The 80s are being sold as a decade of big hair, big shoulder pads, city boys with red braces, Thatcher, boom years, yuppies. That wasn’t my 80s.
My 80s were a decade of rigid fundamentalism. John O’Farrell’s Things Can Only Get Better tells it like it is. He ponders forming a “Lefties Anonymous” where people stand up and testify “I was ridiculously left-wing in the 80s!”. He confesses that a friend of his decided that smiling was right-wing, and he himself even thought flowers were right-wing. Yes, that captures the flavour.
And while we were grimly attending political cabarets and miners' benefits, girls in snow-washed jeans were dancing to Duran Duran. We were supposed to be all working together to create the perfect world – but we weren’t allowed to have any fun. And the time has come to say: Get a life! Lighten up!
And what was the point of it all? The project was never subjected to Blairite management targets, mission statements, box-ticking, defining outcomes, metrics, audit of whether outcomes met.
So did our joyless struggling achieve anything? What happened to the people who once were going to “smash capitalism”? They never say “Oh yes, we were going to smash capitalism, weren’t we, and it’s still there. Oh, well. And we were going to abolish sexism and inequality too…”
The Eighties Continued
Quotes about the Eighties
The 10 80s Commandments