Friday, April 20, 2012

Guest Post: Shirley Marr's 80's Favourite Things Funtanza

Hey Cool Dudes & Dudettes, welcome to Miss Friday's little corner of the web! Today is going to be a bit of an 80's flavoured easter Egg hunt. As you can see, I've even dressed for the occasion!

Today on My Girl Friday, Shirley wears an 80's pleated geometric dress ($25) from Vinnie's Retro Boutique in Northbridge. Thanks to cute Emo Manager Guy for choosing the dress for me.

When I wrote Preloved it was always envisioned as a love story (well, with a title like that!) but I also took the time to think about and explore the overall concept of "love". Central to the story is also the love story between a girl and her mother. And strands of it are based on my relationship with my own mum, so I felt a lot of love while writing the novel. It also represents to me a love letter to my heritage (as Amy is Chinese like me), to my childhood (as I was a baby of the 80s) and to the Aussie contemporary YA genre as a whole (as I am proud to help fly the flag).

So it was only natural that things I love ended up as symbols in the novel, whether consciously or sub-consciously. We'll go hunting for them right now in my garden.

Labyrinth (the movie): This was the very first movie I ever saw at the cinema! So I guess the ritual of getting Fantails at the candy bar and going on a real outing is a coming of age experience that no other subsequent movie-going experience has lived to since. And David Bowie as the Goblin King was my first crush ever. The Goblin King was also to become a babysitter through my primary school years. I was always one of those kids that were never allowed to go on camping trips. Possibly because my strict Asian parents thought I would die. That meant I was always stuck behind with the other odd kids and because the teachers felt sorry for us, schoolwork was very lax and we always ended up being allowed to watch one movie. Labyrinth was always that movie. And we would be allowed to make popcorn as well and put them into little paper bags and pretend we were at the movies. Those are among my fondest memories. Labyrinth to this day is my favourite movie. I have it on DVD. And VHS!

Princess Diana's Dress: Her 1987 Cannes Festival dress is my favourite dress of all time. I'm not sure what it is that makes one love a particular dress. i could say I just love the cut, the fabric and the way it falls, but then I could also say the same of a billion other dresses so let's put it down to secret women's brain business. It also brings back memories of when I was shopping with my close friends for their Year 12 ball dresses. I wasn't going (I didn't go to my schoolies either. Because I was on both occasions, staying home to write my novel), but I was there as a judge of good taste. We went to one store and in the window was an almost exact replica of that dress! I tried it on. It was perfect. But I still didn't go to the ball. And in hindsight Diana's dress also represents to me a "what could have been" - a theme also prevalent in Preloved.

Rubik's Clock: I recently reclaimed my 80's toys. A Keeper, My Little Ponies and an Alf plush (ask your parents). Maybe there comes a time in a parent's life when you move out that they come to terms with you being gone and decide to relinquish whatever still remains in their their closets. And then present them to you. Or in my husband's case, give them to me! Which got me curious about what exactly these "little boys things were". It turns out they consisted of Transformers (one which fittingly enough, changed into a boom box - double 80s bang for your buck) and a Rubik's Clock. I had no idea what this was. I Googled it.
Then I spent ages trying to figure out how to play with it. In the end I just gave up and put it into Preloved as a symbol of one enigmatic boy's secret business.

The Baby-Sitters Club: my favourite 80's book series! I think I read them until it kinda jumped the shark when the recaps at the beginning got so long they eclipsed the actual stories. Did they grow up and have a college spinoff or am I thinking of that other 80s cheesy stalwart - Sweet Valley High? I always wanted to be Claudia Kishi not only because she was the hottest (in my head) and most fashionable and artistic, she also ate a seemingly endless stream of junk food. Who wouldn't want all those things? In my head I always shipped Claudia and Logan Bruno 'cos Maryanne was so lame. That's where I got the name Logan from. And oh, Stacey! Stacey was also cool.

The Smiths: Every second Hipster name checks The Smiths these days don't they? It kinda makes me cringe. I discovered The Smiths when I was in High School and their 1985 album Meat is Murder became something I listened to frequently. Looking back, I guess I was like every single teenager trying to grapple with identity. I was pro-vegetarian and I flirted with the idea of being a Socialist and anti-authority. I think The Smiths helped fill an ideological hole in me. I don't regret who I was (actually, I am still some of these things) and what the music helped bring out in me. Even though I haven't listened to The Smiths for at least the past 10 years - if I had to name check a band from the 80s that is both nostalgic and musically solid for me, then The Smiths it is!

I hope you've had a fun insightful time in my garden. If you look closely there's actually more Easter Eggs hidden in the five (shhh). Thank you to the beautiful Miss Steph Friday for having me on her beautiful blog.

We're breaking for the weekend now, but come Monday hop over with me over to Wear The Old Coat, where I tell a really scary ghost story (trust me, it's really scary) and other Preloved Blog Touring goodness!

Thank so much for stopping by Shirley and sharing in some 80's nostaglia! If you enjoyed this, be sure to check out Shirley's guest post on Literary Life talking about being a child of the 80's. Thank you to Shirley and Walker Books for inviting me to take part in the blog tour. Check back here soon for my review of Preloved.


YA Anonymous said...

I love this stroll down Memory Lane. I just got to the Rainbow Brite mention in Preloved. :)

Logan Bruno *SIGH* My Pinterest name is Claudia Kishi because I am a dork. Haha. That Princess Diana dress reminds me of Grace Kelly's in To Catch a Thief.

Anyway, I'm off to continue reading Preloved. Miss Friday, this blog is puuurty.


Flannery (The Readventurer) said...

Oooh, I just got some amazing postcards that you will enjoy, Shirley. They are related to this post so look out in your postbox:)

My sister was once grounded as a little kid for attempting to throw my brother up in the air like David Bowie in Labyrinth. Also, for spilling a cup of beer all over my brother's face. Yeah, her temperament hasn't changed too much lol.

I've never heard of a Rubik's clock either! But Transformers were awesome--for boys AND girls. (same with G.I. Joe!)

Miss Friday said...

Maggie - I was thinking the same thing with the dress! The costume in To Catch A Thief is one of my favourites!

Thank you for stopping by (and for the lovely words

Heidi@Rainy Day Ramblings said...

I have never heard of the Rubik's clock either but everything else including Alf, I do remember. Thanks for the fun trip down memory lane, ladies.

Wendy Darling said...

I once did an 80s theme for my husband's birthday, so all the decorations and EVERY gift was from eBay. Mini Pac-man arcade games, sticker books, Transformers, etc. He nearly exploded with excitement, hah.

Love the post--thanks Shirley and Steph!

Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

Vegan YA Nerds said...

I really enjoyed this post, Shirley and it's great to discover your blog, Steph!

Labyrinth is one of my favourite movies too! We used to borrow the VHS from our local video store and then not return it for months and we would get out our Fisher Price tape recorder and record all the songs and some of the catch phrases (Allo!) and then play them over and over again. Being a child of the 80s was a lot of fun :)

Belle said...

I am loving this blog tour. The BSC! So happy that Logan's name comes from The BSC, it was the first thing I thought of when I heard it. Claudia and Stacey were my faves too.

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