Gone are the 80’s by Husseina Gambo Dutse

Gone are the 80’s


Is it just me or did the 80’s have a kind of vibe, a certain quality, pizzaz, za za zooooooooooooo (as Carrie Bradshaw will say)? There is no denying it did. There was a kind of spirit in the air, life oozed class and quality. That was a time when music was music, movies were movies, university students were university students, friendship was friendship, campus was campus, when guys knew fashion and fashion knew them (My brother used to iron his afro in those days and he has a scar in the nape of his neck to show for it). A time when boyfriends were boyfriends and Madonna was Madonna. A time when quality triumphed over quantity. Everyone got admitted after secondary school, everything was affordable, life was easy. What a time!

Now, all we see is a distorted version of everything around us. Welcome to the days of post UME and days of mixing the bourgeoisie and rebel.

Music is the first culprit. Now we have too much rap, and everything is shaking in music videos (they go by the saying: if it ain’t shaking, it ain’t selling soooooooooo).There is also the issue of too much categorisation. Hip, hop, rap ,R, B, pop, rock ,contemporary, garage, hardcore, collabo, Ha, it gets tiring, my head is reeling. Then, people loved all songs, regardless of their inclination. Was it Bobby Brown, Lionel Richie or Whitney Houston? A moment’s silence for master pieces like Sacrifice , Careless whisper, Time after time, Papa don’t preach, Don’t be cruel, Sexual healing, e.t.c .See what the 90’s and subsequently the 2000’s did to Michael Jackson. What of Whitney? Now you simply have to choose what you listen to. Imagine “I’m fucking you tonight” in a song or “you already know………….I wanna fuck you”. The other day I heard a girl on the radio singing “I kissed a girl and I liked it”.………that’s not entertainment, that’s bullshit. This is an era of little talent. Many musicians are not talented but have been packaged so well that they are selling the highest records. Their desperation is evident in the ferocity with which they shake their bodies.

As for movies, they have run out of topics and that is why reality shows are rocking. Don’t I have better use of my time than to watch a family 24-7 or a bunch of people in a house? How tiring! They think they are being creative but as far as I am concerned, the reverse is the case. No creativity, no ingenuity, no talent. Nigeria has decided to join the band wagon with Spirit of David takes 2, Big brother and such other nonsense .In fact I have no time to waste on this particular topic. I remember a West African Idol contestant singing R. Kelly’s I believe I can fly. Only because of her accent she wasn’t flying, she was frying……….lol. Maybe she wanted to fry akara.

Let me not even start with TV series. Remember the golden days of Dynasty , Colby’s, Dallas and Cosby show? They cannot recapture the class, the quality, the “ je ne sais quoi” now on their lives. Can any woman be as bitchy or classy as Alexis Carrington now? NEVER. All they can produce are series that go on for too damn long with no sense of when to stop, no sense of direction and where everyone sleeps with everyone else .Period. Even friends should have been called couples and not friends. And to top it up, they have started remaking series that didn’t even end well to start with. I’m talking about 90210 and Melrose place. And the really sad thing is some of the actors in the old series are now back because they cannot find employment elsewhere. That’s what I call living in the past.
The story doesn’t get better.

Guys now are too cheap. MIDNIGHT CALLS, I can go a whole day on that. Before, if a guy called you in the middle of the night, it was out of affection and love. You knew he was missing you and simply had to hear your voice. Now, it is because of economic meltdown only the economy in Nigeria melted a very long time ago. There’s a girl I know whose boyfriend, now husband, used to send text messages around 10 pm to ask her to send him 50 naira transfer so that he could call her after midnight.50 naira!
A relationship will be going strong o, but as soon as New Year comes, these guys cook up excuses to break up with the ladies. As soon as February goes, they crawl back claiming to have ‘forgiven’ the ladies the ‘wrong’ committed. And only the guys know what that ‘wrong’ is but the ladies have learnt, with time, that it is called Valentine. Some suddenly remember that it is against religious injunction to celebrate birthday or Valentine when the time comes. And then the religiousness flies out the window where it came from once it is March or the birthday gone. Back in the day, guys were itching to spend cash.

Let me not even start with campus boyfriends. All the girls do now is cook for guys, wash for them and generally play house girls and the men never appreciate it. The girls have lost their steam, their spunk and self esteem. They buy the food they cook for these guys, clothe them and give them pocket money on top. The guys don’t even spend on themselves talk more of others. They know the source of the money is one horse or chief but they don’t allow their prides come in the way.

Babbar riga is a thing of the past because guys can’t sacrifice the 10 yards. Before, any guy wearing shadda had to be the real thing not the 1,000 naira or 2,000 naira shaddas you find. I am sure if you look hard enough you will find 5 yards for 500 naira. Many young kids don’t even know Levi’s now. All of a sudden, designer perfume is a big issue that when you meet a guy he makes it a point to tell you the name of the perfume he is wearing. My brother told me last week that he prefers leaving his head bald because keeping hair is high maintenance. Not being a woman, I wonder what that maintenance entails. As for the women, they don’t know anything but exposing cleavage and talking with Lagos acquired accents but I’ll forgive them a little for the accent, it is much worse for a guy to speak with “funne”. In fact, it is down right irritating.

As for general student life, students knew their rights and were not afraid to speak up. In fact, their opinion mattered. They had a place in the society and the general public had nothing but respect for them. Lecturers had something to tell their students. Universities were recognized as the breeding ground of ideas they were. Not now that the students just go through the university without it necessarily having the privilege of going through them. And lecturers have denounced research. All the ideas are those of their predecessors that are being recycled.

Please my people, before you claim I am being too harsh, all I have mentioned didn’t have to strictly speaking have happened in the 80’s .Some may have spilled over into the 90’s but we are talking about the general vibe and spirit of the 80’s.I know, some will say I was young when we entered the 90s.Well I was, but you still can’t deny the difference between then and now. It is not something you can put a finger on .Very intangible, but definitely missing and I am sorry for the coming generations.

PS: Before you comment on my generalizations………………I know nothing is general but we are in a ‘democratic’ dispensation and majority carries the vote, if you understand what I mean.

So with a heavy heart, we say bye- bye to the days of landlines (I now know only one house from Abuja to Kano that still use it, it will become extinct by the time our children grow up) and days of Leventis, Kingsway and Chellerams. Welcome GSM and, sob, sob Sahad.

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