A Nostalgic Look At Life In The 80s

A Nostalgic Look At Life In The 80s. The decade of Reaganomics, iconic fashion trends, TV shows, films and a time of self expression.

A Nostalgic Look At Life In The 80s
Life in the 80s

An Ode to the 80s: A Decade of Excess, Transformation, and Unforgettable Moments

The 80s, the decade that taste forgot, but we can't seem to let go of. It was a whirlwind of shoulder pads, neon leg warmers, and hairstyles that defied the laws of physics. Not to mention the earworms that still haunt the radio today. You haven't lived until you've tried to moonwalk to Michael Jackson in your living room. But the 80s wasn't just about questionable fashion choices and catchy pop tunes. It was a decade of profound change where Cold War tensions eased, economies boomed and busted, and technology began its relentless march into our daily lives. So, let's hop into all this 80s stuff our and take a trip down memory lane, exploring the highs, the lows, and the downright outrageous of this unforgettable decade.

The Cultural Rave of the 80s: When Excess was King

collage of 80s movies

The 80s was a cultural smorgasbord, a vibrant kaleidoscope of larger-than-life trends that, for better or worse, have left an indelible mark on our collective psyche. No decade before or since has managed to blend the sublime and the ridiculous in such an unforgettable fashion. Who could forget the iconic MTV, broadcasting music videos into the homes of millions, democratising music and bringing the world to the living room? Or the boom of the blockbuster, with films like 'E.T.', 'Ghostbusters', and 'Indiana Jones' transforming cinema into a joint global spectacle?

80s fashion trends

Fashion was another boisterous reveler at the 80s party. The decade feasted on the excess, serving up a sartorial buffet of shoulder pads big enough to land a plane on, neon colours that could startle a chameleon, and hairstyles that would make a peacock envious. It was the era of Madonna, flaunting her conical bras, and Michael Jackson, mesmerising us with his one-gloved moonwalk. The 80s dared us to be bold, to be seen, and to express ourselves, no matter how outrageous the outcome. The influence of this freedom of expression is still palpable today, making the 80s not just a decade of excess, but a cultural revolution that continues to reverberate through the generations.

The Political, Economic, and Technological Roller Coaster of the 80s

While the rest of the world was indulging in cultural extravagance, life in the 80s also saw significant political and economic changes that would shape our current reality. The decade started with a bang as Ronald Reagan became President of the United States, ushering in conservative policies that focused on deregulation, tax cuts, and a strong military. This led to an economic boom for some but also created an ever-widening income gap between the wealthy and the working class.

Ronald Reagan been sworn in as US President

Reaganomics, or 'trickle-down economics', was the cornerstone of the Reagan era. Ronnie, our cowboy in chief, rode in on his white horse promising to cut taxes, reduce government's role in the economy, and balance the budget. Oh, the naivety of it all! In reality, Reaganomics led to a ballooning national debt, a widening wealth gap, and economic policies that favoured the rich at the expense of the working class. Whilst the wealthy were busy sipping martinis and toasting to their tax cuts, working class Americans were left to pick up the tab. It was a classic case of the rich getting richer and the poor getting the picture.

On the global stage, Reagan played the role of the 'Cold Warrior' with aplomb. His famous "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" speech signalled a shift in Cold War dynamics, leading to the eventual thawing of US-Soviet relations. However, let's not forget about the Iran-Contra affair - a scandal where the Reagan administration sold arms to Iran and used the proceeds to fund Contra rebels in Nicaragua. Straight out of a spy novel, isn't it? Who needs James Bond when you've got the Reagan administration?

 rose-tinted glasses

Despite its controversies, Reagan's reign is still viewed through rose-tinted glasses by some, as an era of renewed American pride and economic prosperity. But it's important to remember that the 80s wasn't all about big hair, shoulder pads, and catchy pop tunes. It was also a time when the wealth gap widened, social inequality deepened, and the stage was set for many of the economic and political challenges we face today. So, next time you're rocking out to your favourite 80s hits, spare a thought for the political and economic legacy of the decade. It's a legacy that, like a bad 80s hairstyle, we're still trying to untangle.

Ronald Reagan sitting with Mikhail Gorbachev in the 1980s

The Cold War saw a thawing of tensions as Mikhail Gorbachev became leader of the Soviet Union and began implementing reforms that would eventually lead to the fall of communism. However, this also led to conflicts and unrest in other parts of the world, such as the civil war in Afghanistan and continued tensions between East and West Germany.

Technology was advancing at an unprecedented rate, with personal computers becoming more affordable and accessible to the masses. The rise of the internet, though still in its infancy, began to change how people communicated and consumed information. The Walkman and later the Sony Discman revolutionized how we listened to music, and the first mobile phones began appearing in the hands of those who could afford them. The 80s set the foundation for the technological explosion that continues to shape our world today.

An Ode to the Silver Screen: A Deep Dive into 80s Cinema

80s Cinema

Billed by many as the golden age of blockbusters, the 80s was a decade that saw cinema transform into a truly global spectacle. This was the age of Spielberg and Lucas, the time when magic, adventure and high concepts ruled the roost.

Consider, if you will, the charm of 'E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial'. The touching story of a little alien lost in our big, scary world, longing for home. Spielberg had us weeping into our popcorn, teaching us about friendship, courage, and the true meaning of home. And let's not forget 'Indiana Jones', a whip-cracking, hat-wearing archaeologist who won over audiences with his bravery and roguish charm. Not to mention, he made archaeology seem a lot more exciting than any school textbook ever did!

The Empire Strikes Back film poster

Then, of course, there was the phenomenon known as 'Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back'. Lucas took us to a galaxy far, far away with epic battles, unforgettable characters, and a space opera storyline that kept us glued to our seats. The blockbuster was redefined - it was no longer just about big budgets and big names, but also about big ideas and grand storytelling.

