Friday, March 20, 2009

Remember the Eighties?

Current work: fic and nonfic
Listening to: Duran Duran
Reading: various research stuff

For various reasons, I’m having a bit of a reminisce. I’ve been talking to friends who are my age and remember going to see Grease at the cinema, and my neighbour opposite who’s about five years younger but remembers Live Aid. Possibly a bit embarrassing, but (mainly because of this musical thing with Madam) I’m having a bit of an Eighties fest at the moment.

So we were talking. Music: at the time, I listened mainly to rock. Radio One, every Friday night at ten sharp, trying to guess the Friday Night Connection on Tommy Vance’s show. I also remember Depeche Mode and OMD on the radio (didn't have any of their records, though), Alison Moyet (I used to look a lot like her on the cover of Alf, in those years) and Howard Jones. (His ‘Hide and Seek’ was my second favourite bit in Live Aid. Brilliant piano. Fave bit of Live Aid? Led Zeppelin, of course. I was desperate to tape it, but we didn’t have a video – DH did, but this was three weeks before he asked me out... and he didn’t record it.) And Wham – we used to do aerobics to ‘Wake me up before you go-go’ in sixth form. Peter Gabriel and Suzanne Vega. Kate Bush.

Some songs in particular: Sunday Bloody Sunday; Don’t You Forget About Me; Vienna; Oliver’s Army (my friend Sarah bought that on my 13th birthday so we could play it at my party); Blue Silver (acoustic version – it was a B side, and the only reason I bought that Duran Duran single. I wasn’t a Duranie... how ironic that I talked my poor best friend into buying me their greatest hits for Christmas, a couple of years back). And does anyone else remember The Headboys with ‘The Shape of Things to Come’? My mate wanted my Motorhead single, so I swapped it for her Headboys single: definitely got the best of the deal.

That got us onto the clothes. Legwarmers. (Shame, shame, shame on me. Mine were purple.) Coloured shoes with tights to match. Flat ankle boots (mine were bright red). Batwing jumpers (oh, dear). Grey Falmers jeans. And the oversized T-shirts ('Choose Life' or Mickey Mouse) – you tied a knot in one corner. And the fingerless lace mittens. (They disappeared after DH and I moved in together. He still claims innocence but I *know* he disposed of them.) Sloane Rangers. (Guilty on that one. I always had long skirts. On the rare occasions when I wear a skirt, even now, it’ll be ankle-length.) Lacoste T-shirts (DH tried to impress me by wearing one on our first date – fell very flat as I didn’t know what the brand was and the logo meant nothing to me). And I had white jacket (but I didn’t push the sleeves up).

Then there were the terrible asymmetric haircuts and big Bonnie Tyler hair. (Guilty of neither.) Poodle perms. (Um. A bit guilty. Mine was softer – more like Alison Moyet’s around the time she released ‘Love Letters’.)

And the make-up. I will confess to electric blue mascara, and electric blue and shocking pink eyeshadow worn together. And the electric blue nail varnish – oh, wait, that wasn’t trendy. That was me being a little eccentric.

And the Athena posters everyone had on their walls: the one with the guy and the baby. Wine glasses with coloured stems (and they looked like martini glasses – black stems were v trendy, but I think that was very late 80s/early 90s). Red coffee mugs. (Hmm. That might be the early 90s, too.)

Aqua Libra, though I preferred Sao Rico. Ranieri ice cream (the Fruits of the Forest one was my favourite, though the Tiramisu one wasn't bad).

DH and I were trying to remember what the car was that everyone wanted. A friend was allowed to drive her parents’ Scirocco and I remember thinking that was the height of cool. I’m pretty sure all the lads had that poster of the Renault Fuego. DH reckons that the Golf was the aspirational car. (He didn’t have one: his was a Cortina. Exactly like Gene Hunt’s in ‘Life on Mars’: same year, same colour, the lot. Though, when I met him, he was the only person I knew who actually had a car. Most of my mates were poor, starving students like me.)

