1. Corleone
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    Corleone Member

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    The 80's

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Corleone, Apr 3, 2007.

    Ok, the novel I'm writing takes place over a couple of decades and begins in the mid 80's. Unfortunatley, I wasn't born intill 1994 so am completely dumb to the period.
    Any little things you 80's kids know? The style, slang, music, and quite importantly what businesses were around then? Like banks and food brands ect.
    Oh and it is set in England.
    Anything will be a great help. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Corleone
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    Corleone Member

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    Ahh, thanks!
    Hehe, I knew about Maggie thatcher.

    I can get things from my parents but their patience wears thin with constant 80's questions!
     
  3. Corleone
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    Corleone Member

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    Haha, I'm sure that isn't illegal!
    Meh, I can move on to my uncle if all else fails.
     
  4. TWErvin2
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    Corleone,

    Bits and pieces of information are a good place to start, but certainly not enough to fill a section of a novel where the action took place in the 1980s.

    You'll have to try several things, and probably a combination. Here are a few suggestions that came to mind:

    1. Interview several folks from different backgrounds (preferably from the part of the country where the action took place). Record the interviews if possible and take notes.

    2. Go to the libarary, and see if they archive old magazines (University libraries might be better). That will give you a feel for what was going on (depending on the magazines you go through). Take notes. Also, the advertisements will give you a clue as to what was happening and what businesses were active/new innovations (magazine advertisements).

    3. Watch a few old movies that were produced in the 1980, about characters in the 1980s. Listen to the language for the slang, watch the billboards and what was being worn, what seemed important. Take notes as you go to help remind you later on when you're writing.

    You'll want to approach this in an organized and comprehensive fashion, I suspect. It can be narrowed by the characters, region, setting, action that takes place, etc.

    You can bounce a few questions off me if you like, either here or in PMs. I graduated from high school in the early 1980s and may have a few things that would help you get focused and started.

    Terry
     
  5. Sayso
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    Sayso Contributing Member

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    I was around in the eighties but I was still quite young. If you have any specific questions I'd be glad to try and help. I'm in the right country too.
     
  6. Evelyn
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    Evelyn Senior Member

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    [The following is based upon my own memories, opinions, and perceptions. Please feel free to disagree, but I don't really much care to argue about them.]

    I'm in the "wrong" country :), and spent most of the '80's being held prisoner in an Ivory Tower while the evil minions of the University of California transformed me into a Five-Alarm Nerd. However -


    Movies:
    Watch "This Is Spinal Tap" for a very accurate send-up of the early '80's (Derek's girlfriend is *so* like Olivia Newton John it hurts).

    "The Wedding Singer" is an '80's nostalgia piece, and probably a good intro to the decade.


    Music:
    (In a word, awful).
    Beatles gone. Simon & Garfunkel not on speaking terms. Stones stoned (or something). John Bonham choked to death on (someone-or-other's) vomit, knocking the beat out from under Led Zep. Jefferson Airplane became Jefferson Starship. America wept.

    Disco was *huge.*

    Classic rock was born as a genre: anyone within shouting distance of a radio could not escape "Freebird" and "Stairway to Heaven."

    Heavy Metal slipped into Headbanger territory: AC/DC, Bad Company, Black Sabbath. Ozzie Osborne bit the head off a live bat onstage. Foreigner and Van Halen were at the top of the charts.

    Eventually we got a few reasons to live: Blondie, The Talking Heads, The Replacements, The Ramones, & The Cars. Britain sent over audio CARE packages with Elvis Costello & The Clash.


    TV:
    All I can give you is watching "Dynasty" once a week with my mom while I was at her place doing my laundry. At each commercial break, I would suggest the most trite and cliche plot development I could think of, and it was invariably what happened next on the show. This convinced my mother that her daughter was a brilliant screenwriter :)


    Politics:
    Ronald Reagan. Reaganomics. The Evil Empire. Cold War. Arms Race. Mutual Assured Destruction. There was an ICBM called the "Peacemaker," but public outrage forced renaming of the ICBM originally named the "Corpus Christi."

