Wednesday, 14 March 2012

‘(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party!)’ – Beastie Boys (1986)

"Your Mom busted in and said,
‘What’s that noise?’
Aw, Mom, you’re just jealous,
It’s the Beas-tie Boys!"

It’s hard to imagine now a time when partying was outlawed. But that was the ‘80s, kids. George Michael was the first to publicly declare that he was never going to dance again (something about guilty feet having no rhythm). This was swiftly followed by local ministers around the world banning any public displays of moonwalking or b-boying on cardboard boxes taken from round the back of Spar. It was a tough time, when the only entertainment that remained was playing chicken with tractors in your friend’s cornfield. All this of course was vividly portrayed in the harrowing documentary ‘Footloose’. So perfectly does it encapsulate these dark days that it can be hard to watch, even now.

But in the rebel leader Kevin Bacon we saw hope. And it was his valiant struggles in the small Rocky Mountain town of Bomont that inspired the Beasties. Now we could finally rise up as one and fight for our right to paaaaaaarty. And steal VW badges. This last bit was what really inspired my school friend Phil. Though he didn’t really think things through that carefuly when he decided to rip a badge from a teacher’s car. I'm not sure it was even a VW one. Ten minutes later the whole school was sitting in an emergency assembly and the Headmaster played his ultimate threat card: no-one would be leaving the hall until the culprit came forward. This could get messy. Except Phil was still wearing the badge round his neck and was swiftly dobbed in by some lower sixth lad hoping to earn a Prefect badge.
But there’s a happy ending. Mick Jagger and David Bowie decided to reclaim the streets for dancers everywhere (Chicago, New Orleans, New York City – and even some places not in America). And soon everyone was cutting loose and kicking off their Sunday shoes – whatever that actually means. Even George Michael had turned his life around and his feet had been found not guilty. His troubles were finally behind him and he knew the best of times lay ahead. What could possibly go wrong?

Please note: Some of the above may not be historically acurate. For instance, I’m not sure if Careless Whisper came out before Footloose, and I can’t be bothered to check. And I may have made some other stuff up too. But you get the idea.

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