A Conversation for Growing Up in the 1980s

Class of '86

Post 1


The 80s took me from 11 to 21 and pretty much provide the frame of reference for everything I know now. Frightening, huh?

I remember writing in my diary that John Lennon had been shot because I knew it was important, but I didn't know enough for it to be important to me. When the 80s started I was listening to Journey, Styx, and the rest of the Top 40 playlist. During the 80s I listened to Adam and the Ants AND ZZ Top, Dire Straits AND Duran Duran, Michael Jackson AND Madonna, Boy George AND Bruce Springsteen. Duran Duran was my favorite band - at one point I knew what they all weighed and how to forge their signatures. (I still feel a karmic connection to John Taylor, whose birthday is exactly six months away from mine, is also in recovery, and whose eyeliner runs down into the crease under the outside corner of his eyes JUST LIKE MINE.) I also loved Def Leppard - I taped "Bringin' on the Heartbreak" from MTV on a portable cassette recorder! - and remember exactly where I was when I heard about Rick Allen's accident (back seat of Ken's car, dropping Stephanie off after the New Year's party) and Steve Clark's death. I was at the Live-Aid show in Philly and did a full-page spread on it in our school paper. I still play "Do they Know It's Christmas?" Then came the hard rock hair bands - I followed them into the 90s.

I learned how to take Rubik's Cube apart and put it back together so that all the colors were intact.

80s style was original if nothing else. I started with the ripped sweatshirts from Flashdance (I still wear them that way), passed through Madonna mesh and Duran white jazz shoes, and ended up in ripped jeans. And while I never had a mullet, I dated several.

My favorite film at the time was St. Elmo's Fire - my friends and I saw it in the theaters nine times. I think we were all going through the high school-to-college transition and it really resonated. We each had our own character (I was Jules) and could quote the entire thing. I can't remember what or who else I liked - it really has been 12 years, hasn't it?

I remember the Challenger exploding - it happened the same week of my senior year that one of our most popular classmates died on a ski slope. I remember Libya and Khadafi being the Afghanistan and bin Laden of the moment.

I know that the 80s included my undergraduate years but for me they will always be high school - writing dark, depressing poetry and stories with my favorite pop stars as characters. Wearing a black trench coat with the white scarf in the pocket like Howard Jones. My first love and my first sex. Graduation pictures with the patch of platinum hair in the front of my head. Wanting to be a cool British kid so badly and subscribing to Star Hits. Participating in Hands Across America anyway.

The 80s are my 60s and, despite pictures of me with a long, neon yellow scarf tied in my hair and 35 o-rings up my arms, they are part of me. I will always be the girl at the all night party in Room 7609 or dancing on the sand with Rio.

Class of '86

Post 2


I was still in Juniors aged 10 when the 80's started.
I lived (and still live) In Coventry. Home of 2-Tone.
Our Town, IS That Ghost Town that The Specials were singing about.

Getting Depeche Mode, Madness, The Beat (known as The English Beat to our American Cousins). Going to school one day dressed as The Dandy Highwayman because I wanted to BE Adam Ant (Sadly the job was already taken and I didn't know he'd turn out to be barking mad)

Discovering Break Dancing and wanting to BE Crazy Legs (Sadly that job was already taken as well) and join The Rock Steady Crew. Watching fashion change and secretly wishing that being a gender-bender was totally socially acceptable. (Being then a closet cross dresser who wanted nothing more than to be a Goth in a ra-ra skirt).

The 80's was a fun but difficult time. I'm sure that no matter where you grew up it was the same.

Some of it I look back on with fond memories but I'd go back a change a hell of a lot given the chance.

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