But 80s cinema wasn't just about the fantastical and the adventurous. The decade also gave us some of the most iconic teen movies, cementing John Hughes as the king of the genre. 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off', 'The Breakfast Club', and 'Sixteen Candles' all resonated with audiences for their honest and often hilarious depiction of the trials and tribulations of being a teenager. Hughes didn't shy away from tackling topics like peer pressure, social cliques, and the struggle for self-identity, all while maintaining a light-hearted and relatable tone.

Blade Runner Poster

From the dark, dystopian vision of Ridley Scott's 'Blade Runner' to the screwball antics of Bill Murray in 'Ghostbusters', the 80s was a time when cinema was willing to take risks, push boundaries, and embrace the unconventional. It was a time when filmmakers were storytellers first, and commercial entities second.

In the 80s, cinema was a shared experience, a communal event that brought people of all ages and walks of life together. It was a time when films were not just watched, but experienced - a time that, in this era of streaming and binge-watching, we find ourselves longing for. So let's dim the lights, pop the corn, and let the magic of the 80s wash over us once more. Roll the film, we're ready for our close-up.

A Symphony of Synths: The Soundtrack to the 80s

The Human League: 80s photoshoot

If you cast your mind back to this decade, you're likely to be greeted by the infectious beats of Michael Jackson's 'Thriller', the power ballads of Bon Jovi, and the synth-pop grooves of The Human League. Music in the 80s was a vibrant mish-mash of styles, a direct reflection of the political, cultural and social shifts of the era.

MTV burst onto the scene, turning music into a visual spectacle and catapulting artists like Madonna and Duran Duran to stardom. No longer was it enough to just sound good; you had to look good too. Cue the outrageous costumes, the dramatic makeup, and the unforgettable music videos. I mean, who could forget David Bowie and Mick Jagger prancing around in the 'Dancing in the Street' video? It was more like 'Dancing in the Ridiculous', if you ask me!

Mick Jagger performing on stage 1980s

Elsewhere, pop music was going through a revolution. The King of Pop himself, Michael Jackson, released 'Thriller', and the world went wild. The album was a masterclass in pop perfection, selling millions of copies worldwide and breaking numerous records. And let's not forget Madonna, the Queen of Pop, who burst onto the scene with hits like 'Like a Virgin' and 'Material Girl'. She was controversial, she was provocative, and boy, could she belt out a tune!

But the 80s wasn't just about pop. Rock music was alive and kicking, with bands like Guns N' Roses and AC/DC packing out stadiums and blasting out anthems. Then there was U2, a little band from Dublin who released 'The Joshua Tree', an album that tackled social and political issues with anthemic rock. And let's not forget the birth of hip hop, with artists like Run-D.M.C. and Public Enemy pushing boundaries and making waves.

Rock band AC/DC during the 80s

Alas, for all its eccentricities, the 80s was a decade that dared to dream. It was a time when music was a melting pot of sounds, styles, and genres. It was a time when artists were not just musicians, but performers, entertainers, and icons. So, let's take a moment to remember the music of the 80s, a time when tunes were catchy, artists were bold, and the synthesizer was king. Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got a date with my Walkman and a cassette of 'Thriller'.

Less Traffic, More Rumble: The Open Roads of the 80s

New York City 1983

During the 80s, traffic was a different beast altogether. Imagine, if you will, taking a pleasant Sunday drive, wind in your hair, cool breeze on your face, and not a traffic jam in sight. No gridlock, no endless tailbacks, no honking horns or stressed-out commuters. Ah, those were the days! We didn't have all these fancy sat navs telling us to 'Turn left at the next junction' or 'U-turn when possible'. No mate, it was just us, the road, and a good old-fashioned paper map. And let me tell you, nothing quite beats the thrill of getting hopelessly lost only to stumble upon a charming little village or a breathtakingly beautiful view. 

old road map

Now, don't get me wrong. We had our fair share of traffic, especially during the school run or rush hour. But compared to the never-ending motorway car parks of today, it was a walk in the park. Or should I say, a drive in the park! The roads were less congested, the air was cleaner, and the sound of birdsong wasn't drowned out by the constant roar of engines. Oh, how I long for the less hurried, less crowded roads of the 80s. So, next time you find yourself stuck in traffic, spare a thought for us old-timers and our tales of the open road. And do try to enjoy the journey – after all, isn't that what it's all about?

Gas Was Cheap to Fill Up Your Car: The Golden Age of Petrol

Service station 1980s

In the 80s, filling up your car was not the bank-breaking chore it is today. Oh no, back then, petrol prices were more of a gentle nudge than a punch in the gut. We didn't have to remortgage the house just to take a trip to the seaside! The humble fuel pump was our friend, not the highway robber it's turned into now. 

You could fill up your tank, change your oil, get an air freshener, and still have enough left over for a bag of crisps and a fizzy pop. It was a time when you could take a leisurely drive just for the sake of it, not have to plot the most fuel-efficient route to the local supermarket. We were free to roam, to explore, to get lost and find ourselves again without the constant ticking of a petrol price ticking time bomb. Ah, yes, those were the days.

1980s petrol station UK

Nowadays, you need to take out a small loan for a round trip to the shops. And don't get me started on the cost of diesel (2024)! It's enough to make a grown man weep. I tell you, the way things are going, we'll soon need to start carpooling to the post box. So, here's to the 80s, a time when petrol was cheap, cars were thirsty, and the open road was an invitation to adventure. Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to go calculate how much it'll cost me to pop to the shops. At this rate, I might have to start growing my own spuds!

Telly Wasn't Just Telly, It Was an Event: Why TV Shows Were Better in the 80s

collage of 80s tv shows

During the 80s, television wasn't just something that was on in the background. Oh no, it was an event, a spectacle, a gathering of sorts. We didn't have a million channels or on-demand streaming. We had a handful of channels and if you missed it, well, you missed it! There was no pausing, no rewinding, and certainly no streaming it later. This meant that when a show was on, you made sure you were parked in front of the telly with your favourite snacks, ready to be entertained. You scheduled your life around your favourite shows, not the other way around.

