I was a child in the Eighties. All of them. (Okay, so maybe I was a toddler for a tiny bit at the very beginning, but still: you get my point.) And yet being, as I was, a child (as opposed to a youth), I am immune to much of the Eighties nostalgia that besets many of my (slightly older) friends and acquaintances. This is further reinforced by the fact that the latter part of that decade was marked by my withdrawal from the traditional school system, and the almost-total end of television viewing in our home.
In other words, I grew up under a mushroom, and my popular cultural awareness really doesn’t come into full focus until I get to college in 1996. I had a lot of catching up to do at that point, but I was determined, so I spent the last half of the Nineties studiously exploring the pop culture of the day, and also delving back into some of the days I had missed. Perhaps I had the wrong guides in my retro research, but I never found much in the Eighties to excite me, so I largely left it alone.
I am reminded of all this today by the release of the Max Headroom television series on DVD. I was certainly aware of the character of Max Headroom, I believe I even seen the Coke adverts he did (I still saw television at my grandparents’ houses, and at my friend’s). But until I saw the excited posts of friends on Facebook this past week regarding the DVD release, I had no idea that there was an actual dramatic television series starring this character, the dystopian premise of which sounds interesting and which I would very probably enjoy. (Seriously, if William Gibson liked and praised it, it was probably pretty cool.)
But I never saw it, and so all any of this means to me today is that I will be briefly surrounded by friends of more-or-less similar tastes who will enthuse about yet another element of a cultural moment I lived through, but did not live in.