“Shellshock” by New Order

“Shellshock”. The first thing I think of when I hear the song start is Pretty In Pink. The next thing I think of is Knott’s Berry Farm. Summer, after dark at the amusement park. I was too young to have a car, too young to go to clubs in Hollywood (well, I could have, but the no car thing). I was living outside of LA, in Orange County, which felt like a wasteland to me at 17. There was so much more life out there. I’d seen it in magazines, in movies. I’d read it in books. I was consuming Bright Lights, Big City (Jay McInerney), Slaves of New York (Tama Janowitz), The Andy Warhol Diaries (Andy and Pat Hackett), Less Than Zero (Bret Easton Ellis). I watched Pretty In Pink, of course. It was a rite of passage if you were a teen girl in the ’80s, wasn’t it? I mean, Molly Ringwald and I are the same age.

More than that though, I devoured imported music magazines from London, Interview magazine from New York. I had posters of Paris and Greece, Scotland and England on my walls – right there next to Duran Duran. I wanted to be out in the world so much I could barely stand it.

“Shellshock” by New Order – from the soundtrack album, Pretty In Pink (1986)

“I’d tell the world and save my soul,
but rain falls down and I feel cold.
A cold that sleeps within my heart –
it tears the earth and sun apart.”

When I think of the name of the song – “Shellshock” – I am reminded of PTSD and trauma. It is the unwanted partner, shadow, asshole voice that has been with me for as long as I can remember. Sometimes days, weeks even, go by without me hearing it, but then something will happen – big or small – and it races back to my side. Hopelessly devoted to me, though I want to give it up and be rid of it for good.

I woke this morning to a tap-tap-tap reminder of trauma. I knew it might come. I’ve fought for so long to win my birthday back as mine, especially since there are quite a few heartbreakingly sad memories attached to it. And I’m almost there, I’ve almost fully reclaimed the day. But then a text from someone I need distance from rattles that “Shellshock” chain and I’m trying to figure out the best place to hide.

Music. Today it’s music. My muse, my safety, my oxygen.

And tonight it’s New Order, taking me back (first) to Andie and Iona working at the record store, Duckie riding his bike, Blaine’s stupid stricken face, and all the music. The movie has meant different things to me at different times of my life. Today it’s all about the glorious Andie and Iona….and that record store.

“Hold on!
It’s never enough.
It’s never enough until your heart stops beating.
The deeper you get,
the sweeter the pain.
Don’t give up the game until your heart stops beating.”

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