    To call someone a "communist" was a nasty insult. To call them a "socialist" was to imply that they were really a communist, but you weren't ready to say that out loud - not just yet.

    We in the US were still picking the shards and splinters of Vietnam out of our faces, and so publicly took on only wars we knew we win: Grenada. Lebanon (there was a big "oops!" on that one)(241 Oopses, in fact). Bombing Libya (& missing Khaddaffi).

    I'd been running around busily getting ready to fly home for Thanksgiving one year, and it was only at the airport that I finally got a chance to look at a newspaper -
    Sufferin' Succotash! We were at war! When did *that* happen?
    (...turned out it had happened Tuesday. Noriega had been captured and the fighting mostly finished before the last of the leftover turkey was gone.)

    Any place the US couldn't just stomp on, the CIA found the nastiest gang around and paid them handsomely to fight for us: the Khmer Rouge, the Contras, the Mujahaddin in Afghanistan, the mercenaries in Angola, and a few more bad guys in a few other places I either don't remember or never knew about.

    We were still sore over that whole Iranian Revolution thing, what with the oil revenue and the Hostage Crisis and all, and so the Enemy of our Enemy was our friend - yup, Saddam was one of our bestest buddies as long as he just hammered on his own people and the Iranians next door. That Kuwait thing kind of stuck in our collective craw, though.


    In the rest of the world ("Yes, Virginia, the US may be the Yankee-Doodlest country in the world, but other countries do exist):

    Margaret Thatcher was messing around with Britain in what seemed from here like a flat-out Reagan impersonation.

    She even found a tiny little war to fight with gigantic fanfare, over some heavily penguinated rocks in the South Atlantic (why they were worth the bother, to Britain or Argentina, I never did understand).

    A not-so-tiny, very nasty war continued in Northern Ireland; with bombings, Sniper Alleys, and a dizzying array of acronyms (IRA, PIRA, RUC, ROI, etc).

    (The IRA did help further prove that irony is the strongest force in the universe by setting off a bomb that wiped out part of downtown Manchester, clearing a great deal of urban blight and preparing the ground for urban renewal, which has subsequently made Manchester a much more livable city.)


    The Soviet Union got Perestroika, then Glasnost, and then finally collapsed under its own weight. The Warsaw Pact countries got a welder from Gdansk (Lec(sp?) Walensa, founder of the Solidarity movement) who induced brittle fracture in the Iron Curtain. The Berlin Wall was pulled down & turned into souvenir paperweights.


    China was rocked by the Tien A Men(sp?) Square Incident in 1989.


    Vietnam struggled under global economic sanctions and became mind-bogglingly poor. "Boat People" paid thousands of dollars to try to escape on overloaded vessels, often drowning, being raided by pirates, being sent to Thai refugee camps, or sometimes even returned to Vietnam.


    South Korea & Taiwan (& a couple other East Asian Countries I'm forgetting) were transformed by roaring economic growth.


    Apartheid was going strong in South Africa, with Archbishop Desmond Tutu on speaking tour, Nelson Mandela in jail with half the rest of the ANC, and suspected collaborators getting "necklaced" in the townships every night.

    Millions of people died all over Africa, from famine, really nasty wars, or some combination of the two.


    Pop Culture:
    Some British guy got married. Since he happened to be the Prince of Wales, a worldwide fuss was made.

    I had friends who stayed up until (I think it was 4 am Pacific Time) to watch the Royal Wedding live. (I saw it on a videotape running in the background at a party not long after.) The glass coach and the wedding dress with a train long enough to carry passengers were oohed and pooh-poohed by the same people at the same time.

    A fervent debate over whether Diana was really smart enough to marry into the Royal Family, and whether her attractiveness genes would be sufficient to overcome the "ears problem," died off so suddenly that some suspected there had been some Royal decree stating: "We Will Like Diana."
    (Said decree seems to have been reversed in the early 1990's).

    Whether Americans should get so worked up over someone else's Royal Family also became a matter of debate, and it was suggested that maybe that the US should have some sort of Royals, too. Then everyone took a quick look at Ronnie & Nancy (Reagan) and realized that that would be superfluous.


