Ghouls Just Wanna Have Fun


As a child, I was utterly terrified by Michael Jackson’s Thriller. So terrified that even putting that picture above these words now, at the age of 45, causes a slight shiver of anxiety. I was also confused: surely a ‘thriller’ was an exciting, dramatic film? I didn’t understand why Michael Jackson was singing about movies like that while dancing with zombies.  Surely he should have been calling it Video Nasty?

But I did appreciate the musical delights of Thriller – and also the tiger cub he was stroking when you opened the gatefold sleeve (my sister, older than I and therefore with more sophisticated tastes, bought the album. In 1982, I was all about Bucks Fizz and  The Kids From Fame. My sophistication would not come until 1986, when a month’s pocket money would pay for Janet Jackson’s Control).

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Cool Runnings

Because this post is about ’80s music, I was initially going to call it ‘Not-So Cool Runnings’. But if there’s one thing that outweighs my love of wordplay, it’s my dislike of the notion of guilty pleasures. So here I am, pinning my neon colours to the mast: this post is about ’80s music, and running, and running to ’80s music, so I’m calling it ‘Cool Runnings’ as loudly and proudly as I would sing along to Starmaker from The Kids From Fame, as long as nobody else was in the house.

Actually, I say this is about ’80s music – but it’s really about the music of my childhood, and the music of anybody’s childhood. Maybe yours was ’60s music or ’70s music or, heaven forbid, ’90s music (I hear there are adults around now who were born in the 1990s. In suspect I worked with most of them at The Huffington Post).

Yesterday, I ran the first 5k I’ve run in some time. The past few months for me have been a mixture of not running very much and not running very far (I suspect the two are linked). But yesterday, for some reason, I bounced out of my flat like a kid on springy shoes, and ran 5k. And what’s more: it was a relatively easy 5k.

I say ‘for some reason’ – but I suspect that at least one of the reasons for the spring in my step was choosing a new song to start my run with. That song you leave the house to, the song that kicks off your run, is pretty crucial, I think. It’s important to choose something epic and anthemic, something that belies the fact that you’re slightly overweight and wearing cheap running gear that you suspect is giving you a camel toe. Something that makes you feel like a mighty warrior stepping out for the hunt… Something like… Call Me by Go West.

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