Who Shot J.R.?: The Dallas Whodunit That Stopped The Nation

J.R. Ewing: Dallas

Life in the 80s, we didn't have viral hashtags or trending topics, but oh boy, did we have a mystery that gripped the nation - "Who shot J.R.?". This wasn't just a cliffhanger, mate, it was a cultural phenomenon! For those of you born after the age of the cassette tape, I'm talking about 'Dallas', a soap opera about the wheelings and dealings of the wealthy Ewing family. J.R. Ewing, the character we loved to hate, was a conniving, oil tycoon who had a knack for making enemies. So, when he was gunned down by an unseen assailant, the whole country was dying to know whodunit.

We didn't have the luxury of binge-watching a series over a weekend or jumping onto the next episode at the click of a button. No, siree! We had to wait with bated breath, speculating and placing bets, as the show went on a bloody eight-month hiatus before revealing the identity of the shooter! It was a time when television brought people together, when water cooler chats and family dinners were dominated by theories about who pulled the trigger. So here's to 'Dallas', to J.R., and to a time when television was more than just a pastime; it was a shared experience that brought us all together. Now, who’s up for a rerun?

The A-Team: 1980s tv show

The shows themselves were a different breed altogether. From the action-packed adventures of 'Knight Rider' and 'The A-Team', to the side-splitting comedy of 'Only Fools and Horses' and 'Blackadder', the 80s gave us some of the most memorable shows in television history. They were shows with heart, with character, with stories that gripped you and didn't let go. They made us laugh, they made us cry, and they made us stay up way past our bedtime just to see what happened next.

In short, television in the 80s was more than just a way to kill time. It was a communal experience, a shared joy, a national event that brought us all together. So, next time you find yourself mindlessly scrolling through countless shows on Netflix, spare a thought for the golden age of television, when shows were shows, and watching them was an event to be savoured. Now, I've got to dash, 'Coronation Street' is about to start and I can't be late!

Less Crime and Sexual Crime in the 80s: A Time of Innocence or Ignorance?

collage of police arrests in New York during the 1980s

In those days, children freely roamed the neighbourhoods, playing until the streetlights flickered on, signalling it was time to head home. We didn't have the constant barrage of 24/7 news reporting every crime from far and wide, making us feel as if danger lurked around every corner. The 80s were a time before the internet made every bit of grim news instantly accessible, which undoubtedly contributes to the feeling of increased crime rates in today's society.

However, let's not get too misty-eyed here. It's important to remember that fewer reported crimes didn't necessarily mean fewer crimes happening. In the case of sexual crimes, society back then wasn't as open or supportive about these issues. Many victims, unfortunately, stayed silent due to fear, shame, or the sad belief that they wouldn't be believed.

Kids in New York by police car in the 80s

While we may look back on life in the 80s as a time of less crime, it's crucial to consider the changes in society since then. We've made strides in raising awareness and ensuring victims of sexual crimes have their voices heard. In a twisted sort of way, the apparent increase in crimes might represent progress. It's not that these crimes weren't happening back then, but rather they're being reported and addressed more openly now. So, as we fondly remember the 80s, let's also appreciate the progress we've made, however far we may still have to go. Now, let's get back to all this 80s stuff and our regularly scheduled programming, shall we?

Off Licences and the Golden Era of Returning Pop Bottles for Money: A Time When Fizzy Drinks Paid Dividends

'Boozers' 1980 Off Licence store front

In the 80s, we didn't just drink pop, we invested in it! Off Licences weren't merely places to grab a bottle of plonk for the Sunday roast or to satisfy your sweet tooth with a sherbet dip. No, my friend, they were neighbourhood goldmines, offering a tidy sum for returning empty pop bottles. We were entrepreneurs, every last one of us! You'd guzzle down your favourite fizzy drink, only to return the bottle and put a bit of dough back into your pocket. It was like the bottle was the gift that kept on giving! 

You'd see us, bags of clinking glass bottles in hand, heading to the offie with a spring in our step and dreams of penny sweets dancing in our heads. The glorious sound of coins hitting our palms made it all worthwhile. We didn't need apps or digital currencies; our wealth was measured in the number of empty pop bottles we could return!

1980s pop bottles that could be taken back to the shop in return for money

In today's throwaway society, where plastic bottles are discarded without a second thought, those were the days when recycling was not just environmentally friendly but held a small financial incentive too. A time when a fizzy pop wasn't just a treat but an investment in our pocket money. So here's to the 80s, off licences, and the age-old tradition of returning pop bottles for money. Now, if you'll excuse me, I see an empty bottle that needs returnin'.

Where Have 'Penny for the Guy' Gone in the UK? Street Bonfires, Guy Fawkes, and the Lost Tradition of Childhood Enterprise

Guy Fawkes

Remember, remember, the 5th of November? How could we forget! Those were the days when the smell of gunpowder and caramelised apples hung heavy in the air, and the night sky was a canvas splashed with colour. But what happened to the tradition of 'Penny for the Guy'? Once upon a time, in the lead-up to Bonfire Night, every street corner, shop entrance, and school gate was a hub of entrepreneurial spirit, as children paraded their homemade effigies of Guy Fawkes, collecting pennies to fund their firework stash.

These days, however, it seems like Guy Fawkes has been downgraded from a burning effigy to a forgotten emoji. The tradition has been snuffed out, as donning a mask and begging for sweets on Halloween has somehow become more appealing. Is it the allure of American culture, or have health and safety regulations turned us into a nation of fun sponges? 2 boys in the UK: Penny for the GuyGone are the children holding up their crafted Guys with pride, and so too are the generous adults tossing coins into their collection tins.