    There was a new Pope, too, and this one hadn't read the part of the Pope Manual that restricts them to sitting around the Vatican making up rules for Catholics to follow. He went everywhere; and, in the US at least, inspired a Papal Souvenir industry. The lowest this stooped may have been "Pope-On-A-Rope": shower soap with a cord molded in so you could hang it around your neck for convenience, in the shape of His Holiness himself (the cord loop came out of the top of his miter).


    Technology:
    Answering machines, VCRs, Sony Walkmen , and Compact disc cam into existence. Chips went solid-state and got small.

    The mainframe vs. desktop wars started and ended. Mainframes lost, desktops won.

    IBM went from being the Computer Company to a pretty reliable source of photocopiers. Some company called Apple introduced a thing called a "mouse." Some alpha-geek-type guys in Menlo Park messed around with connecting their desktops up in some sort of "net" or "web" thingo.


    Aside from that, like I say, I pretty much missed the '80's ;)


    - Evelyn the garrulous


    PS. I'll happily try to answer any specific '80's questions you have :)
     
  7. Corleone
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    Corleone Member

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    Wow, thanks Evelyn, that is brilliant!
    That will surely help my story an awful lot.


    The story that I'm writing has a lot to do with organized crime and I know this is pushing it but, anyone have anything they can share about that back in the 80's?
    I've researched this aspect of it a lot anyway but any addition information will help.
     
  8. Evelyn
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    Evelyn Senior Member

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    Wow, did they even have organized crime in the '80's?

    I kind of thought that big business and their buddies in gov't had cornered the market on crime for that decade :)

    (And there's no crime in Britain anyway, right? - that's why the police get to go unarmed ;) ;) ;)


    Okay, now I'm on the wrong side of the wrong country - most of the mafia-type stuff in the US seems to go on within a few hundred miles of the Atlantic seaboard.

    My impression is that the big mafia families in the US were mostly keeping a low profile right about then: the FBI had finally gotten somewhere with putting the biggest kingpins in jail or driving them underground.

    This was the period when some of the remanants of the Black Panthers were evolving into what became the Crips, and other inner-city gangs such as the Bloods arose in competition (and, some say, in response to the new market for drug distribution, now that the US now longer had a sizable number of people flying to and from SE Asia on a regular basis.)
    Crack (the drug, not the conversation) came in in the eighties, further driving the drug & gang market.


    That's just about more than I know.

    - Evelyn
     
  9. Domoviye
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    Domoviye Contributing Member

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    Wiki is actually has a decent bit of info on the 80's. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eighties
    It doesn't have anything really dealing with crime, but it will show you a bare outline of the more important things that came out of the 80's.

    Also the US didn't support the Khmer Rouge. They didn't really want anything to do with that part of the world at that time.
    And most of the Vietnamese boat people were fleeing the Communists.

    Good luck with your story.
     
  10. Evelyn
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    Evelyn Senior Member

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    Yes, we did.

    I was wrong in implying that the CIA was handing over money to the Khmer Rouge by the bucketful, but we did back them:

    From en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khmer_Rouge:

    "...[In] December 1978, .... Pol Pot, fearing a Vietnamese attack, ordered a pre-emptive invasion of Vietnam. His Cambodian forces crossed the border and looted nearby villages. Despite American and Chinese aid, these Cambodian forces were repulsed by the Vietnamese." [emphases added by me]

    Okay, so 1978 does not fall strictly within the 1980's :)
    But, from the same Wikipedia article -

    "The Vietnamese forces then invaded Cambodia, capturing Phnom Penh on January 7, 1979. ...the Khmer Rouge retreated west, and it continued to control an area near the Thai border for the next decade. It was unofficially protected by elements of the Thai Army..."

    And who was openly providing the Thai government with massive amounts of economic and military aid? Good old Uncle Sam.

    The Khmer Rouge were recognized as the legitimate government of Cambodia until the very late 1980's or early 1990's. I have personally participated in more than a few arguments that went along the lines of:

    "But the Khmer Rouge are genocidal criminals who we know have killed millions of their own citizens -"
    "Yes, but at least they're not communists!"


