Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The 80's - Inherited Nostalgia?

I was indeed born in the 80's. It was in the year 1986, just a couple of weeks after a powerful earthquake shattered my city to pieces. However, to be honest, I have barely any memories from the historic decade of the 80's. The only long-lasting memory I have is a vague memory of the Civil War in my country. On the 11th of November 1989, the Salvadoran Guerrillas entered the city of San Salvador in order to provoke a massive middle-class insurrection against the right-wing government. My first memory, then, is of my family frightened, hiding us in some obscure corner of the house as we heard the shootings and bombings just around the corner from us. That is as much as I remember, being 3 years old when the 1990's officially started.

I was born in the 80's - but most of my conscious awareness and memories are only found in the 90's onwards. I embraced the 90's, the end of the Salvadoran Civil War and the hope for a better future, growing up in what came to be the "Y" or "MTV" generation, shaped by all the cultural elements we adopted from our American/European counterparts. However, I inherited copious amounts of cultural expressions from an era I just missed. Through the musical influence of my parents and my older brother, I grew up in the 90's listening to the music of the 60's, 70's and 80's, both in Spanish and English. It was just part of the every day life, to play my dad's LP's and listen to by-gone eras, at times imagining myself being a teenager or young-adult during the 70's or 80's. My parents' nostalgia for their "good ol' times" made me experience, if only in my imagination, a snapshot of life back then. For a brief duration of a song, I was there, with them, in my imaginary reconstruction of an era I wished I experienced.

I was amused: being nostalgic of an era I did not even experience, wanting to live out memories that weren't mine! And that made it better, making my imagination fly freely.

I still love the music from the previous generations - and sometimes I consider it better than the music that surrounded me by the late 90's and early 00's. But at times I can't work out whether the nostalgia I still feel now is for those eras I did not experience, or rather a nostalgia for my nostalgic childhood? In the end, it doesn't matter - I can still admire the inherent power in music, a power that distorts time and geography: a real time machine.

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