And the films – I remember Another Country and Good Morning Vietnam – oh, and The Killing Fields. I was covering that one for the uni newspaper, and it was the only time I’ve ever been in a cinema which was absolutely full but everyone was utterly silent as the credits rolled. (In my uni years, our local cinema did a cheap night on Mondays, so I went every Monday night with my mates. Never did the discos: I’d always rather do the cinema or the theatre.) Back to the Future. Dirty Dancing. Flashdance. Dead Poets’ Society. (I was always a Robin Williams fan. LOVED Mork and Mindy.) Amadeus (one of my all-time top 5 faves). Indiana Jones. When Harry Met Sally (in my all-time top 2).

TV: I was never really into Dallas or Dynasty. But Moonlighting... Oh, yes. (Had a huge crush on Bruce Willis. Ended up married to his double – well, as he is now. I do have proof – DH holding a magaazine cover with Bruce on it, looking very similar – but I have been warned that posting it here is a divorceable offence, so I will be Very Good Kate and resist temptation.)

Now, I know for a fact that quite a few of the people who lurk on here remember the Eighties. So tell me what you remember most, whether it’s clothes or music or films or food or whatever. (And settle the argument for me: was the Golf the aspirational car, or was it the Audi Quattro – or was it something else?)


Rachel said...

Oh Kate,

you've really got me going on this one! Early eighties now,do you remember the string vests and new romantic scarves that were all scratchy because of the glittery thread that ran through them?

Did anyone else read The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera and profess to enjoy/understand it? (Pseud, moi?)

One of my favourite singles was Bitter Heart by Seona Dancing, a real teen tearjerker, who'd have believed that Ricky Gervais was so good?!

A bit later it was even more fun--being a Goth was great--all that black and self absorbed gloom! I remember sleeping on many a cold bedroom floor after trekking to see The Sisters of Mercy or New Model Army, the things you could do in your youth eh?

Then there was the scent: Rive Gauche by YSL, utterly essential squirted liberally and of course the packaging was that gorgeous electric blue.

Oh dear, I can feel a cringeworthy, memory lane style youtube foray coming on!

XX p.s Saw Del Amitri live at Uni too!

Nicolette said...

Erasure singing "Blue Savannah". I can still see my mum driving the car with the windows down, blasting out everyone else's eardrums.
For cars, everyone had Ford Capris, but aspired to have the Sierra Cosworth with a pico exhaust on it to be ultra trendy.
Ra-ra skirts - guilty.
Perms and demi-waves - guilty.
The A Team, Knight Rider, Airwolf - all guilty.

Oh dear.

Biddy said...

I did the electric blue mascara and also putting it in your hair so you got blue streaks. Neon socks and tights or fingerless gloves.
Being in love with John Taylor, the Matt Dillon and Rob Lowe.
Always recording the Top 40 on a Sunday so we had the latest stuff to listen to in the week. Someone buying Relax by FGTH and the nuns confiscating at school after we'd played it all evening back to back.
Watching a pirate copy of Dirty Dancing in the religion class room on a closed weekend.
Ooo scents for me were Byzance or Ysatis but that was late 80s.

Donna Alward said...

Jr. High Dances, Chicago 17, Chicago 18, and Jack Wagner. Rick Springfield. Huey Lewis and the News at the beach. Mr. Mister during basketball game warmups.

Dirty Dancing and Top Gun.

Leg warmers (mine were pink), mullets, and Fair Isle sweaters.

I nearly had a cow when we went into Ardene last year and the girls wanted the fingerless gloves and leg warmers. I had disturbing images of Madonna's early videos.

Kate Hardy said...

I knew this would get you lot out of lurk!

Rach, I remember those scarves. And the vests - ohh yes, 'Come on Eileen'.

I was a founder member of the Pseuds' club, so yup, I did the whole European lit thing. (My Russian phase was just the worst!!)

