In 1984 at BRGS I was the editor of our School magazine “Squirrel”. I wrote a nihilistic editorial referring to Orwellian disaster, and the truth was the clock was sitting at three minutes to Midnight, something not to be taken lightly.
I suspect most of my friends in the same or similar age-group reflect back on what were perceived to be good times of the eighties despite its obvious flaws. The information age was just beginning to emerge and everything we did in the eighties was bigger and better than it had ever been before. The eighties gave us Top Gun wings and we flew, Gloria Gaynor and Sylvester Stallone made sure we would survive even if times were hard. I sent more than one failed relationship out the door in my pink legwarmers. I didn’t get swept off my feet by some Richard Gere, Officer type but I had fun trying. I am still convinced I owe a little bit of my own fortitude and resilience to Goldie Hawn’s performance in Private Benjamin and accepted my own quirks and foibles because of characters like Ally in the Breakfast Club.
Perhaps the ra-ra skirts and Club Tropicana were our own way of shaking off the pervasive doom that had settled on us throughout the previous decade, which had been punctuated by strikes, unrest, fuel shortages and the three day week. We had come together as a nation to celebrate the Silver Jubilee, to protect our territory in the Falklands and to see our magical Princess wed her Prince and yet still the Cold war raged and the doomsday clock ticked on.
The dystopian nightmare of the nuclear propaganda machine, the make-shift attempts at fall-out shelters for Panaorma documentaries and the secret world beneath our cities seemed to be a dark shadow of a murky past once Gorbachev came to power in 1985 as I moved away to University. The cold war was over and just after my 23rd birthday, the Berlin wall came down, to me the very symbol of the spies and lies and iron curtain and all that we had feared.
Have we now come full circle, is this the return of the nightmare that was. What time is it now Mr Wolf?
Link to the original Squirrel 1984.
There is only one video clip I can think off to celebrate/acknowledge both then and now: