Last Thursday, I was invited to attend EARTH WIND AND FIRE's 40th Anniversary World Tour Concert at Sunway Lagoon. The weather has been unpredictable lately with the monsoon season. It has been raining and on concert night itself it was drizzling. It was a case of, what if the rain continues to pour down on EARTH with great nautical WINDs that would really put out the FIRE that everyone has come to watch. This American R&B group founded in 1969 still has the three original founding members; percussionist Maurice White, falsetto Philip Bailey and funny long haired expressive bassist Verdine White. I had the pleasure of receiving them upon their arrival from Singapore. We had a little conversation that surrounded around their repertoire and I told them I GREW UP listening to them. Maurice jokingly said, "That makes us in the same age group".
Growing up in the EIGHTIES was fun. I never knew the PlayStation nor the Internet. When entertainment was sourced, it was a gathering among friends playing MARBLES or flying kites. I remember how I would crush fluorescent light tubes into pounded powder and soaking them into starch. I would then soak the many feet of kite string into it and put them to dry. I would always emerge winner when my kite string would 'cut' my opponent's and literally sending them 'flying kites'. WHAT INTERNET? If information was needed, the only source were the ENCYCLOPEDIAS. Volumes and volumes that would stand in line on a book rack. I presume it is not cool to purchase encyclopedias today. To improve my command of the language, I read the Reader's Digest.
There were no flat screen plasma televisions then. The bigger and bulkier the TV set signified better social status. We had a BLACK AND WHITE set then. I was excited whenever I went to the granny's because of her coloured set. I still remember watching the wedding of Prince Charles and Diana Spencer that was telecast live in 1981. Cool TV brands at that time were Graetz and Telefunken. The only 'cool' thing we possessed was a Sanyo VINYL player. It was cool because it had a cassette player built with it too. It was in 1980, when the world stood still literally, eager to know who actually shot JR EWING. If you know what I am talking about, you are either a Baby Boomer or a Gen X like me. If not, JR was a character out of the series 'DALLAS' whom you either hate or love. Remember; the High Chaparral, Starsky and Hutch, The Man from Atlantis, what about Little House on the Prairie?As teenagers in the 80s, I detested my mum driving me in her Datsun 120Y to gallivant. I found it more cool to borrow a friend's MOTORCYCLE to ride around. I was caught numerous times riding without a license in my neighbourhood. Even during those years, it was normal for 'them' to ask for a 'kautim', whenever I was stopped. They are happy to literally 'extort' five ringgit from me. And, I would happily ride off. Until today, I can visualise the Dark Blue Mitsubishi Sigma patrol car bearing registration WB* 9402. I never forget bad things that happened to me.
When I needed to go further, the 'SRI JAYA' bus was reliable. Fifty cents would take me from my enclave in SS2 to the Klang bus station. I love frequenting PERTAMA COMPLEX in Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman because it had my favorite shops. One was 'WEST POINT 'and the other was 'VICTORIA MUSIC'. If you don't know West Point, what about Edmund Ser, familiar now? It was really cool to wear tailored apparels by Edmund Ser who has just returned from learning fashion design in London. How I would walk around in my fifty ringgit BAGGY PANTS, with the West Point logo prominently sewn to the back of the trousers. I also loved those shirts studded with RING BUTTONS.BRITISH POP was the way to go then. Victoria Music was the hippest music store. There were no CDs then. I would write the title of the songs that I favorite on a piece of paper, purchase a TDK cassette from them, they would record them for me and I picked it up in five days. Now, I have my own selected compilation of songs from UK's Top of the Pops. My favorite bands were all British. Heard of Adam and the Ants, Culture Club, Duran Duran, Haircut 100, Bronski Beat, Madness, Spandau Ballet or Ultravox? Nobody listened to American stuff unlike now. Earth Wind and Fire was then. Songs like 'Let's Groove', 'Fantasy' and 'After the Love has Gone' are now all CLASSICS. Songs like these were never spun at clubs because there weren't any. They were played at house parties, where teenagers like us were GROOVING away with fruit punches mixed with a little Anchor beer. Not because we couldn't consume the alcohol, it was more the case that we could not afford it with our MENIAL weekly allowance.