So, as another 5th of November rolls around, I find myself missing the days when a handful of pennies could ignite a child's entrepreneurial spirit and set the night ablaze. Here's to the lost 'Penny for the Guy' tradition, to the childhood innocence of a bygone era, and to the hope that one day, Guy Fawkes might just make a comeback. Now, who's up for some treacle toffee?

The Good Old Phone Book and Phone Boxes: Are They Missed or Just Missed Out?

USA 1980s Phone Booth

Those were the days, weren’t they? Life in the 80s, when the phone book was our Google and the red phone box or phone booth was our lifeline to the world. The hefty thud of the Yellow Pages hitting the doormat signalled a new season, and what a treasure trove of information it held! Finding a plumber, pizza place, or long-lost Penelope was as simple as thumbing through those hallowed pages. And let's not forget the satisfaction of slamming down the receiver in a phone box after a heated chat, a feeling today's touchscreens can't replicate.

These relics of the past have been relegated to the annals of history, reduced to quaint curiosities and novel photo ops for tourists. Yellow pages from the 80sBut, in their heyday, they were pillars of communication, standing tall on every street corner, their peeling paint and faint odour of stale cigarettes symbolising a connection to the outside world. 

Do I sound bitter? Perhaps a bit. While I appreciate the convenience of today's handheld devices and digital directories, I can't help but feel that we've lost something in the process. The communal connection of a shared phone box, the tangible heft of a phone book, the human touch they represented... But enough with the sentimentality. I'm off to see if I can find an old phone box. Who knows, I might just find a functioning one and give you a ring!

People Talked More and Helped Each Other: When Human Connection was Not Wi-Fi Dependent

collage of social media icons

A time when "social networking" involved actually talking to people. Imagine that! Neighbourhood gossip wasn't shared over Facebook, but over fences, across the aisles of grocery stores, and around the pub tables. Conversations were not interspersed with emoticons and LOLs, but with laughter and expressive hand gestures. People looked up, not down at their devices, and engaged with the world around them.

Helping each other wasn't about clicking 'like' on a post or sharing a hashtag, but lending a hand when your neighbour's car wouldn't start or babysitting the kids next door at a moment's notice.

Wifi icon

The notion of community extended beyond a group on a social media platform. It was about knowing who lived on your street, not just following them online, and sharing more than just Wi-Fi signals.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not chastising progress or dismissing the merits of today's technology. I'm simply reminiscing about a time when we were more connected to each other, not just connected to Wi-Fi. But now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to go and help Mrs. Miggins with her shopping. No, not online shopping - actual shopping, down at the local market!

Knocking on Doors and No Doorbells: The Adventurous Task of Checking If Your Mates Were Game for a Kickabout

4 young friends in the 80s

Life in the 80s, there was no easy way to determine if your mate was free for a quick game of footie or a ride down the local park. Nope, none of those fancy 'instant messages' or 'status updates' youngsters are spoilt with these days. Instead, we had a good ol' system called 'knocking on doors'.

You'd lace up your trainers, make the pilgrimage to your mate's house, and then... the moment of truth. Would they be home? Would they be allowed out? And most importantly, would their mum offer you a biscuit? It was a daily adventure, a thrill of uncertainty that made the reward, when your mate appeared with football in hand, all the more sweet.

Teenagers in the 80s at a party

Nowadays, kids don't even need to leave their bedrooms to 'hang out' with friends. They've got their online games, their video calls, their social media... but do they have the memory of their mate's mum's face softening as she hands over a Jammy Dodger? I think not. So here's to simpler times, to knocking on doors, to the unscripted moments of our childhood. And if anyone needs me, I'll be down the park, waiting for a kickabout.

John Hughes Films and the Brat Pack: When Teen Angst was More than Just a Tweet

John Hughes with collage of his films

It's impossible to talk about life in the 80s without tipping our hats to the cultural phenomenon that was John Hughes and his band of angst-ridden teenagers, affectionately known as the Brat Pack. Films like "The Breakfast Club", "Pretty in Pink", and "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" were more than just Friday night flicks at the cinema; they were celluloid revelations that spoke to the angst, the dreams, and the dysfunctions of a generation.

The Brat Pack was not just a group of pretty faces gracing our screens, they were the embodiment of teenage rebellion, love, and identity crises. Who can forget Molly Ringwald's gutsy portrayal of a girl from the wrong side of the tracks in "Pretty In Pink", or the rule-defying roguish charm of Matthew Broderick in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off"? And let's not overlook the raw intensity of the high school caste system laid bare in "The Breakfast Club". Hughes didn't just make movies, he made mirrors that reflected the trials and tribulations of being a teenager.

The 80s Brat Pack collage

So, as we sit here, flicking through the digital catalogue of Netflix, Amazon Prime, and the likes, one can't help but feel a pang of nostalgia for the time when teenage life, in all its glorious messiness, was captured so candidly on the silver screen. Sure, we have our modern-day coming-of-age stories, but will they ever hold a candle to the cigarette-smoking, detention-serving, shoulder-pad-wearing teens of the 80s? I think not. So, here's to John Hughes, the Brat Pack, and the era they so unforgettably immortalised. Now, where did I put my VHS player?

Cartoons and Cookie Crisp: When Saturday Mornings Were Sacred

1980s cartoons collage

The 80s were a time when Saturday mornings were reserved for one thing and one thing only: cartoons. And what a line-up it was! Children on both sides of the pond, whether in the USA or the UK, had their

loyalties divided between classics like 'Thundercats,' 'Transformers,' 'He-Man,' and 'The Smurfs.' Don't even get me started on 'DuckTales' or 'The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.' The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoonThose were more than mere shows; they were a rite of passage, a source of arguments on the playground, and the genesis of lifelong friendships. 

