Do you want to know the secret to a good relationship from someone who knows? Trust? Nope. Physical attraction? N’uh uh. Strong communication. Hell no! The secret to a loving companionship is common pop-culture references. There is nothing I find more attractive than holding a conversation about teen-prostitute ‘Tiny’ from the 1984 Seattle documentary Streetwise or discussing favourite characters from Jayce and the Wheeled warriors the French/ Japanese sci-fi cartoon (my vote goes to Saw Boss in his humanoid form). These things define us and if someone can’t relate to the life lessons I learnt from the Dark Crystal then the chances are they can’t relate to me.
Beginning at the beginning; the things we share from childhood (Captain Planet, Alex Mack, Zelda, Point Horror) often help shape our moral compasses or at least world view and provide us with the sense of a shared upbringing. Becoming nostalgic about them (Were-Bears, Teddy Ruxpin, David the Gnome, Boglins) becomes another tool in the regression back into a child-like state that goes beyond the usual spoon feeding and pawing that couples enjoy so much. This nostalgia is so powerful because of the huge investment that we, as children, make in cartoons (The Mysterious Cities of Gold, Dogtanian and the Three Muskerhounds) and imaginary worlds that we create assisted by plastic figures (He-Man, M.A.S.K., The Real Ghostbusters).
Nothing makes my heart flutter more than knowing that the mistakes I made in my early teens (Sublime, Nose Piercing, Reel Big Fish) were made, completely independently, by someone who I could now duet the whole of No Fronts by Dog Eat Dog with. Shared pop-culture references suggest that, not only do you get on now but you would have gotten on in 1996. I find great comfort in that even if I no longer wear my hair in braids. Shared embarrassment is a great bonder! The music, books, films, video games et al. we consume say so much about us and even if I don’t choose to put my Smashmouth record on, the fact that I once did has shaped me.
In the internet-age it is now fantastically easy to immerse yourself in the nichest of niches. Sub-sub-sub-sub-genres of music and cinema have scattered the Townie vs. Grunger divide of my school years into barely distinguishable pockets. I only just found out that a few of the bands I have been listening to recently (Washed Out, Best Coast, Neon Indian) belong to a genre that someone somewhere has classified ‘Glo-Fi’. Whatever… I just like it. It is worlds apart from the mail order punk catalogues in the back of fanzines that a seventeen year old me would obsess over. Studied and researched pop-culture is, of course, very important to me and truthfully what a lot of my relationships with friends and ‘other’ revolve around. I am a borderline obsessive blog trawler but nothing get’s my mojo working more than that knowing nod of recognition when I reference something that I thought I was the only one who remembered.