Sunday, 8 January 2012

About Me, Part 11: Let's Go Crazy!

September 1984. I turned 14 and started grade nine at Thomas L. Kennedy High in Mississauga. It was like a second chance: a new school, new friends, a new life. I had cultivated an androgynous Prince-like style, complete with the gelled big hair. I wasn't, however, in the position, financially or otherwise, to afford the frilly, white pirate shirt, Jim Morrison style leather pants, or purple velvet full-length coats. Nonetheless, it was a new horizon in personal expression. It also, paradoxically, helped me fit in.

For that year, I found myself more confident, and making new friends daily. Bullying did not occur. The schools dances were incredible: enough laser lights for a club, and on a couple of occasions a huge video screen featuring music videos alongside the tracks we were dancing to: brought to us by the local music video TV program, "Toronto Rocks!" My introduction to new music occurred at a stunning rate: rap, rock, dance, reggae, UK bands like U2, Depeche Mode, The Cure. MuchMusic debuted that fall as a pay TV channel, with the first two weeks being free. At point, during that year, they came to our school to put on a huge audio-visual presentation (mammoth screen included) on the history of rock and roll. For over an hour, we sat in the cafetorium watching the decades parade by, from the 50s to the present (at that time). It blew me away; for weeks and months and, even, years later, I would replay its scenes in my head vowing to myself that I would tell that story of music past and present like it meant something to each and every person in the world. And from the cheers erupting from the audience for artists from various eras, there were people who loved old stuff, like I did; I just had to connect with them. The presentation was a defining moment in my life.

Otherwise, I became very interested in dating, not being very successful for the time being. Throughout this period, I still had a strong sense of being different, although I was not sure why. It manifested as shaky confidence. By Christmas, I was fully immersed in my high school life, taking graphic arts and fine arts courses along with the core ones. Enjoying myself. And then, Christmas came along and shook things up for good.

To be continued ...

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