Father time's goddamn Lunar calendar has shed its skin again and drawn another ring around my trunk, forcing me to symbolically drop into the musical fetal position of my early 20s. Well, very early 20s - 20, 21 to be exact. 1983. The first year I recall being relatively happy most of the time.
Which is odd because I spent a good deal of '83 on what constituted a floating prison with 5000 other people, 4995 of whom I didn't know or, worse, really didn't want to know. Strangely, it might have been great because I'd finally felt free. Free of what? Of the 20 years that came before it, I guess. It was my first real job, I did it well, and it was interesting if morally abhorrent (thus began the compartmentalization of my ethics).
Maybe it was all the great music I could buy really cheaply there (for some reason, very few others on the ship cared for Nina Hagen, The Jam, Elvis Costello, etc. yet the ship's store always seemed to have cassettes of their albums available, marked down because they presumably couldn't get rid of them).
Maybe it was that I saw a bit of Europe for the first time: Italy, Greece ... well, Italy and Greece, anyway. Qaddafi and troubles in Lebanon put the kibosh on planned visits to Israel, Egypt and Spain that year.
Really, though, I think it was the four months at the beginning of the year I spent at the Navy Intelligence School and Oxymoron Emporium in Denver, Colorado. There wasn't a lot of Navy in Denver (that was Air Force country) and it was more like college than the military, at least from my perspective. Slam dancing Thursday's (New Wave night) at Thirsty's and Friday/Saturday (not New Wave nights, but we slammed anyway) at After The Gold Rush, both 3.2 bars where us under-21 types could drink. I saw Wall of Voodoo live and hung out with other New Wave aficionados for the first time. Good memories.
Elvis Costello's Imperial Bedroom and The Jam's Snap compilation have been getting extra heavy play on the iPod, my feeble attempt to ignore father time's clock ticking off another year, one more I won't get back. One step closer to the proverbial grave.
These two albums bring me back to a specific year - 1983, in this case - more than any other music that I actually enjoy. There are a great many tunes that dredge up strong memories of the past, specific pinpoints in time; however, in almost all cases, they are songs I at least vaguely dislike and rarely have purchased (except when the memory overpowers the distaste and I need to hear the piece of shit jingle to help get me back to the moment).
Elvis and the Jam bring it all back home.