Walk in Silence 9

Speaking of high school dances, these were probably my one true link to my fellow classmates outside of my neighborhood and outside of school hours.  I looked forward to hanging out with my buddies, listening to tunes, and maybe even getting in a dance or two.

I wasn’t exactly a wallflower.  I just didn’t have a girlfriend for most of the high school years, for varying reasons.  I had a few female friends and a few who were willing to slow dance at these shindigs, but as far as a love life was concerned, I was on my own.  I had a few short flings in junior high, none lasting more than a few months.  I didn’t know what these relationships meant then, just that I didn’t have one and was, to be truthful, a bit lonely.

The school dances may have fostered a few ‘maybe’ relationships — including a kind of brief one with a girl I actually had a crush on in fourth grade — but nothing permanent.  More often than not I’d be hanging with my guy friends on the bleachers, chatting and listening to tunes.

Yeah, that was me.  I actually went to these things because of the music.  I went to those things all the way up until my senior year, because why the hell not?  A fun scene, good times, and I got to see friends outside of the school day.

I mention this because I was not the most outward person outside of school.  I rarely went out with friends for the first couple of years of high school, for whatever reasons I’m still not exactly sure of.  Maybe it was laziness — I couldn’t be bothered to hang out at someone else’s house when it was a good couple of miles away.  Maybe it was my level of connection — I was an acquaintance of many, but not really a close friend.  maybe it was that my circle of friends up until 1985 or so remained the few people I knew in my neighborhood

And I knew I was moving away from them by that time.  There were three of us at one point, partners in crime, but as I got older I realized it was more of a single-kid-in-crime with the two of us following along out of boredom.  After a few close calls of dumbassery, I realized enough was enough and cut the connection cold by the end of summer 1986.  I’d grown out of my safe neighborhood.  I needed to expand my universe pretty damn quick.

And that I did.


1986 was an excellent year for quirky pop music, both American and British.  On the week I discovered college radio, the American Top 40 featured the following:

  • Prince & the Revolution, “Kiss”
  • Robert Palmer, “Addicted to Love”
  • Pet Shop Boys, “West End Girls”
  • The Bangles, “Manic Monday”
  • Van Halen, “Why Can’t This Be Love”
  • Falco, “Rock Me Amadeus”
  • Whitney Houston, “The Greatest Love of All”
  • Level 42, “Something About You”
  • Janet Jackson, “What Have You Done for Me Lately”
  • Force MD’s, “Tender Love”
  • Sade, “Never As Good As the First Time”
  • Dire Straits, “So Far Away”
  • Madonna, “Live to Tell”

That’s quite a cross-section of popular music there.  Multiple genres, multiple generations, multiple countries!  It was a fine time to branch out.

And Star Hits was the magazine I gravitated towards for this sort of thing.  Hip enough to talk about all the music I liked, simple enough for my fifteen-year-old sensibilities (I really had no interest in professional music magazines at the time).  And this is where I started to realize, where it really became clear, that my interests in music were close to the level of my friends’.  That is, I was already completely and hopelessly obsessed with music at that point.  I was leaving everyone else in the dust.

So.  There I was, stuck in the middle.  Moving on from the crowd I used to frequent just a few years previous, and moving towards parts unknown.  Obviously I didn’t fit in with the jocks.  I don’t know if it was that I really disliked the dudebro attitudes of the time, or that I seemed to get along with the girls a little to well, or that I was just stick of trying to be someone I wasn’t, or no longer was.

Time to take the next step.

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