Since 2011, I have been running various series of interviews with pop culture figures of the 1970s and 1980s—people whose names you never knew but whose roles you vividly remember, from the songwriters and singers behind the Scooby-Doo theme to girls who appeared in iconic music videos during MTV’s heydecade.
When I started this blog in 2008, I didn’t plan to include this kind of feature. But I’m glad the idea came to me, and I think there is a certain combination of factors that have made it both possible and well-received:
- I’m old enough to have gained the perspective to want to document this era.
- I gained this perspective while many of the people I want to profile are still with us.
- Many of the people I want to profile are still young enough (i.e. in their seventies or slightly younger) to have a social network presence and/or to regularly email, which sometimes (but not always) makes them easier to reach.
- Many of the people I want to profile have not been in the public eye since the digital age began, so there is little or nothing already online about them (I like telling stories that no one else has).
- Although plenty of people are (often exuberantly) interested in such content, there is no better outlet for it than the Internet. Mainstream magazines typically don’t run such interviews because they see the topics as too niche or too nostalgic (plus the magazine industry is shrinking by the day); some widely-read pop culture sites (Yahoo, USA Today’s Pop Candy, AV Club, Nerve) have been interested in covering the material but may not want to run it in its original form because the long-ish interviews may seem too detailed for the typical web reader (though my readers are proving that wrong!).
- It turns out that I have a knack in tracking down people, even those with little trace online (whether due to age, disinterest, or privacy settings).
Ten years ago, it would have been much harder to find people online. Ten years from now, many more of the people I seek will no longer be around.
To me, the time is always right for nostalgia. But this time is especially right.