And sleeping on bedroom floors! Remember the all-night Rag balls? (Killer. This is why I did cinema and theatre instead. More civilised. Crumpets and cheap sparkling wine afterwards in my room. Told you I was a pseud.)

Del Amitri - I saw them at the UEA when Chris was tiny. Justin Currie in leather trousers... (I might have to go and have a cold shower now.)

Forgot about the scents! Iloved Rive Gauche, but I used to wear Poison. I loved the shape of the bottle, too. And there was a really nice citrussy one (might be late 70s) called Eau Jeune.

Kate Hardy said...

Nicolette - how could I forget Erasure?

Oh yeah, and the RS cosworth Escorts. (Underwriting was a nightmare - it wasn't "what is the likelihood of this car being nicked in the next year" but "how many times"!)

I was too fat for a ra-ra skirt. (But guess what my daughter's fave skirt is right now?)

Airwolf! Jean-Michael...??? (And Michael Praed as Robin of Sherwood.)

Judy Jarvie said...

Brilliant post Kate. The years just slip away thinking about it.

Ysatis-yes and Lou Lou (yuk)! I also discovered pachouli from the goth shop (ick).

I was v into Depeche Mode (concert goer every tour and t-shirt purchaser) also Haircut 100 (WaaT!) Had a thing for Nick Heyward's smile. Sublime to ridiculous. Also remember playing lots of Fleetwood Mac at the bighair stage.I still always dance to Erasure now and didn't even like them much first time around. Strange.

Fashion mistakes---red leopard print leggings and lots of lycra sleeveless tops with polo necks. Fluro sox and plastic jewellery (why?) Batwing jumpers (shuddddder!)Ra-ra skirt---had a royal blue one that I wore with ankle socks and a red and white breton t shirt (yes, you'd sure see me coming!)

Haircuts---I did the perm bob (looked like Crystal Tips) and short punky hair with mini pony tail a la Paul Young (wot was I thinking!?) Dabbled with Braun Independent tongs because 'one just had to a la Lady Di'. Had rather long hair gel obsession when Bananarama were in their prime!

Fave Alltime songs---Simple Minds Don't u Forget About Me, Kirsty MacColl New England, The Primitives Crash and alltime fave Moonlight Shadow Mike Oldfield (it's still my ringtone). Sad person that I am. Also hearing KC and the Sunshine Band and Katrina & The Waves always still makes me smile and think of summer hols.

I've shown my age now (and lack of taste!)

Does anyone remember the fetish for plastic shoes and plastic handbags (strange see through affairs that you had to put a carrier bag inside if you used one as a school bag!) They were all the rage for a few years! And rather odd.

Thanks for making me smile.

Kate Hardy said...

Biddy - remember the Toners semi-permanent colours? My mate wanted hers to go red... except it went pink. And it took ten washes to make it even bearable pink (in our school, hair colour = a week's suspension).

Rob Lowe. And Charlie Sheen.

(I thought you'd like John Taylor, somehow...)

Kate Hardy said...

Donna - oh yes, Mr Mister. (Broken Wings. I loved that.)

And Madonna. I hated "Like a Virgin" but I did like "Get into the Groove" (known as the Ferret Song - hmm, must email best friend and ask her to remind me why...). I did like her "True Blue" album, and DH (after a few beers) will admit to liking "Like a Prayer".

Ah, the make-up. My little one is into lots of glitter and lipgloss. She has been eyeing up my Bobbi Brown lipstick, but I've explained that that's only for mega-posh and not for school discos...

Kate Hardy said...

Judy! Haircut 100 - one of my mates looked dead like Nick Heyward. (He was DH's best friend - though DH didn't go to our school so I didn't meet him until my barmaid job.)

Oh, Katrina and the Waves - that's on Wii Boogie and is the one the kids always make me do. Always makes me think of summer, too. And Echo Beach.

