Things I miss about the 80s


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I made the mistake of mentioning to one of my work colleagues the other day that I was planning to see John Mellencamp when he comes to town in November. Nothing sinister in that, except I mentioned I also saw him when he came to Perth in 1987.

“1987?” said my incredulous colleague. “I was born in 1987.” Talk about a reality check. In my defence, I was 16 when I saw Mellencamp strut his stuff, so it’s not like I’m ready for the scrap heap just yet.

But it got me thinking about an era that many say is best forgotten, however those of us who lived in this time still cling onto it with fond (some say disturbing) memories.

Ah, the 80s. What’s not to love? Here’s my list of what I miss from a decade of big hair, breakdancing and Bon Jovi.

Flannelette shirts. Arguably the most versatile piece of clothing ever made. You could wear it to the pub, wear it fishing, even sleep in it. And it was a shirt for all seasons - just roll the sleeves up and unbutton it if it was hot, or do it all up when the chill set in. And most importantly they had a big pocket to keep the Winnie Blues in. I even hear they are making something of a comeback.

The mullet. Admit it guys, we all had one, or at least tried to grow one. Some succeeded but most failed. If your hair reached the collar of your flannelette shirt then you were on the right track. Don’t ever knock the mullet (unless you are talking about Billy Ray Cyrus or Michael Bolton, who looked just plain).

Headbanging. If you were at a party where AC/DC was tearing up the stereo and you woke up the next morning without your neck feeling like it had been belted with a cricket bat, then hide your face in shame. Headbanging was a true art and if you could get into the rhythm you could go for hours. A chiropractors’ dream.

Hypercolor t-shirts. Remember these wonders that changed colour depending on the temperature? And remember how you could place your hands in a strategic place on a girl and you could see exactly where your hands had been?

Beer. It was simple back in the 80s - Emu Export or Emu Bitter. The odd mate might have nicked a few cans of Foster’s from his old man’s fridge but they were generally shunned.

Thin black leather ties. The ultimate style statement for your school ball.

Lollies. You could buy 10 lollies for 10c, but we were horrified that as the decade wore on we only got five for the same amount. How times have changed.

Commodore 64. I don’t know about you but my whole world changed when I got my Commodore 64. The ultimate in 80s technology.

Stonewash. We all owned a pair of stonewash jeans at some stage. Some of us were lucky enough to have a stonewash denim jacket as well. Sadly, I’ve still got mine. I refuse to throw it away in case I get invited to an 80s-themed party.

The music. Although I was a big Accadacca and Angels fan, I secretly listened to and sang along with all the glam bands of the time - Spandau Ballet, Howard Jones, Thompson Twins, Duran Duran … there will never be anything like it again.

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Reader Comments


08/08/2008 at 18:47

It IS aggravating when people say things like, "I wasn't born then," or "I was still in primary school," etc. My only consolation is that it will happen to them one day and then they can feel old. I still think we were lucky to grow up in the 80s though :)


09/08/2008 at 10:55

Always said I'd never want to sound like my mother, but my god I am. When I was younger growing up in the 80's I remember the speedway, then down to Bernie's for a hamburger, flannelette shirts - hubbie still wears them - driving down Hay St in boyfriends FJ, fox tail on aerial, sitting just about on his lap, young men strutting around like peacocks looking for girls. Yes beer tasted like beer then, I drunk spewiemantie wine, pimps, ouzo, stilettos shoes, the teased up hair, oh I could go on and on, yes they certainly were the good days. Still a head banger, hubbie can't believe that I'm 60 & still enjoy AC/DC (yes mum I can hear you). But unfortunately times change and look what we've got today, say no more.


11/08/2008 at 22:46

Also, playing outside until the lights come on...Building cubby houses and go-carts....commodore 64, how cool was it back then, that and the atari 2600...copying tapes off your mates...growing up in the eighties was very cool

Angel girl

20/08/2008 at 18:18

Yes. The memories!! It was a fantastic time. There were also some excellent movies made during that decade including THE GOONIES and other masterpieces.
The music, the fashion, the fun we had as children - we were lucky. :)
I have to admit I laugh so much when I mention bands, movies and traditions from those days and the younger ones give me that blank stare - it is worth it just for that look!!
We were just too cool.


21/08/2008 at 19:05

Oh ! I remember it well. I too used to drive to Bernie's for a hamburger with my boyfriend, whom I later married. Those were also the days off dances down at the local hall with the local band where we could dance the night away, Rock-&-Roll, Jive etc and walk home without any fear of being accosted likeit is now in todays society. Thanks for bringing up the subject Jamie!


26/08/2008 at 19:37

Hey - I'm going to Johnny Cougar too! So exciting!
I miss the PLACES we went in the 80s - It's A Small World (whatever happened to that place??) Dizzy Lamb Park, Castle Park in Mandurah, Atlantis... actually I never went to Atlantis it closed before my parents could make good on their promise - boo hoo.

hamish cashinella

17/02/2009 at 21:24

i was born in 1988 and i think the 80s has some of my favourite bands tracks from that era raw attitude which can flog todays posers acdc fly on the wall sounds so much better than this fall out boy of my generation flannels i love em wear em all the time and emu bitter vb and fosters well the beer certainly taste a hell of a lot better and more manly this all this metro crap


24/06/2011 at 19:45

I miss the 80's. Although born in 1975, I remember we used to go rollerskating at the rink in Wanneroo with all the cool music. We could play outside til dinner time and ride around with no helmets. And the blokes all in their flannos, black jeans and db's, and not forgetting the winnie blues up their sleeves. lol And the mullets. And all the mint old cars, like the XY Falcons and the car horns that played music. Oh how I wish we could go back to the simplicity of the 80's without mobile phones, the internet and computers.. *sigh*


01/09/2011 at 11:27

I was born in 77 so the 80's for me was a great great time to be a kid!

the movies, tv shows, music, toys were all at their peak!

my mates and I used to play A-Team during lunch at school revisiting the episode we watched that week or my cousin and I would have wrestling matches and pretend to be Hulk Hogan.

As each decade passes I feel a little bit more sadder that we are further away from the greatest decade of them all.

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