In the UK, it was a similar story. 'Postman Pat' was delivering letters and delighting children, 'Thomas the Tank Engine' chugged along with a childlike grin, and 'Fireman Sam' was always on duty, ready to save the day in the quaint Welsh town of Pontypandy. Then there was 'Grange Hill,' which was like Degrassi for Brits, a soap opera for pre-teens that tackled everything from bullying to drugs.

Postman Pat 1980s: Children's tv in the UK

And let's not forget the ritualistic meal that accompanied these shows: a bowl of sugary cereal. Who wouldn't want to start their day with a mouthful of 'Cap'n Crunch,' 'Froot Loops,' or 'Cookie Crisp' while watching the Smurfs outsmart Gargamel yet again? In the UK, 'Weetabix,' 'Frosties,' and 'Rice Krispies' were all the rage.

Today, kids have their cartoons on-demand, ready to binge-watch at a moment's notice. But life in the 80s, there was a sense of anticipation, a thrill in waiting for Saturday morning to roll around so we could plop down in front of the TV with our bowl of cereal and lose ourselves in a world of animated wonder. So here's a toast to those Saturday mornings, to the cartoons that defined our childhood, and to the simple pleasure of a sugar-coated start to the day. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to track down a box of Cookie Crisp.

Street Games and Scuffed Knees: When Playtime Wasn't Pre-Programmed

Red Light, Green Light: When Playtime Wasn't Just a Game on an App

RED LIGHT, GREEN LIGHT children's game poster

Let's take a moment to remember the time when 'Red Light, Green Light' wasn't just a thrilling sequence in a Korean Netflix series; it was the real-life, pulse-pounding, adrenaline-soaked activity that spanned playgrounds, gardens, and parks in the 80s. A simple set of instructions - "green light" to go, "red light" to stop - and suddenly, you were part of an exhilarating chase, fueled by laughter and healthy competition.

Forget about virtual reality or video game simulations, this was the real deal. You could feel the grass under your trainers, taste the anticipation on your tongue, and hear the triumphant cries of your mates as they reached safety. It was a game that required no downloads, no Wi-Fi, just a bunch of kids armed with a sense of fun and a knack for bending the rules (we all knew someone who moved on 'red light', didn't we?).

Children playing RED LIGHT, GREEN LIGHT

Fast forward to today, and kids are more likely to play 'Red Light, Green Light' on an app than in the great outdoors. But can an app replicate the thrill of the chase, the victory of reaching the finish line, and the camaraderie that came with a good, old-fashioned street game? I dare say, it cannot. So here's to the 80s, to 'Red Light, Green Light', and to a time when playtime wasn't pre-programmed. And if anyone needs me, I'll be at the park, reliving my glory days. Now where did I put my whistle?

British Bulldog and Bruised Elbows: When Schoolyards Were Battlefields

Kids playing British Bulldog in a UK School during the 1980s

The memories of playing British Bulldog during break time at school! It was a rite of passage in the 80s, a sort of initiation ritual that marked your transition from naive newcomer to seasoned playground veteran. The game was simple: one person was the 'bulldog', and everyone else had to run from one end of the playground to the other without being caught. Sounds easy enough, right? Wrong. This was not a game for the faint-hearted. This was a game of grit, determination, and the ability to bob and weave like a seasoned boxer.

The playground was transformed into a battlefield, the tarmac beneath our scuffed school shoes a theatre of war. There was a palpable sense of anticipation as you waited for the bulldog to make their move, your heart pounding in your chest, your palms sweaty with excitement. And then the chase began, a chaotic dance of ducking, diving, and dodging, punctuated by the triumphant yelps of those who made it to safety and the groans of those unfortunate enough to fall into the clutches of the bulldog.

Robbers Knock and Cheeky Grins: When Mischief Was Innocent

2 boy playing Robbers Knock

Hands up if you remember 'Robbers Knock or Knock and Run to some'? It was a game of mischief, played under the cover of dusk, when children turned into cunning tricksters, sneaking around the neighbourhood, knocking on doors, and then running away before anyone could catch them. Armed with nothing but our wit, a trusty pair of trainers, and a cheeky grin, we'd spend hours daring each other to knock on the grumpiest neighbour's door, the thrill of the chase mixing with the fear of getting caught. 

But can anything really replace the excitement of a 'Robbers Knock' chase, the camaraderie that formed in those secret huddles, planning the next door to knock, the adrenaline rush of running away and hiding, and the laughter-filled stories shared afterwards? I think not. So, here's to the 80s, to 'Robbers Knock', and to an era when mischief was still innocent. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a certain neighbour's door to knock on. I just hope I can run away fast enough!

Flashlight Tag and Midnight Escapades: When Darkness Was a Playground

boy playing Flashlight Tag

Life in the 80s when dusk didn't mean an end to our outdoor adventures. 'Flashlight Tag' or 'Hide and Seek' was the game that turned the inky darkness of the night into a thrilling playground. With only the narrow beam of a torch as your guide, you'd scamper away, heart pounding in your chest, as you sought out the perfect hiding spot.

Beneath the cloak of night, the world was transformed. Familiar backyards became labyrinthine mazes, bushes transformed into prime hiding real estate and the soft glow of the torch was the only beacon in the enveloping darkness. Each rustle of leaves, each snap of a twig, sent adrenaline coursing through your veins. The chase was on, and boy, was it exhilarating!

Hedge Hopping and Garden Giggles: When Backyards Were Our Kingdoms

child jumping over hedge

The sheer joy of 'Hedge Hopping' in the 80s, a simple game that turned ordinary back gardens into thrilling obstacle courses. We didn't need fancy gym equipment or membership to an exclusive sports club. All we needed were a few sturdy hedges, a cohort of daring friends, and an insatiable thirst for adventure. Snaking our way through the neighbourhood, we'd leap from one backyard to another, vaulting over hedges with the agility of a gazelle and the audacity of a stuntman. Each completed jump was a triumph, each stumble a cue for riotous laughter. And try not to get caught by the gardens owner, that was the ultimate challenge.

