All that you have is your soul (Tracy Chapman).

Friday, 7 August 2009

Killing Off My Teenage Years

G-d has a peculiar sense of humour.

I can only think this as yet another of my teenage memories is brought out of the laundry basket that is my memory, washed at a high speed and then unceremoniously thrown back into the basket of long forgotten memories, only to be re-buried into my subconscious.

First it was the death of Michael Jackson and my reminiscing about hearing Thriller for the first time back in '82 and now I hear that John Hughes, director of a number of films that really spoke to my generation, dies at the criminally young age of 59.

What's going on here?

I am a child of the '80s, of Thatcher, Reagen, AIDS, Yuppies, Duran Duran and Dallas. I was also a teenager who remembers seeing films like The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Weird Science. These were our films, our years, our memories. These were also movies that talked to us as the '80s generation, in particular The Breakfast Club. I would love to say that Weird Science was more meaningful to me, granted the subject matter, but I wasn't that fortunate. I did however see it on a date and although sadly, I remember the film more than the girl, John Hughes was always there for us.

Teenage movies have been around from the '50s. Although I admire films such as Rebel Without A Cause and The Blackboard Jungle, I can't really relate to them from an experiential point of view. In the same way, I laugh out loud at some of the latest exponents of the genre (such as Superbad and the American Pie series), but they aren't about me.

I have never had experiences like Ferris Bueller or indeed the entire class of The Breakfast Club, but the knowledge that some of these kids were similar in age to me (even though I was placed at the younger end of the spectrum having been born at the end of the '60s) made the films seem all that more authentic. I could see where these guys, where the characters that Hughes created were coming from, burdened with the angst that so many of the us 1980's teenagers seemed to be burdened with.

It is not that often I feel a celebrity's demise so personally. John Hughes managed to tap into something that few others have been able to do and it is for this reason that his passing makes me feel bereft at this time.

Before John Hughes decided to target the younger audiences with films like Home Alone and Dennis the Menace, he thought about us and for that, I shall be eternally grateful to him. He may not have been the world's greatest director, but sometimes, the place you hold in other's people's hearts is determined by different factors.

Rest in Peace Mr Hughes and thank you for taking the time to try and understand us.
We shall remain forever your appreciative fans.

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