I was only 11 in 1989 so I don’t remember the 80s and yet strangely I feel like I do. I feel so much affection for that decade. In my mind I was there but in reality most of what I know and feel about the 80s comes from American 80s movies. Last week we caught up with the rest of the world and joined Netflix. The day after it was movie night in our house, and my choice for a change, but instead of choosing a new release, box office, Bafta winning hit I chose Pretty in Pink. This is one of my absolute all time favourite 80s films (along with Heathers, a film which I can sadly quote most of the words). I didn’t particularly love any of the characters (apart from Iona who was quick witted, warm and changed her style daily), but it drew me in. I remember watching it in my teens with my friends, wearing our pjs and eating malteasers. As I watched it again last week I got that feeling that I can only describe as the feeling of coming home. That feeling of familiarity, security, comfort and happiness, I had to stop myself from smiling all the way through it. I love how a film, like a song, can evoke such strong feelings in people and take you back in time. Even after the film had finished, the soundtrack was going round in my head as I lay awake in bed. 80s films taught me that the clothes were awesome (although I do feel they should stay in the 80s), that hair (women’s and men’s) with that much volume took a lot of mousse, blow drying and hairspray to achieve, that there was a massive divide between rich and poor (in high school anyway), and that everyone drove cars that my husband now calls ‘classics’.
There was so much more to the 80s though, it was a decade of excess and the decade that we finally witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. It was the decade that really paved the way in technology to the world we know today, a world of mobile phones and home computers. We were introduced to such high-tech innovations as 8-bit gaming consoles (personally I could have definitely lived without these!), compact audio systems, mobile phones and portable listening devices. Where would we be today without some of these things, it’s hard to imagine.
It was an outstanding decade for music, the icon that is Madonna came on the scene. Who knew then that she would become one of the great queens of pop. Although Prince released his first album in 1978 it was the 80s that really saw the genius in him that now holds him up there among the greats. Of course how can I not mention Michael Jackson, he could do no wrong back then and we could not have predicted the controversy that would surround him in the future. There were so many great songs, so memorable that they have managed to stand the test of time and are still enjoyed en masse today, songs by Culture Club, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Duran Duran, Human League, Whitney Houston, Wham, the list is endless and no party is complete without a few of their tracks.
The 80s were cool, I hate to use that word but it really needs to be used in this case. I only wish I was old enough to have properly experienced all it’s greatness. I can’t change that so I guess I will just have to keep watching 80s films and listening to my Purple Rain album unless Doc really can create that time machine……..