Poetry, Music and Art Circa 1983

My love/hate relationship with poetry is, I believe, well-founded.  Nothing grinds the gears more than having to pick apart lyrics to discern some meaning.  Be ostentatious, use a double entendre, be verbose even, but have a point.

From the Collection

I was unable to see The Police’s Synchronicity tour in 1983.  By then, parenting had taken a front seat, so it was one missed that summer.  Not to be deterred, I blasted their hits through the scratchy, cheap car-stereo speakers until my proverbial ears bled.

This sufficed until July 11, 1985 when Sting came to Bethlehem to a sold-out crowd at Lehigh University’s Stabler Arena.

As a voracious reader soaking in all things prose, by writing, reading, editing my own or someone else’s writing, or contemplating one of the three, my excitement upon acquiring Sting’s book, Lyrics (2007) came as no great shock. Even better, the book helped me appreciate the basis for much of his poetry.  If you ever loved (or even liked) any of The Police or Sting’s solo tunes, the book is worth your time.

Fortunately, other artists toured in ’83.  Then, Federal minimum wage was $3.35.  Tickets with fees were $12.50 on average. Check it out. Today, ticket prices for similar performances run around $100.

You Can’t Make This Up

Now I don’t want to crush Stick Chick, but with minimum wage at $7.25 today, the same event would cost a person at least a day and a half worth of work whereas then, about a half a day.

A concert T-shirt worthy of bragging rights for weeks afterwards might run $15 to $25, but they’d last for 20 years.  You didn’t have to layer them with a bra and cami to keep them from being virtually transparent—but I’ll avoid discussion of the descending quality of clothing material, garment construction, and fashion merchandising lest I appear bitter.

The cost of the tickets in comparison with the performances never felt like robbery.  On the contrary, we the youth, wanted more.  1983 graced us with much great music, dance and art, while television ushered out its long-running series M*A*S*H.  Michael Jackson’s sequins sparkled in his dazzling moonwalk performance at the Motown 25 Special.  In December, his highly promoted video Thriller debuted on MTV—when the station was music videos.

Touring the U.S. that year were (among others):

Def Leppard                                    Pyromania

The Police                                       Synchronicity

Stevie Nicks and Joe Walsh    The Wild Heart/Life’s Been Good

Quiet Riot                                         Metal Health

ZZTop                                                Eliminator

Finally, what was then an artistic marketing coup for Apple, Steve Jobs introduced its 1984 commercial that aired during the 1984 Superbowl. Effin’ awesome…as the kids say.

Then what?


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