Monday, February 13, 2012

Back to the 80s

In 1989, when I was 17, my friend Kathryn phoned me excitedly to tell me that she had been rooting through her elder sister's wardrobe and found a Readers Digest boxed set of "The Sensational 70s" LPs. We listened, amazed at how awful yet great they were, and suddenly turned into Generation Xers - ironically appreciating older cultural offerings.

This was just the start. Before the year was out, we were holding 1970s parties, dragooning our friends along and demanding that they wear their parents' old clothes and even wigs. We stuck pictures of ankhs on the walls of our bedrooms, put in a red light bulb and freaked out to disco and the Wombles. One party ended up with us all wandering around Peterlee town centre late at night, posing with shopping trolleys in our 1970s costumes (we actually weren't that different to what anyone else was wearing, but I'd hoped that we might have bumped into a lone drunk and convinced him that he'd travelled back in time).

Now, retro is everywhere - there are even 1990s bars (and I still live in the 1990s). But we at least have the satisfaction that we were ahead of a trend. I'm sure if we'd been living in London, rather than the backwaters of nowhere, we'd have been "spotted" and given our own youth tv programme to present. Ah well.

Kathryn and me are still friends, although we don't live close by any more. At the weekend, I visited her, and thought it would be even more ironic to hold a 1980s party. How unaware we were at the time of holding our 1970s parties, that one day we'd be remincising about the very decade we were trying to escape from! How's that for Generation X!
Starter" - Ritz crackers and soft cheese, festooned with nuts and bits of pineapple. I was already feeling slightly naseous by the end of this course.

For the "main" - potato waffles and Findus Crispy Pancakes (cheese flavour). When I used to eat these in the actual 1980s, one of my meaner friends said "Oh Paul, get a class lift." You don't have to chew any of this. It just sliiiiides down. And it tastes of nothing. I like how one of the crispy pancakes has vomitted out its contents.

Sunday lunch time in our house between 1984 and 1988 was always ended by Vienetta, as Britain made an early attempt to emulate Italian living. Strangely, the ice-cream tasted exactly the same as potato waffles but the innovation was in the use of crunchy layers of chocolate to add texture - something largely absent from 80s dining.

And here it is. Once the silver/grey wrapping it came in had been removed (a bit like a giant choc ice wrapper), it is resplendent.

"I'LL have a Babycham". It tastes of yeast infection. Hangover guaranteed, even if you only have one. I had two.

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