25 February 2011

Bookends: Eighties

Me and Big Bro, circa 1984

I was browsing some '80's and '90's music files tonight and I could not help but think of my brother.  The music led me to some pictures, specifically the one above.  It's a Polaroid, and my parents have the original.  I never used to get sentimental over old pictures, especially ones of myself, but things are different now.  As far as I'm concerned, that picture up there needs to be archived in a museum-quality case, suitable for framing.

I am struck particularly by our expressions.  Mine was showing a lot more self-assurance (youthful arrogance?) than I really possessed, and Big Bro?  Well, he was the shizznit, as that expression says it all.  He certainly could pull off the Look.  It gained in strength when he had a guitar in his hands, something I could not (and still can't) do.

I think that picture was taken at a time when I was beginning to feel I had any confidence at all of dealing with the world, out of high school and on my way to college.  It was a time I felt like I was right, even when I wasn't.  Untested youth has a way of doing that to a person.

I'm glad I didn't know then, what I know now.  I see this picture, and I cannot help but marvel at the power we didn't know we possessed.  Me and my Big Bro against the world, two saplings as yet unbent by the storms of life...the hurricane that took him down struck much too early.  The one that might take me, well, I hope its a long way off.

Until then, I'll think of him, and sink my roots deeper into the soil.

The following link (to myspace.com) is to a song by The Jesus and Mary Chain, that came out in 1989, which is kind of the cap on what I think of as my first (hopefully) Golden Age.  I listen, and I wish I could have sung this live with my brother on guitar.  I know he would have liked that.


  1. I like to think "remembering" is a root of strength, that is one of the evils we must experience to make us whole, albeit it does leave an emptiness in our soul that is a constant reminder of what we are witnessing, but for me, it makes me thankful for it...always provoking my brain Irish, sending thoughtful honks from the NYC to you. Peace.

  2. Looking back is awesome. Ditto King.

  3. God does that Look remind me of my guitar-playin', permed-up big hair, sleeveless vest, an angry Romantic of the sassy early 1980s. I have a similar pic of me with my kid brother, me with the Look, him the Outdoorsman, looking somewhat dazed from a car accident a few months ago that almost killed him. I survived that power whose amplitude I drank like booze, but my kid brother didn't. (He died of at heart attack 3 years ago from what I think was ritalin abuse.) Thanks for sharing the pic. - Brendan

  4. I LOVE this photo and the attitude of assurance on your faces and in your stance... The upturned collars. How perfect.


  5. I'm so glad you have that picture, Gumby. Sometimes I really miss the indestructable ego of youth.

  6. we have all been there, and now I watch my children who are there now. I won't burst their bubble -- who knows what they might achieve?

  7. Wowsers. If you could distill that in liquid form, you would be able to smell the 80s. Nice.

  8. What a fun picture. You guys really epitomized the era, popped collars and all. Your expressions really do reveal the underlying attitudes, yours one of happy innocence and optimism and his more of a swaggering confidence. What a great keepsake. Ought to be blown up and framed for a special spot on those vacant walls you need to fill. :-)

  9. You can still sing that song. He will hear it and he would love it. This is a classic pic. Looking back is the best way to see how far we've come and who we've become. I've just been going through all my old pics (hair styles)for the Caturday's posts. Amazing how some styles will always be funny while others seem timeless. Great post!

  10. That picture is snapshot of something perfect.

    Circa 1984...oh what a year.


"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

Tell me what is in your heart...