I saw Lindsay talk about this book a while ago and I knew I had to read it.
Eve and Leonora Epstein are two sisters, born 14 years apart. Eve is part of Generation X (born mid 60s to late 70s), while Leonora is part of Generation Y (born early 80s to late 90s). I would definitely put myself in that "grey area" in between the two, the people born between 1979 and 1984 who identify with a lot of stuff from both generations. Some of the late 90s stuff seems alien to me - I would have considered the whole Mean Girls age to be a completely different era, but it's easy to forget that time went pretty quick there for a while - Clueless was released a mere 5 years before Mean Girls.
In this book, Eve and Leonora cover chapters on Music, TV, Fashion, Movies, Sex & Dating, Books, and Technology. It's peppered with really good graphics, lists, conversations between the sisters - I loved the Mix Tape lists (definitely identified more with Gen X on that one). I loved this book a lot, you can get it on amazon here.
I thought I'd do some graphics and some lists of my own to show you the kind of stuff that I'd pick as a representation of my generation - I was born in 1983. My husband is very much generation X (born in the 70s) - but we have a huge amount of similar interests. Leonora states in the book - "Generation Y couldn't exist without Generation X because we've (selectively) made their nostalgia our nostalgia." I definitely agree. I also agree with the occurrence of "Fauxstalgia" in Generation Y - we tend to pine for things we've never experienced. I had fond memories of watching Live Aid on TV - I couldn't have watched Live Aid on TV, because I had just turned 2 a month before it aired.
Like a lot of 30 somethings, I've gained a new respect for the nostalgia of the older generations. I understand what it's like to hear a heinous remix of some song you loved when you were 11. I understand what it's like to see a 14 year old wearing the T-shirt of a band she's never even heard of. I understand what it feels like to look a favourite video up on youtube and find the comment section peppered with references to the fact that it was just played in the background of some hipster programme or that you're there because some obscure twitter personality just tweeted about it. But I will never, ever understand how jelly shoes are back.
My music education came courtesy of Dave Fanning or Ruth Scott on 2fm, who introduced me to "alternative" music back in the day (through the radio, obviously). Also deserving credit is the legendary Larry Gogan with his Golden Hour, and the DJs from Atlantic 252. A love of radio from an early age meant that although I could sing every word of every Backstreet Boys song, I still knew who David Bowie and REM were. Atlantic 252 was my favourite, and if you want to listen to some of the jingles from back in the day, here's a great site I found courtesy of DJ Fergal D'Arcy a while ago: Aircheck Downloads.
This is from an actual mix tape that I made. Edit: When I went into the living room to get the cassette tape from the press, two guys from one of those Pawn Shop/Auction programmes that my husband watches were singing "My Generation" by The Who. I had already written the title of this post - I LOVE when shit like that happens. I put this at 1998 given the songs, so welcome to the music world of 16 year old me.....there's no accounting for taste, is there?
There were a few albums (on tape, obviously) that everyone had to have around the time I started to get old enough to buy my own tapes. My favourite thing was to sit in on a Sunday and tape stuff off the radio, but here are the ones I owned on proper tapes. I got my first CD player in 1995 but CDs were still so expensive that I rarely got them, I did have the Five, Titanic & Garbage albums on CD but the rest were all tapes.
It's amazing how even an album title can bring back so much memories - I'm sorry my collection wasn't cooler (1995 in particular was an epic year in albums) but I sang them all to death. Even if I did make up all my own words to most of the Pearl Jam album. Anyone up for a chorus of La Vida Loca in Spanish? No?
I had one other tape - one that became such a favourite that I actually had one of the songs from it in our wedding two years ago (Feels Like Home). It's the quintessential teen tape of the mid-90s - the one I listened to while simultaneously reading the series of books based on the show, dreaming about Pacey Witter and wishing I had Joey Potter's hair.
I'm not going to go on, or I'd be here all day, but I discovered the glorious world of 80s hair bands around this time too and built up a collection of compilation tapes, all with names like Best Driving Songs even though I could just about ride a bicycle, let alone drive. The Britney Spears & N*Sync era followed, then I went through a phase of buying film soundtracks - Edward Scissorhands, Wild Wild West (bought for an Enrique Iglesias song), Back to Titanic.
In the X vs Y book, one of the girls speculates on the upcoming Generation Z - is this the first generation who will never have to wait for anything? I mean, if you hear a song now all you have to do is google a few lyrics and you can have the MP3 on your phone in seconds. I remember waiting weeks for songs to crop up on the radio, stalking the chart shows and Atlantic 252. Sometimes I'd get the same song on the same tape 2 or 3 times to try and get the "best" version of it. That excitement is all gone now.
I'll shut up, but I'm leaving you with this - potentially my sister and I are the only two people who remember this as clear as day and still sing it word for word, but see if it rings a bell with you. It was on telly morning noon and night around the earth in the late 90's - does anyone else remember it?
Next time - movies!!