    Lots of Americans didn't. (Lots of Americans hadn't wanted much to do with that part of the world for 10 or 20 years, at least.)

    But once you've spent 13 years, 50,000 lives, and umpty-billion dollars somewhere, it's kind hard to just declare victory and cut loose.

    There were the political refugees, including whole Montangard tribes whom we'd promised to take care and then left to the communists' wrath. There was (and to some extent remains) the POW/MIA question. There was the political maelstrom we'd helped create in Laos & Cambodia, and had lingering involvement with and responsibliity for.

    And the extent to which US covert activities continued into, if not beyond, the 1980s has never been fully made clear - even less so to me.


    Right, any wholesale summary of global activity over a 10-year period is likely to skim over a few points :)

    I didn't mean to say that the Vietnamese Boat people *weren't* fleeing the Communists: they were.

    But separating the impetuous of the brutally repressive political regime from the impetuous of brutal poverty in a nation decimated by war is a distinction I've never been able to draw.

    (However, the US Dept of State has no such difficulty: those deemed political refugees got to settle in the US in the tens of thousands, while those deemed economic refugees went to the refugee camps in Thailand by the hundreds of thousands.)


    An old Soviet bloc joke tells of an exchange of telegrams between the Vietnamese and Soviet governments:

    Hanoi to Moscow: Economic and supply conditions dire. Please send aid.

    Moscow to Hanoi: Sorry unable to send aid. Please tighten belts.

    Hanoi to Moscow: Please send belts.


    - Evelyn
     
  11. Sayso
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    Sayso Contributing Member

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    www.crimeandsociety.org.uk/articles/renewalaug06.html

    I don't know if this link will work (if not then copy and paste). Although it does initially say it's for 2006, it does start from the 1980's.

    Here's another interesting one:
    www.earlymodernweb.org.uk/embiblios/emcrimebib.htm


    I went on quite a way with the search but didn't really find much I thought would be any help. Hopefully those two will start you off.

    Evelyn's input is amazing!
     
  12. Corleone
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    Corleone Member

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    Wow, I'm extremely grateful for everyones contrabutions to this! I haven't read all the stuff everyones given me but I will do so when I have a little more time.

    Haha, for the last month I have been reading up about all the old Italian gangsters, Al Capone, Frank Costello, Lucky Lucanio, The Bonnano Family, christ even the whole Frank Sanatra conspiracy I know. Unfortunately, they all ruled in the 40s,50s,60s.
    My mum thinks I'm a complete freak for getting so into all this. We moved away because of gangs around our town (a gang leader was our neightbour but he was infact a really nice guy, to me anyway) so she gets angry at me sometimes for googling mafia things.

    Anyway, I am truly greatful.

    Haha, Evelyn, course there is no crime in Britain *wink, wink*
     
  13. Evelyn
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    Evelyn Senior Member

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    See, everyone's too busy drinking tea and saying "Right then, old chap. Cheerio." And then there's the soporific subliminal effects of watching "Coronation Street." ;) ;) ;)


    Okay, so now we've narrowed down the research field:

    You want to know about organized crime activity in Britain during the period 1981-1990.

    Most municipal or university libraries will have at least some info on this, and reference librarians to help you find it. (Your school library may have some, but probably not much.)


    On-line, you can always start with Wikipedia.

    In the US, what you would want would be the FBI National Crime Statistics. The UK equivalent of the FBI is Scotland Yard? or MI5? - something like that.

    A lot of it will be pretty dry, tabulations of arrests, prosecutions, convictions, etc. But there's juicy old crimes behind those numbers, often referenced in footnotes.

    Over here, a lot of reportage on anti-mafia investigations was in magazines like "Reader's Digest." Your school librarian should be able to help you figure out how to use magazine article indexing services, which may turn up lots of good info.

    (Newspapers have the most info, but are not usually indexed at all.)


    Let's look at this from your mum's point of view. She went to all the trouble to move you away from gang activity, and now you (may seem to her to be) running right back to it.