Guardian Angels Watching Over the New York Subway

Guardian Angels patrolling the New York subway during the 1980s

Who remembers the Guardian Angels patrolling the New York subway in the 80s, decked out in their matching red berets and jackets? These were the fearless volunteers who stepped in when the city was on its knees, grappling with crime, drugs, and a sense of despair. They were our real-life superheroes, armed with nothing but their guts, grit, and a deep sense of civic duty. They patrolled the grittiest corners of the city, their striking attire a beacon of hope in the grimy subway platforms and graffiti-filled carriages.

Portland's first team of Guardian Angels getting instructions from Lisa Evers Sliwa.

Fast forward to today, and the thought of ordinary citizens patrolling our subways sounds like a far-fetched plot of a comic book. Vigilantes have been replaced by CCTV cameras, safety apps and the ever-watchful presence of social media. But can digital surveillance really replace the reassurance that came with the sight of those red berets, the comfort of knowing that there were ordinary folks willing to put their lives on the line for the safety of their fellow citizens? I dare say it cannot! So here's to the 80s, to the Guardian Angels, and to a time when courage and community spirit were our strongest weapons. Now, where did I put my red beret?

Puffing Away in Pubs and Living Rooms: When Smokescreens Were a Sign of Good Times.

Smoking inside pubs in the 80s

During the 80s, the notion of a 'smoke-free' environment was about as alien as a mobile phone. Ashtrays were a common sight, not mere relics on a vintage shop's dusty shelf. They adorned every pub table, nestled in living rooms, and were an essential accessory in the office. A pint, a fag, and a hearty chat - the perfect trio for any British pub-goer. Meanwhile across the pond, American homes were often shrouded in a hazy blue mist, the air heavy with the scent of Marlboros and Salems. Social gatherings were clouded in smoky wreaths from cigarettes, cigars, and pipes alike, the mark of a good time echoing in the air and clinging onto clothes for days after.

Woman smoking indoors

Today, the very thought of lighting up a cigarette indoors would raise more than a few eyebrows. It's all about 'smoke-free' zones and clean air acts now. The only thing we're allowed to puff away on indoors are e-cigarettes, and even then, the amount of vape clouds one can release before someone irately wafts their hand in front of their face is limited. But as they say, times change, and so does the definition of social etiquette and health consciousness. So here's to the 80s, to the smoky memories, and to a time when it was cool to smoke indoors. Now, where did I put that old ashtray?

Pull-Out Posters and Magazine Madness: When Walls Were Our Galleries

80s bedroom with posters on the wall

The 80s, when the walls of our bedrooms were plastered with pull-out posters from magazines. Musical heartthrobs, movie stars, and cartoon characters all jostled for space on our personal galleries. A fresh edition of your favourite magazine meant a new addition to your collection, an exhilarating prospect that sent shivers down your spine. Today, the thought of sticking a poster on our pristine, carefully curated walls sounds like an interior design disaster. Our 'wall art' now is tastefully framed, minimalist, and often requires a deep analysis to understand. Yet, can anything match the simple joy of peeling open a fresh magazine, the anticipation of discovering who or what the centre spread would unveil, the satisfaction of covering yet another bare patch on your wall? Aye, life in the 80s was indeed full of simple pleasures. Does anyone have a spare Blu Tack?

Beeper Buzz and Clipped Communicating: When Pagers Were the Pulse of Connectivity

1980s Motorola Pager

Remember when the humble pager was the epitome of modern communication. In an era where mobile phones were as bulky as a brick and as expensive as a small car, pagers were our lifelines, our tethers to the wider world. This little gadget hooked onto our belts was a badge of honour, a sign that you were important enough to be reachable at all times. A beep and a glance was all it took to get the message. No emojis, no read receipts, no 'last seen' - communication was devoid of frills, yet efficient.

Imagine, if you can, a world where you had to call a control centre, relay your message, and then have it sent to the recipient's pager. It sounds convoluted, cumbersome even, but in the 80s, it was a marvel of technology. And let's not forget the cryptic alpha-numeric messages, when "07734" spelled "Hello" and "1-4-3" meant "I Love You". Phone pagerIt was the dawn of digital shorthand, a precursor to today's LOLs and BRBs.

The notion of using a pager seems as archaic as carving messages onto a stone tablet. But as we grapple with the relentless onslaught of emails, texts, and endless social media notifications, there is something to be said for the simplicity of the humble pager. So here's to the 80s, to the beeping buzz of a pager, and to a time when connectivity was simple and straightforward. Now, where did I put that old pager?

Parachute Pants: When Threads Had Thigh Room

MC Hammer on stage wearing Parachute Pants during the 1980s

Only 80s stuff like parachute pants defied the laws of fashion and gravity alike. These striking trousers, billowing out like the sails of a ship, were the height of cool. With their high waist, multiple zippers, and wide silhouette, parachute pants were the sartorial embodiment of the decade's daring spirit. Dancing to the rhythm of breakdance beats, the swoosh of the parachute pants was a symphony to the ears of fashion rebels. 

Contrast that with today's skinny jeans, vacuum-sealed around the legs, restricting movement and circulation in equal measure.

Parachute Pants from the 80s

The fashion landscape is littered with ripped knees and failed attempts at retrieving fallen wallets from too-tight pockets. Parachute pants, with their generous room and plethora of pockets, were not just a fashion statement but a storage solution too. 

Whilst the sight of parachute pants today might induce a chuckle or two, let's not forget the freedom they championed - the freedom to move, to dance, and to carry more than your mobile phone and a credit card. So here's to the 80s, to billowing trousers, and to a time when fashion was not just about aesthetics but comfort and practicality too. Now, where did I put those parachute pants?

