 8 though.  I must have only had them for a couple days before they were stolen from the gym locker room. I'm pretty sure I know who it was that took them too.  The lone asshole skinhead in grade 8 name Darcy. I had to wear my indoor gym sneakers home that day and was so pissed.  PS - how on earth was there a white supremacist skinhead in a catholic elementary school to begin with?  I digress.

With the wide array of lifestyles came a very diverse mix of musical choices.  I was all over the map and really did love it all.  That wasn't the case for most though and they were very strict in their choices to make sure that it was in line with their identity.  Goths listened to the likes of Depeche Mode, The Cure and Bauhaus while Skinheads cranked Motorhead and David Wilcox.  There was Run DMC, Kool Moe Dee and Eric B. & Rakim for Hip Hoppers and Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Descendents, The Clash and The Cult for Skaters.

Here are some songs that remind me of that time in my life...

Violent Femmes - 'Kiss Off' (This whole album is perfect)

The Housemartins - 'Caravan of Love'

R.E.M. - 'Stand'

Suicidal Tendencies - 'Possessed to Skate'

Kool Moe Dee - 'Wild Wild West'

The Stone Roses - 'Fools Gold'

The Cult - 'Heart and Soul' 

De La Soul - 'Eye Know'

Depeche Mode - 'Everything Counts'
The crowd intros from the album 101 still give me chills to this day.

Thanks for reading/listening.


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