    Your mum probably didn't tell you everything at the time you moved (in the history of mankind, I don't think any parent has ever told a child everything about the difficult choices made for the child in question). She may have thought that Mr. Nicey Gangster was trying to groom you for later recruitment.

    (I don't know that he was, but have never personally heard of a gang leader being nice to some random kid for any other reason.)

    I'd recommend that you try talking to your mum. (If possible, find a moment when she's not busy doing a dozen other things, and) tell her about the book you want write, that it's about gangsters but it's all fiction, and that you have no plans or intentions of getting involved with gangs in any non-fictional way. (If that last part isn't true, by the way, I personally will come across the pond and slap some sense into you big-time.)


    If you have a sympathetic History or Social Studies teacher, see if you can do a school project on some part of this (it can be a lot like hard work, so you might as well get credit for it if you can). You may even be able to get math credit for figuring out all those crime statistics.

    And "I'm doing a school project" will get a kid all sorts of credit with adults, where "I want to learn all about crime" won't :)

    (I'm too goody-two-shoes to tell you to go ahead and say this even if you're not doing a school project. But I'm not too goody-two-shoes to point out that you could :)


    One final note: if you're not already aware of them, you may want to check out the meteoric rise and fall of the '80's band "Frankie Goes To Hollywood." I don't remember any of their music, but they had a couple really great t-shirts :)


    - Evelyn
     
  14. Corleone
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    Corleone Member

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    Thanks again Evelyn, I'm going to the library at the weekend so I'll read up on a few things. My head will probably hurt, but it will make the story better.

    About the whole Mr Niceguy gangster thing, when I was 9 or 10 me and his little boy were best friends and of course then I had no idea what he was. To me he was that guy who smoked cigars and had the nice car. He took me and his little boy out sometimes, to the Lake and stuff. Then I wasn't allowed to play with the boy anymore, I had no-idea why.
    I still saw the man, he smiled at me and asked how my mum was and I told him I wasn't allowed to play with his son anymore. He was quite smypathetic but said he understood and told me his little boy was missing me but that my mum was probably right.
    Then he moved out, got a huge house outside town, but he never sold the other house. A few months later there was a shooting in that house and I never saw the little boy or his father ever again. Whether he died I don't know but as my understanding has grew I have become curious. And I hope my old friend is ok.
    That "Niceguy gangster" (I wont say his real name) was part of an organized crime gang called the Wards and just before I moved they were raging a war against a new gang.

    Don't worry, I admit curiousity in how you could live like that, but would never consider it myself. I've seen too many movies where the bad guy dies, and I've seen too many "Gangland War: Shootings" on the front page of my local papers to be stupid enough as to join one of these mafia cults.

    My mum reads what I wrote and asks me if what I'm writing really happened back where we used to live. Sometimes it's a yes (or at least what I picked up from rumours) but most of it is completely fiction, including the characters.

    My story isn't glorifying the way of life, in fact the two main charcters, one goes completely crazy and the other looses everything, his father, his wife, his job.
    The 80's bit is how the main character is dragged into this world that he grew up around.

    Anyway, thanks for all your input, I'm grateful.
     
  15. Evelyn
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    Evelyn Senior Member

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    Oh, man, that's tough all around. It hadn't occurred to me that you might have been friends with his kid, or even that he might have had a kid.
    (Doh! Has watching "The Sopranos" done *nothing* for me? :)

    (OTOH, maybe your mum wasn't so much worried about you getting recruited as about you getting shot.)

    I wonder if you could find out by Googling him, or even just "Wards" and the name of your old town. (To avoid freaking your mum out, you might want to go do this while online at the library.)


    I wasn't very worried - there's hardly any point in making threats like that if one might actually have to carry them out ;)

    Sound like a pretty cool mum (she worries, but that's an occupational hazard of being a mum), and a pretty cool story - fiction with a toehold on reality has that much more depth and meaning :)


    BTW, your screen name made me think of a piece Sarah Vowell (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarah_Vowell) did on going to Sicily to visit the birthplace of the mafia, but never quite summoning up the (whatever) to visit the village of Corleone itself. I'm not sure which of her books or radio pieces that's in, but you might start with "Take The Cannoli," which is titled after the line from "The Godfather." :)


    - Evelyn
     
  16. Corleone
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    Corleone Member

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    Yeah, me and the kid were like two peas in a pod for a while.
    I remember once having a foam fight (washing up foam) with the little boy and the Mr Niceguy gangster. It was weird because I'd never done that before (my dad died when I was real young and my mum was never the playful type)
    It's strange how someone so close to you can be such a... bad guy.

