Sunday, October 8, 2017

Uncovered 90's! Pics of My High School Years Bedroom

Let it be known - I was remarkably square in high school.  I don't want to over or undersell anything here.

But a kid's room is a timecapsule - not just of a time, but of what was going on and how things intersect.  As near as I can tell from other pics in the stack, these are from some point between Christmas and Prom of 1993.  If the other pics in the pack were taken at the same time, I have reason to think it's Christmas break of 1992.

My folks were incredibly lax about what I did with my room, which was on the second story of our house.  It was in the front, had a big window I never opened, and had a vaulted ceiling, which was kind of nuts.

At some point I just started tacking and stapling stuff to my walls, and by the time I graduated, one wall was pretty well covered and the opposite was getting there.

All this was taken down unceremoniously circa 1995 when I'd left for college and my parents had some visitors with a kid who "couldn't sleep in my room".  Apparently they found it "scary".

In theory some of the contents were preserved during the re-do of my room, but they didn't survive the purging of my old stuff pending the sale of my folks' house before they moved to Austin.

most of high school I was riddled with acne, so I don't know how I look so fresh-faced here


Above, I appear to be handing a hairbrush to the camera person, who was probably my brother (since I'm looking them face-to-face and was 6'3 or 6'4 at this point).  I don't remember owning that shirt, but it's been almost 25 years.  I thought that was Zippy the Pinhead on the shirt, but it's not.  I have no idea.  But the fact I would wear that shirt then...  yeah, I was super edgy, man.

Some highlights back there include *a lot* of Jane's Addiction imagery, an ad for the seminal indie comic "BratPack" and an image of the cast of Cheers my pal Peabo had gifted me (Peabo loved Cheers, and it was the only show of the era I watched which was intended for adults and that wasn't a rerun of something a decade or two out of date).  Tucked in the middle there, I see some material for Mom-Music star "Enya", whom I remember liking.  Dangerously close to images of Public Enemy.

I also see Siouxsie, Lush, Pearl Jam, and I am pleased to see The KLF was up there.

A lot of the stuff was clipped from Spin and Rolling Stone - in a pre-internet era, I had subscriptions to both to keep up with the scene, man.  Some stuff was picked up at local record shops (this was Spring, TX, north of Houston), some from Inner Sanctum in Austin.   I'm now beginning to understand why I was always broke.

if it looks like I'm saying "what...?" - that was the perpetual expression on my face from age 13 to age 24

So, the opposite wall was movie stars and whatnot.  There's a Jodie Foster picture, Greta Garbo (I have a hard time believing I knew who Garbo was circa 1993, but I believe that's her), a lot of Marilyn Monroe and the Mel Gibson "Hamlet".  And Brando.   I *think* that's Laura Dern over my shoulder, but can't remember.  Watching over me on the ceiling, Ms. Siouxsie Sioux.   The blank spot was where (I remember distinctly) I'd taken down a poster to give to a friend in Austin.

What's interesting is that I believed myself to be keeping it classy as I didn't have posters of Kathy Ireland or Christie Brinkley on my wall, but I wasn't exactly keeping it on the downlow the way I thought I was.

You can't make it out very well, but there's also a pic of a friend who somehow ended up modeling for "Sassy" for an issue.  No idea where she wound up.

Behind me, a subway poster for Jane's Addiction's first album.  This poster was deeply controversial within our household for reasons I did not - and do not - understand.

The reason the wall was painted blue: I punched a hole in the wall* (because teen-age years) and my dad made me patch it under his supervision.  The patch job was terrible, so we tried to cover it up a bit with a layer of paint.  I don't remember painting the wall, but maybe I did.  Probably not - I am terrible at painting walls.

You won't see much superhero stuff up as this period was the nadir of my comics-reading after jumping in at the age of 12.  My money was going to food, record stores, movies and not comics.  I wasn't in to the post-Claremont X-launch and Batman was at a bit of a post-1989 hangover.  It would be April or May of 1993 that I'd pick up an issue of Sandman on a lark and get back into the habit (always thank Karen Berger for saving comics for me).  People talk about the 90's and comics a lot, but to me, it was all about the emergence of Vertigo and how that rippled outward.  I was vaguely aware of foil covers and all that, but wasn't paying much attention.

Scandal!  Lady in the bedroom!
I was in college before I realized it was a big deal for guys to have a girl in their room.  Our house had sort of an open door policy, so at any time, friends - male or female - were coming and going.  That was just the sort of place The Karebear and Admiral ran.  I suppose if things got too quiet they would have worried, but we were a loud group of kids.