Oh, and I forgot about Braun Independent! You could get a heated hairbrush like it, too - I had the brush rather than the tongs. And I got a burnmark on my dressing table and Dad was not pleased.

That was the thing about Ashes to Ashes - I remember the fashion very differently. We didn't do off-one-shoulder jumpers. (Batwing, though... guilty.)

Don't remember the see-through handbags, but I do remember lots of coloured shoes.

India said...

I don't even know where to start...

I was a Duranie, and also adored Japan and Bauhaus, and men in make-up (why??)My noxious 80s perfume of choice was Paris, and fave films were all the brat pack ones-- Pretty in Pink, St Elmo's Fire, About Last Night (blimey, that was a good film...)

I think Nicolette's right. I know nothing about cars, but Sierra Cosworth definitely rings a bell. Wasn't that the one that had the great big spoiler thing on the back?

Clothes-wise, I made the most extravagant purchase of my life (relatively) by blowing about 6 months waitressing wages on a Liberty denim jacket (with the Liberty print lining). I still have it somewhere...

Fabulous post for sunny day nostalgia, Kate!

Kimberly Lang said...

Interesting to hear that the 80's were as, umm, interesting on that side of the Atlantic as they were here.

And I will 'fess up to the asymmetrical haircut. And the Bon Jovi hair. Were Mall Bangs not popular over there (I think y'all call bangs a fringe)? Sprayed those babies with hair spray until they stuck straight up.

As for clothes, I'm guilty on all counts. But I'd kill to have my "Frankie say RELAX" shirt back.

linda margaret said...


I remember the 80's well but interestingly for different reasons, perhaps it is my age. (I suspect somewhat older than you) Music wise it is a bit of a blank. I remember the 70's better. However the 80's is when a number of memorable personal things happened. Includes graduating from University, undergrad degree and then Med School, internship and residency. I started my first medical practice, met and married my husband and was due to deliver my first child December 31st, 1989. She did not arrive until 1990 however.

I do remember a few movies however. Tom Criuse and Top Gun for one. I was in Halifax to write my final family practice exams with a number of other residents from my program. It was a several day event and we all took the night before the last day off to go see Top Gun. The movie and the music will always stay with me.

You memories inspire me to try to remember other things about that time. Thank you


Donna Alward said...

Jean Michael Vincent, Kate.

And Linda- the other night I said..."I feel the need, the need for speed!" and made a funny noise like Goose does.

My girls just looked at me like, "Yeah, whatever Mum."

I still ADORE Meg Ryan yelling "Hey Goose, you big stud! Take me to bed or lose me forever!"


Kate Hardy said...

India - Bauhaus and 'The Passion of Lovers' (ooh, I can feel this urge to dig out my box of singles...)

And yes, of course Liberty prints. I used to make the skirts. I still have my favourite one upstairs, even though I haven't worn it for years.

Kate Hardy said...

Kim - I knew we'd have the JBJ conversation *g*

Can't remember the hairspray on the fringe (though I've just remembered hairspray with gold glitter in it - uhhh, and I thought it was so cool to go out in). And a friend used liquid soap to spike her hair in the days before hair gel. (She was early Goth.)

Kate Hardy said...

Linda Margaret - I graduated in the 80s, too, so I don't think there are many years between us :o)

And having a baby who arrived in the following decade... that's definitely good material for embarrassing her :o)

(The sales assistant - when I was buying nail varnish, the other week - says that a mother's job is to embarrass her kids. Son told her that I didn't need encouraging!)

Top Gun - ah yes, Tom Cruise. And the soundtrack: Berlin, Otis Redding...

Kate Hardy said...

Donna - LOL! Did you know that IMDB has a section of "memorable quotes" among its film pages?

(Your CP might yell at me for giving you more procrastination material *g* - mind you, we've just discovered that we had the same sweater, albeit in different colours. Mine was a weird colour, a cross between electric blue and purple.)

