Over the past few months I’ve been interacting with lots of lovely bloggers. Some of them are much younger then me so if I ever talk about those days it can sometimes cause a blur. So I thought, why not share an insight into that golden period for myself? If you are from the UK, you may resonate with some of these yourself.
Why was the 80s so great?
Tech first, no messing about
It was fast approaching mid-80s and I was on the cusp of celebrating the transition into double figures. Being a January child, birthday’s were accompanied with wet weather. But all was forgotten as my parents unveiled my first ever computer, the Amstrad CPC 464. Finished in solid grey, it was a work of art. With a keyboard and cassette deck all rolled into one, it came with a set of 12 games. When I turned it on, like any novice the first words I typed were “connect to sputnik” – the message it returned was “Syntax Error“. I then popped in one of the games, waited a couple of minutes while it loaded (grabbing a donut in between) and things changed forever.
The Goonies & Lost Boys – now that’s truly “Evergreen”
The Goonies was your classic teenage film about a group of friends getting up to some serious adventure, with a main theme of preserving their homes. This fast became my Saturday afternoon film which I had recorded on a VHS tape. This film is so good that even my kids watch it today whenever the re-runs appear on TV.
If Goonies was my afternoon movie, then The Lost Boys became a Saturday evening watch. Stylish horror! Everything about this film was cool; the soundtrack, the location, the vampires and the humans. Put it this way, I’d spent my early years watching re-runs of two old gents, Christopher Lee (Dracula) and Peter Cushing (Dracula killer) battling it out. The Lost Boys was a revelation! I last watched a re-run last year.
Football’s (soccer) greatest ever
It was 1986 and there was pandemonium in the school playground because it was World Cup year. Panini had just released and official world cup sticker album and the kids were going nuts. My local newsagents stocked up and I remember purchasing my first pack with absolute excitement because it contained a national flag silver sticker! I have to admit I was too young to be patriotic, and only one player’s name circled in close groups. The hottest sticker on the block, a sticker that most of us kids would sell our souls to the devil for, was Diego Armando Maradona. Simply put, the guy was a genius! He did 3 things during that world cup: (1) Score the best goal ever in history against England; (2) Score with his hand in the same game against England and become a national villain for us Brits; (3) Win the world up single handily for Argentina.
If watching an individual genius on the green bay wasn’t enough, then came along the 1988 Football European Championships. It was that year that I fell in love with Dutch football, or I will call it Total Football. Never had I seen a team so in harmony, playing football so elegantly, so in tune. In the words of Jodie Foster in the film ‘Contact’, “I wish they’d sent a poet“; in my case I wish I was a poet….Holland eventually won the Championships, marked with a goal that probably defies the laws of physics!
Again we are back around 1986 and flying off to India to attend five weddings (I’d remain on hols there for 6 weeks). The day before our flight we got invited by a family friend for dinner. Back in those days flying abroad was like a once in a long time experience. So people would celebrate that, the fact that you spent 5 years of your hard working life to save up for flights! Anyway after dinner my uncle, who was a music buff put on an album he claimed had just been released from a new Bhangra group. The name of the album was Diamonds from Heera. You know that moment when hear the opening song and you think, flipping hell this music and the lyrics are well ahead of its time. That album blew me away, the only problem was I had to wait a whole 6 weeks before flying back home and buying the album at my earliest opportunity. For me, I never came across another Bhangra album that made me want to jump up and dance to every single track.
Suddenly, we had a VHS library of films
In 1989, in South London a video store opened called Blockbuster. Can you imagine walking into a store that looked like this? It was a trend started in the US and brought to the UK.
Before this I came from a VHS rental market where the fishy uncle with a corner shop had a stash of illegally recorded Hollywood movies. To rent these, you’d have to pay double the price of a Bollywood movie, and the chances were someone walked past the camera during the movie! You’ll know how long it can take to scan Netflix to find the right film/series to watch right? Well walking into a Blockbusters, you were spoilt for choice and it took forever to find the right movie. This was heaven for movie buffs, however two things stemmed from this experience: (1) You’d not only walk out with a movie, but also a big bag of over-priced crisps and popcorn. To which my mum would always tell me off because she could have gotten it cheaper from the shops; (2) Sometimes you’d forget to drop the film in the drop box when returning. That meant the next time you rented a movie, the computer would bleep telling you, you had a fine to pay!
I’ll sign off this post by saying a few more words (if I haven’t said enough already). This was truly a simple era, a simple time. I liked the 90s as fashion got better, the turn of the Millennium was great, but 80s will always be a Golden period for me.
What was your most favourite era and why?