    Haha, I never watched The Sopranos. My step-dad did though and really loved it, is it any good??

    Yeah, the fact that I was so close to the little boy frightened my mum when she found out who his father was. I'm a girl so I doubt I'd of been "recruited" as such, but my mum said she was frightened that I could end up being "Married to the Mob" haha.


    I think I'm gonna google him. I'm not sure whether the Wards were *are* powerful enough to be on the internet but you never know... I hope he's not, well, dead.

    Haha, true. But if I'm ever approached by a criminal organization and offered a job, I'll bear your threat in mind!

    My mum is very understanding and although she isn't too happy with the theme of my story, she's very encouraging.
    And I'm not just writing a gangster story because of some movie, I'm writing one because I grew up around it and it was- unfortunately- a part of my childhood. When I showed a rough-draft to my teacher, he thought I was a complete freak and didn't even read it when he found out what it was about. I hate him, he's a terrible english teacher.

    Oh, thats interesting, thanks.
    Haha, when I joined this forum I was reading the discription of Corleone in "The Godfather" (when Michael has to hide there) and thought it a befitting name. Now I've finished the book, it seems rather redundant haha. Meh, it's a cool sir name.

    I'll be sure to look out for that "Take the Cannoli"
    Thanks again
     
  17. Evelyn
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    Evelyn Senior Member

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    It's absolutely excellent, better than you would expect any TV show (and many films) to be. And it's mostly about the flip side of what you were saying above, the strangeness of being a very bad guy who loves his wife and kids.

    At least once there's a sequence where somebody that Tony Soprano (the mob boss) has worked with and trusted for years has to be "whacked." Tony gives the order and sees it carried out - and then sits down and mourns the loss of his friend and colleague.

    And there are all sorts of other well-drawn complexities on that level. I watch it whenever I can, and (outside the purposes of this thread :) I generally couldn't care less about the Mafia.

    But your mom may not like your watching it much. The language is just about as bad as can be imagined, and there's some frontal nudity. Tony's main "office" is in the back room of a topless bar, and the topless women in the topless bar walk around topless a lot. That's very daring over here.

    By British standards the violence may be worse, and it is plentiful and graphic. Lots of people get beat up, and many people get killed.
    (IMO, if you're going to have violence at all, it should be graphic enough to show that people bleed and vomit and gibber in pain when they're badly beat up, rather than just falling gracefully and tragically to the floor. But your mom's opinion is what counts here.)


    Sounds like you've got a really great mom :)

    That's one of the very best reasons to write something.

    Lately, I've been fiddling with a project (or maybe two) about the US-Vietnam War, for pretty much the same reason - I grew up around it (or least the news and repercussions of it) and it was- very unfortunately- a part of my childhood.


    Ya know, I'm a middle-aged fuddy-duddy and I'm constantly handing out remarks like "I'll bet your teacher doesn't really hate you, it just might seem that way," or "Cheating really isn't going to help you, especially if you get caught," or the ever-classic "Try talking this over with your mom." :)

    But this guy really does sound like a truly terrible teacher. If he can't even learn your intent and background for the piece (much less read it) before condemning the content, he's probably not really even worth the paper he's printed on.

    You're 13, right? So you're in whatever the UK equivalent of Middle School is. That age group is the most difficult to teach, what with that whole Raging Adolescence thing going on all over the place :)

    So you'd think those grades would get assigned the best teachers, right? ...Wrong.

    Teacher generally prefer to teach any other age group, and so the ones with clout and seniority often wind up teaching lower or higher grades. That's not to say that middle school teachers are all incompetent louts: at least half of the teachers in any middle school I've been familiar with have been very good, effective, caring educators.