Pack Up the Car, We're Off: When Family Holidays Meant Road Trips and B&Bs

Small yellow camper van going on road trip

In the 80s, when family holidays weren’t about jetting off to exotic locations or posting the perfect beach selfie. No, holidays in the 80s were all about piling into the family car, suitcases bursting at the seams and arguing over the best route to take. The trusty road map took pride of place, spread across the dashboard, while the dulcet tones of the local radio station provided the soundtrack to our adventure.

Still from National Lampoons Vacation film

Our destinations? Quaint bed-and-breakfasts, where a hearty fry-up awaited us each morning, or seaside resorts, where the waves lapped against the shore and the aroma of fish 'n' chips filled the air. Afternoons were spent building sandcastles, licking ice-creams, and if we were really lucky, a trip to the local funfair.

Compare this to the choreographed holiday experiences of today, where every minute is accounted for, every meal pre-decided, and the biggest decision is whether to post an Instagram story or a Snapchat. The authenticity, the spontaneity, the family bond - all seem to have faded into oblivion, replaced by Wi-Fi zones and luxury spas.

Rust-Buckets and Lemon Cars: When Vehicles Wore Their Age Proudly

80s rusty old car

The 80s decade, when cars weren’t just machines, but characters with personalities, quirks and, yes, rust. Remember when vehicles bore the badge of nature’s patina, proudly showcasing their life experiences in the form of rust patches? The rust was a testament of age, of many journeys taken, of countless memories forged on the road. 

The culprits? Well, quite simply, the materials and manufacturing methods of the time. Back then, cars were made of steel, a sturdy, reliable, but oh-so rust-prone material. Combined with less advanced painting and coating techniques, these steel-bodied stalwarts were often left vulnerable to the elements, especially in areas with harsh climates or where road salt was used extensively in winters. 

Moreover, rust was an accepted part of car ownership. A rusty car wasn't necessarily seen as a clunker, but a vehicle that had been lived in, used, enjoyed. A chip here, a rust patch there, all part of the car’s story, like laugh lines on a well-lived face.

Car scrap yard full of old rusty carsContrast that to today's cars, with their rust-proof coatings, aluminium bodies, and advanced materials. Modern vehicles may outlast their 80s counterparts, but they seem somehow... sterile, soulless. They age gracefully, yes, but also invisibly, without the character and personality that a sprinkle of rust could imbue. So, here's to all 80s stuff, like rust-buckets and lemon cars, and to a time when age and wear were badges of honour, not something to be scrubbed and hidden away. Now, where did I put those old car keys?

"You're Soaking In It": When TV Commercials Were Unambiguously Cheesy

80s Palmolive dish soap commercial

The 80s, the golden age of television commercials, where jingles were catchy, mascots were endearing, and the sales pitch was as subtle as a sledgehammer. Remember when a tub of margarine could pass for butter, a toy could become a child’s best friend, and a catchy jingle could embed itself in your brain for days, nay, decades?

Take, for instance, the infamous Palmolive dish soap commercials. Who can forget Madge the Manicurist telling her shocked clients, "You're soaking in it!" – a line that would become one of the most recognisable catchphrases of the decade. And then there was the Coca-Cola advertisement, with its message of global unity and peace, delivered through a chorus of "I'd like to teach the world to sing."

still from Coca-Cola advertisement in the 1980s

Contrast that with today's oblique, abstract commercials, where the actual product often takes a backseat to sweeping drone shots and cryptic metaphors. The sales pitch has been replaced by a subliminal whisper, the jingle by a popular chartbuster, and the memorable tagline by a forgettable hashtag.

So here's to all that lovely 80s stuff, to jingles that wouldn't leave your head, to mascots that felt like family, and to commercials that were unapologetically direct. Now, where did I put that remote control?

Harrington and Members Only Jackets: When Jackets Were More Than Just Outerwear

Clark Kent Wearing the

Those 80s, when a jacket was not merely a garment to protect you from the elements, but a badge of honour, a declaration of your style credentials. Remember the Harrington jacket? With its tartan-lined interior, stand collar, and a zipper that went all the way up to the neck, it was the epitome of cool. Worn by everyone from James Dean to Steve McQueen, the Harrington jacket was the ultimate symbol of rebellious youth and effortless style.

And then there was the Members Only jacket. Oh, the Members Only jacket! With its signature epaulettes, throat latch, and the ostentatious "Members Only" logo, it was a true 80s icon. Steve from 'Stranger Things' wearing his Members Only JacketIt had a certain prestige, a certain exclusivity, as if wearing one automatically made you part of a cool, secret club. 

Contrast that with today's outerwear landscape, with its generic puffers and unremarkable hoodies. Where once jackets were bold, distinctive, and full of personality, they are now relegated to being functional, sensible, and, well, a tad dull. 

Pedal Power and Wheelie Good Times: When BMX and Rollerskates Ruled the Streets

Blue BMX with Mag wheels

Remember when the humble bicycle was transformed into a freestyling beast and four-wheel skates were the ultimate symbol of cool. Remember the BMX? With its knobbly tyres, sturdy frame, and the ability to pull off the gnarliest tricks, it was not just a mode of transportation but a statement of freedom and rebellion. Kids would spend hours at the local skate park, showing off their latest tricks, competing for who could pull off the most audacious jump or who could ride the longest wheelie.

3 girls dressed in 80s clothes wearing rollerskates

And then there were the rollerskates. Oh, the clicking rhythm of wheels on tarmac, the colourful neon straps, the joy of breezing down the street with the wind in your hair - that was pure 80s stuff bliss. Roller discos were the place to be, where fluorescent lights, groovy music, and the sound of skates thundering on the wooden floor created an atmosphere of carefree fun and excitement.