That's teen-Peabo on the left and my eventual Prom Date sitting on the foot of the bed.  Terrific girl but prom was a dud - I think my folks had more fun manning the Moon Bounce at Project Prom than I had that night.  She lives in the wilds of North Houston these days.  Peabo is, I am positive, juggling something.  He was always tossing something fragile around and making me nervous.

This picture is a mess, but you can see a My Bloody Valentine "Loveless" poster if you look carefully right past my face - and that's the street cred I'm looking to earn here today.  I had also secured some mirrored candle-holders and had them up in my room, and, man, those things lit the place up.  If you were a moody teen listening to some This Mortal Coil, you could light those babies and really fall into a well of self-pity/ loathing.  I was so good at that.

Anyway, we tend to think of *everything* being on the internet, but that's not really true.  Even where I've found archives of Rolling Stone articles from the era, they didn't include the photos or all of the photos.  Good luck finding an archive of full issues of defunct but once popular magazines like Sassy.

Kudos to my folks for letting me have my own space and not being weird about me doing my own thing.  And letting me have basically the second floor to myself when Jason was away at school.  And letting me burn open flames in your house - I'm not sure you knew I was doing that.  Anyway.

Also, I don't want my friends in my bedroom anymore.  Please stay out.  You may use the living room.



*Here's the thing: punching a hole in a wall is an incredibly stupid thing to do.  It was only after removing hand from wall that I realized I'd magically managed not to slam my knuckles into a stud and break my hand.  And, rather than being upset over whatever else was going on, now I had to fess up about having had punched a hole in my folks' house.  Never ends well.

6 comments:

mcsteans said...

I think by the time we had started dating your mother had replaced your posters with your old artwork from high school. Which, while not the look you were going for here, was kind of a neat idea. I enjoyed looking at it.

And while I'm sure I've heard the story before, I can't recall what actually lead to your fist going through the wall. I'm glad you have not done that in this house.

Ryan Steans said...

Emotional immaturity, a 6'3" frame and lady-troubles. Not angry at someone, but angry about something. High school!

So, no. No fists through walls since.

RHPT said...

This post reminds me of the good ol' LoM days.

Ryan Steans said...

Well, I hope that's a positive

Fantomenos said...

A question I like to ask people is: "What was the last band that affected you when you were young and naive enough to think they were speaking directly to you, and you understand them on a different level than the millions of other people who listen to them?"

For me there's an obvious answer: Jane's Addiction. That 2nd album was just unstoppable.

Most of my just-slightly-younger friends say NiN, and a little younger you'll see Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, etc.

Ryan Steans said...

I don't know if I'd describe my relationship to Jane's Addiction in exactly those terms, but it's close enough. I was the younger brother, and so I was introduced to Jane's Addiction (and a host of bands) via my brother, and my brother's network. So I suppose I would have stopped short at thinking there was anything unique about me and that band. I think I genuinely associated liking a band with a sort of secret handshake more than "my thing" because I so seldom was first in. But I do remember finding out friends weren't going to tolerate Jane's Addiction and kind of being a bit smug about it (and definitely dismissing their complaints).

That said, I certainly remember the phenomenon. Especially when I moved from Austin to Spring and had a few occasions where I'd attempt to talk about a band with someone I'd learned was a fan and they'd shut me down, making it clear "this is my band and you don't get them." Which, of course, any concert experience will tell you "that is not how this works".

I liked Pretty Hate Machine well, but just wasn't angry enough for long enough to feel NiN was *my* band, and at some point (Closer) I just thought they'd become a parody of themselves. I liked Nirvana okay, but hadn't heard of them prior to seeing them on 120 minutes just as Nevermind was released. Still, I wasn't all that into what they were doing and still wonder what people would really have thought of them had they not had such a dramatic ending.

Smashing Pumpkins I saw live a couple times and they've got a place in my heart. And they put on a great show. I'll still listen to a single here or there, but they were so huge so fast...

What I really remember was the overnight co-option of College Rock with the label "Alternative" and suddenly it was a product. Which culminated in me standing behind a counter at Camelot records in 1997 and two high school girls coming in and asking me to settle a bet: should Jimi Hendrix be categorized as "Alternative"?

I kicked them out and told them they could come back when understood why that question was nonsense.

I think about the "would I have gone berserk for this band in a different way if I heard them when I was 14 or 15?" from time to time, and I think I would have been insufferable about the first two or three Arcade Fire records.