    But if I were on scavenger hunt or something and had to find a lousy teacher, a middle school is where I'd look first :)


    When I was in Grade 7, I decided to take a typing class, since it was something I was really bad at and wanted to improve. (This was back when actual mechanical typewriters roamed the earth :)

    Now, it doesn't show on the internet, but I am a sh*t-lousy typist/keyboarder (which is why you won't find me IM'ing). When I was about 1-1/2 years old, there were a series of accidents (whole 'nuther story) that caused blows to the base of my skull, and that permanently messed up my small muscle coordination. I can't play a musical instrument, or twirl a pencil between my fingers, stuff like that.

    But my typing teacher didn't know that. I would labor away at the lessons, making mistakes all over the place and completing half or a third of the assignment while all the other students had finished early. And she would be livid. She would yell at me for not finishing, for making all the mistakes I made, anything and everything.

    I couldn't transfer out of her class for some reason, but one of the other teachers let me use the typing classroom at lunch or after school so that I could at least complete all the assignments. I really wanted to turn in beautiful, perfect work so that I could finally make her happy; but my lessons were always all botched up and corrected and never much more than passable.

    Our final exam was a typing test to determine our words-per-minute typing speed. The top scorer did 84 wpm, the next-to-lowest did about 40 or so.

    I did 11 words per minute.

    Except that I'd made some mistakes, for which a set number of wpm was subtracted from our scores. I had 3 typos at 4 points each, and one capitalization error at 2 points:

    11 - [(4 x 3) + 2] = 11 - 14 = -3

    My official typing score was negative three words per minute.

    But I'd attended every class and turned in every assignment, so she couldn't flunk me: I got a 'C.'
    I have never taken another typing class (and if i don;t corect what ipost beofe i suembit it, it loks likr this :)

    Years later, I found out that, no, that teacher didn't just seem to hate me: she really did hate me.

    She refused to believe that anybody could really be that bad at typing, and so she concluded that I was faking it just to mock her. All that vehemence and vitriol was meant to make me stop being so "insolent" and type like a normal person.

    I probably wouldn't actually strangle her if I got the chance, but I don't mind thinking about it :)


    As to your English teacher, your novel is just plain too good for him.

    Do your assigned work, turn in happy stories about hedgehogs playing with buttercups for fiction and thoughtful essays about the changing role of the Midlands in the UK for non-fiction: and in a few short little excruciating and interminable months the term will be over :)

    (Oh, and do your best not to get him again next year.)


    Another thing you might see if you can get ahold of is the old US TV series "Miami Vice." It was a cop show about drugs and gangs in South Florida, but it was incredibly influential on late 1980's fashion: clothes, music, homes & furniture, all that stuff. (It was on "Miami Vice" that a 2-3 day growth of beard first became a fashion statement :)

    It depicted gangsters (US Floridian gangsters, but still...) and I've read that, while TV and movies try to show gangsters as they are, real gangsters often adopt fashions and mannerisms from gangster depicted in TV and movies, starting as far back as "The Godfather."


    - Evelyn


    (PS. I seem to be posting a lot of stuff to you these days, which probably just goes to show that I'm not getting out enough :)
    However, if your mom would like me to PM or e-mail or something to demonstrate that I really am a 44-year-old woman in Seattle who is only interested in helping you with your story and occasionally dispensing advice that is worth roughly what you paid for it, I would be very happy to do anything within reason.)
     
  18. Domoviye
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    Domoviye Contributing Member

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  19. Evelyn
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    Evelyn Senior Member

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    (I think we may be sort of both arguing towards that same conclusion, but..)

    I will stand corrected.

    - Evelyn, who knows not quite all of everything, and remembers lots of it imperfectly


    (PS. When I was a Teaching Assistant in college, I had a Vietnamese student in one of my labs who had spent four of his teenage years in a re-education camp.

    He needed some extra help because the malnutrition had affected his brain development, and he had a particular difficulty with forming memories (but once he could get something memorized, he had it for good).