Contrast that with today's silent scooters and hoverboards. Sure, they're sleek, they're modern, they're electric, but do they have the character, the charm, the soul of a BMX bike or a pair of rollerskates? I think not. So, here’s to the 80s, to BMX bikes and rollerskates, to scraped knees and windblown hair, and to a time when youngsters weren't glued to screens, but to the real, thrilling, outdoor world. Now, where did I put my knee pads?

Not Every Household Owned a Car: The Days of the Humble Bus and the Underrated Art of Walking

Not every driveway was graced by the presence of a car, and catching a bus or going for a walk was not just a necessity, but a way of life. Remember the humble bus? Clunky, rattling, often tardy, but oh-so-reliable. With their distinctive bell chime, the rattle of coins in the fare box, and the camaraderie of fellow passengers, bus journeys were an experience in and of themselves.

All Hail the Almighty Bus Conductor: The Unsung Hero of the 80s

Bus conductor on a UK bus in the 1980sUK life in the 80s saw bus conductors as well as the driver on public buses. Dressed in a uniform of authority, armed with a ticket machine, and carrying an unflappable sense of duty, they were truly the heart and soul of every bus journey. Remember the conductor's signature call of "Any more fares?" - a question that was more of a declaration that they ruled the bus roost.

The conductor didn't just dispense tickets, oh no, they were your travel guide, your timekeeper, your morning news source, and often, a friend. The conductor knew everyone and every stop, a human GPS before the term even existed. They'd nudge you awake at your stop if you'd nodded off, help the elderly up the steep bus steps, and sometimes let you off if you were a few pence short.

Contrast that with today's contactless cards and self-service machines. They may be convenient, and they don't give you the stink eye if you don't have exact change. But they don't greet you with a cheery "Morning!" or offer a sympathetic ear after a hard day. They don't have the warmth, the personality, the character of a bus conductor. So, here's to the 80s, to the humble bus conductor, and to a time when human interaction was a vital part of the daily commute. Now, where did I put my old bus pass?

People waling down the High Street during the 80s

And then there was walking. Oh, the simple joy of walking! The rhythmic sound of footsteps, the wind in your hair, the world passing by at a leisurely pace. It wasn't just about getting from point A to B, but about savouring the journey, appreciating the surroundings, and embracing the freedom and independence that walking offered.

Contrast that with today's motorised travel and GPS-guided routes. Sure, they're efficient, they're fast, they're convenient. But do they have the charm, the simplicity, the soul of a bus ride or a leisurely stroll? I think not. So here's to 80s stuff like bus tickets and walking shoes, to unplanned detours and spontaneous adventures, and to a time when travel wasn't just about the destination, but also about the journey. Now, where did I put my bus pass?

Remember Woodchip Wallpaper: The Textured Treasure of 80s Interior Design

Woodchip Wallpaper picture

The Eighties, an era when interior design took a bold turn towards texture and practicality with the introduction of an unlikely hero – the woodchip wallpaper. A decorative layer that brought a certain tactile charm, a unique ruggedness, to the walls of homes across the country. Remember the woodchip wallpaper? The gritty surface that disguised imperfections, the DIY-friendly application, and the surprisingly satisfying process of stripping it off when a style overhaul was due. It was an icon of its time, a silent symbol of 80s pragmatism, and craftsmanship. Contrast that with today's minimalist aesthetics and sleek designs. Yes, they're modern, neat, and give off a certain clean sophistication. But do they have the character, the texture, the spirit of a woodchip wallpapered wall? I think not. So here's to the 80s, to the humble woodchip wallpaper, to the joy of rolling paint onto its rugged surface, and to a time when interior design was not just about aesthetic appeal, but also about tactile experience and practicality. Now, where did I put my wallpaper scraper?

Moon Boots and Ski Wear: The Unforgettable Icons of 80s Winter Fashion

80s Moon Boots

Moon boots and ski wear were the epitome of 80s winter fashion, a testament to the era's penchant for bold colours, exaggerated shapes, and a somewhat unapologetic disregard for subtlety. Remember the moon boots? These were oversized, padded boots that looked as if they were designed for lunar exploration. With their chunky rubber soles, thick padding, and out-of-this-world aesthetic, they were a pair of footwear that made a statement, a declaration of one's flamboyant style and daring spirit.

Ski wear, on the other hand, was a cornucopia of neon-coloured jackets, patterned knitwear, and tight-fitted trousers, a spectacle of vibrant hues and striking designs. 2 children in ski wearThe 80s ski wear was more than just about functionality; it was a canvas for expressing personal style, a reflection of the era's fascination with glamour and excess, even on the slopes.

Contrast that with today's streamlined, technologically advanced ski wear and understated winter boots. Yes, they're practical, they're efficient, they're designed for performance. But do they have the pizazz, the audacity, the soul of 80s moon boots and ski wear? I think not. So, here's to the 80s, to the unabashed glamour of ski wear, to the curious allure of moon boots, and to a time when winter fashion was not just about staying warm, but about standing out. Now, where did I put my neon ski suit?

The Good Old Days: When Nostalgia Wasn't Just a Thing of the Past

Life in the 80s, when nostalgia was still fresh and new, a mere twinkle in our eyes. Remember the joy of reminiscing? The mesmerizing texture of woodchip wallpaper, the unapologetic flamboyance of moon boots and ski wear, the humble bus conductor, and the evocative power of nostalgia — these were the threads that wove the vibrant tapestry of 80s life. Today, as we navigate our way through a world increasingly marked by digital detachment and minimalistic aesthetics, let's take a moment to remember the charm and character that defined the 80s. So, here's to the 80s — to its quirks, its boldness, its spirit — and to a time when life was not just about keeping pace with change, but about cherishing every moment. So here's to all 80s stuff and the golden age of nostalgia, to the time when memories were made to be remembered, not just recorded. Now, where did I put my rose-tinted glasses?