Nell Dixon said...

I loved the eighties. Shoulder pads, big earrings, legwarmers, rara skirts, leggings, lady Di collars and laura ashley frocks in sailor style. I hung out (fleetingly) with Spandau and Duran Duran and I knew one of the backing band from Dexy's. Billy Idol, Adam Ant, Frankie, Wham, Rive Gauche and lipgloss that came in a tube with a rollerball stopper taht tasted of cherries. Coloured tights, white stilettoes and the Golf GTI was the car. The lads drank Grolsch lager from the bottle, girls drank cherry B's. Wine bars became popular. Films were Pretty in Pink, Romancing the Stone, Indiana Jones, When Harry Met Sally. Dallas, Falcon Crest and Dynasty were on TV. I loved it

Marilyn Shoemaker said...

What a fun post. I think for the most part we all have the same memories no matter where we live. I loved Chicago, and still do to this day. For me, this was a very romantic time in my marriage. The TV, fashion, politics, all so interesting.

Here are some links I Googled to bromg bacl evem more memories not matter where you reside.

Liz Fielding said...

I had the poodle perm, Kate. And was inspired by the scene in which Maddy got it on with Bruce Willis. My version appeared in my second book.

I sort of missed out on pop music post Yellow Submarine -- went overseas then and just never caught up! Asked the dd who The Eagles were and got the eye-rolling, "honestly, they're your generation, Mum!"

Lynne Marshall said...

Kate, this blog is too funny. I loved taking a trip down memory lane with you. I'm older than you and wanted to think I was busy with my babies when the 80s steamrolled through - but I remember just about everything you've mentioned. And I thought I'd avoided the dreadful styles ... until I recently saw a picture of myself in a bright red (is there any other shade of red?) jumpsuit with Marissa Tomei hair from the movie My Cousin Vinny. Oy!

Loved the blog.

Kate Hardy said...

Nell - I'd almost forgotten about the lipgloss. You could get a strawberry one as well.

And Laura Ashley fabrics...

Kate Hardy said...

Marilyn - thanks for the links! I have very fond memories of the 80s.

Kate Hardy said...

Liz - oh, wasn't it lovely when they finally got together!

Music. Hmm. I can see I need to enlighten you...

Kate Hardy said...

Lynne - you're not that much older than I am!

Jumpsuits - oooh, I'd forgotten about them. And My Cousin Vinny (enjoyed that film, too).

Judy Jarvie said...

I watched The Wedding Singer in honour of your post at the weekend. Got me all nostalgic for 80s. If you haven't seen it, do, do, do!

Oh and forgot to mention Pat Benatar---as 80s as it gets.

Anonymous said...

80's huh? It seems to me that we quit.... everywhere I read it's just a bit of fun and not alot... do you remember NO NUKES!! Stop this cutie stuff it was fun... rela fun.. but it was real tiff too.. anyone really out there?

Anonymous said...

Sorry.. just miss everyone and real .. so please excuse the typo's..

Kate Hardy said...

Judy - oh yes, Pat Benatar!

Kate Hardy said...

Anonymous - sorry that my post has clearly upset you.

I'm not quite sure what you're telling me or what you're expecting me to do.

**Stop this cutie stuff it was fun** - either you're telling me off for not saying that there were bad times in the eighties (to which I'd say, yes, of course there were - as there are in every decade - but this is my blog, and I'm the kind of person who tends to focus on the good stuff, and it's also not a political blog so I have no intention of discussing politics here), or you're telling me what to say - to which I'd point out that I live in a country which allows free speech, and it's my choice to focus on the positive rather than negative.

You do sound very upset and this reads as a bit of a cry for help - but, as you're "anonymous", I have no idea who you are, where you are or even if you're in the same time zone as I am, so I can't do anything pratical. But I would suggest you need to call someone close to you and talk to them - it might help you. Hope you feel brighter soon.