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THE VENGABOYS: A CRITICAL REAPPRAISAL

vengaboys
Attention wedding DJs, office party organisers and hack journalists… A Nineties revival, as wearily predictable as day following night, or Mayo crashing out in Croke Park, is soon to be unleashed. I got a phone call today from a radio station (not one I regularly appear on, I should point out) asking if I’d come in and reminisce about what a wild and crazy decade the Nineties were. Dear God, wouldn’t it be easier to just slit our wrists and be done with it now? This is the Nostalgia Treadmill. It’s been going on for years. The sitcom Happy Days, which sentimentalised the oppressive and conformity-obsessed 1950s, was made in the 1970s. That ‘70s Show debuted in the 1990s.

As we enter the 2010s, the generation that grew up idolising Blur and Oasis are attaining sufficient influence that they can market nostalgia for their lost youth to a mass audience. Large numbers of their peers, meanwhile, dissatisfied with the humdrum course of their subsequent lives, will of course be happy to jump upon the bandwagon.

Best of all, a generation of impressionable youngsters, with no idea who Boris Yeltsin or Monica Lewinsky were, but with pocket money to burn, can now be persuaded that the Spice Girls and the Vengaboys were iconic cultural touchstones of a caliber not seen since.

Think I’m joking? Witness the current Eighties revival then. Pop singer La Roux, born in 1988, was in the Guardian last Saturday talking about George Michael’s execrable Careless Whisper as though it were a timeless classic. How long before some even younger starlet is bleating about how the Spin Doctors or 4 Non Blondes were, like, just totally inspirational.

The truth is I hated the Nineties. I lived in a small town where the DJ at our monthly teenage disco played 2Unlimited tracks without fail, where couples slow-danced to Metallica’s Nothing Else Matters and where my friends once accused me of “pretending” not to like Meatloaf’s I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That) in order to “seem different.”

So fuck nostalgia. Being an adult is infinitely preferable to being a teenager. Whoever Meatloaf’s contemporary equivalents is, he does not encroach upon my life in any way and I bare him no grudge.

In a dentist’s waiting room last month, I happened to read Ian O’Doherty in the Irish Independent moaning about Jade Goody’s mother, about how dislikeable a human being she is – as though her shortcomings impinge upon his life in some way. I remember thinking, fucking hell, what planet does this guy live on? If you’re not interested, mate, turn the page.

That’s the joy of being an adult. If you don’t want to, they can’t make you. I know I don’t like reality TV or talent contests. Fine, I don’t watch them. End of story. I mean, it wasn’t until Jade Goody died and Kerry Katona continued living that I realised they were two different people. And I’m a feckin’ journalist!

In conclusion then: 1990s revival – me no likey. And incidentally lads from home, this is the video you once insisted it wasn’t possible not to like.

September 29th, 2009.

17 Responses to “THE VENGABOYS: A CRITICAL REAPPRAISAL”

  1. Albinicus Says:

    Meatloaf that mofo.. He ruined the 90′s for me too. I used to hang around the bowling alley in Castlebar and the only respite I could get from that fucking song, which was constantly on the jukebox, was to put on ‘something in the way’ on Nirvana’s Nevermind and wait the 15 minutes of silence until the secret song (Endless Nameless) kicked in in a blaze of noise to freak the shit out of everyone. I think they call such carry-on Wyatting now.

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Wyatting

  2. Eoin Says:

    Haha… in Macsuirtan’s in Ballyhaunis, someone used to always do that the Stone Roses’ Breaking into Heaven. Ten minutes of dolphin noises!

  3. El Kid Says:

    What are the odds on anyone in that photograph liking girls??

  4. Eoin Says:

    Slim to none, I’d imagine EK.

  5. Jenny Says:

    To my shame i once had a soft spot for…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1jl4OfL5Fs

    Take a hint Uncle John, stop calling me!!

  6. Cormac Says:

    That Meat Loaf video is excellent, and you know it Butler. The best bit is the end, where she kisses the beast, expecting him to turn into some sort of prince charming, and all the poor woman gets is Meat Loaf

  7. Eoin Says:

    Haha… yeah, but of a bum deal for the heroine alright. Just watched it again there myself for the first time in 16 year.

    I suppose, in fairness to Meat (or the ‘Loaf or whatever his nickname was), there is something to be said for the utter preposterousness of the whole thing.

  8. Cormac Says:

    As if “Meatloaf” isn’t nickname enough.

    After 16 years of playing the martyer, I cant believe you buckled so easily on that video now, nostalgia in action!

  9. Colin Says:

    La Roux is also a big fan of Gary Glitter apparantly but the random musing of “it would be disappointing if I suddenly found out that Annie Lennox was racist” is golden.

    Cut to shot of Annie Lennox sitting on a couch yelling “What the fuck did I do to you?”

  10. Eoin Says:

    @ Cormac – Yeah, but I don’t remember anyone saying, ‘Come on Eoin, you’ve got to admire the guy’s chutzpah and willingness to appear ridiculous…’

    It was just ‘Meatloaf is bloody deadly!’

    @ Colin – Gary Glitter, eh? Well, in that case maybe it’s not false nostalgia, maybe she just has a woeful taste in music.

  11. DD Says:

    Anyone else think its odd that the incredibly attractive woman is worried about meatloaf cheating on HER…

  12. Eoin Says:

    Come on DD, this is Meat’ we’re talking about (or possibly the ‘Loaf, the jury is out.)

    Incidentally, just out of interest, why are you called DD?

  13. DD Says:

    @ Eoin – they’re my initials… LOL! And I’m male. Sorry!!

  14. Eoin Says:

    @ DD – no, I know that. I have a friend called Dave Davidson and I was just wondering were you him. Why, what did you think I meant?

  15. kev Says:

    Heres a test of your love for ‘Loaf.
    http://www.sporcle.com/games/Barbaloot/meatloaf

  16. ChrisNoise Says:

    Is it just me or does the police guy that gets run over between 1.33-1.36 look like Mark Wahlberg?

    @ Eoin – I think he meant that DD was related to the size of a ladies bosom

  17. Eoin Says:

    @ Chris – I know, I don’t really have a friend called Dave Davidson – I was joking!

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