    When he first came up to me after class to ask for help, I found myself staring at the extensive acne scarring he had all over both sides of his face from cheekbone to jaw.

    But then I realized they weren't acne scars: they were from lots of little gouges, as if he'd maybe spent a long time with his face pressed down hard into sharp gravel, and then the cuts hadn't healed well.

    I never stared at his scars again - not out of politeness, but because I didn't want to. I did give him an hour of one-on-one tutoring every week after class, and sometimes more during the week. He worked harder than I knew anyone could, and made a 'A' in the class.
    (I'll never know if I might have fudged that grade a little, because he'd very solidly earned it.))
     
  20. Domoviye
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    Domoviye Contributing Member

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    Ok lets both go somewhere down the middle with that. Re-education fears, and with some poverty.
    That must have been an interesting experience. Glad that he pushed himself hard enough to get over all of that.
     
  21. Evelyn
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    Evelyn Senior Member

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    That kid - that man, rather - was amazing. The first time he asked for help, I spent about an hour with him and gave him some reading and other stuff to do for next week's class. We got done about 6 pm.

    The next day, he showed up at my 3 pm office hours with a few questions, but mostly wanting more work - he'd spent most of the intervening time rote-memorizing the reading and working all the dry-lab problems I'd given him for the week.

    I've wanted a few things really very badly in my time, and worked damned hard to get them, but I can't hold a candle to him.

    - Ev
     
  22. Handguns For Hearts
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    Handguns For Hearts Member

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    I need similar help for the '70s. :D
     
  23. Domoviye
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    Domoviye Contributing Member

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    Wiki's a good place to get a very basic overview. It will help you narrow down your search and might even give you a few decent links.
     
  24. Corleone
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    Corleone Member

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    Ahh, it sounds good. Maybe worth watching, for ideas at least.

    In my story I aim not the glorify the life (not that you can glorify murder and living in fear) but I will show its perks. Some of the people who lived in my old town, the bad guys, lived in the most grand houses and went to the most speclacular clubs. Everyone envied them. Even my mum envied them. But of course, the question my main character has to answer is, "Can I live with these riches as a criminal, a murderer?"


    Haha, well, she let me watch Scarface, and if the launguage is worse than that then I'd have to watch at least one episode for proof!
    Oh, and where better for a male to set up his "office" than in a topless bar? Haha, I know many of my male friends (still at 13) would choose a place like that.

    I think, especially in gangster or even war movies, the violence should be bad, and should show the vomitting and blood. Bad for reviews yes but good for the teenagers who think they're invinsivble.
    Have you seen Raging Bull? I can think of more violent movies but, at the end, when the rope is dripping blood and Robert DeNiros face is all smashed up...eww, knocks me sick.
     
  25. Corleone
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    Yeah, she's awesome.

    I admit to knowing little about the Vietnam war (haven't covered it in history classes yet:) but, any war must be difficult to grow up with. I'm sure it will be a great story that I'd love to read *hint, hint*


    Hehe, I get those remarks from my aunty :)

    He is pure evil! (I know I sound my age there)
    I said to him in private, (I don't really tell people about where I used to live, or that I write at all) that I'd wrote a story and I'd like him to read it and see if it has potential. I then, with a lot of nervous umming and arring, told him about the content, the bad launguage and ended up spilling my heart out to the guy about my neightbour, hearing the guns ect. Guess what he did? Gave me the longest, coldest, soul crushing stare I've ever recieved. I felt as small as an ant. Then he lectured me for a long time about violence and organized crime (a load of stuff I'd just explained to him that I knew from experiance) and dismissed me. I was so clsoe to tears, I felt like a freak for knowing about that sort of thing.
    Anyway, my mother ended up convincing me it was best it I handed it in despite what he said, so that he could see that I had tallent in writing. So I did. The teacher glanced at it, saw the title (Machine Gun) and gave it back to me and said he didn't want to read a story about such a violent world from the view-point of a child who knows nothing of it. I didn't care then. I hate him, he should of at least read it, for grammer and vocab use if not the story. I was more hurt he thought I was lying about my neighbour. My mum straightened him out, bawled at him.
     

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