Top Five Memories of Growing Up in the 80s



5) VHS

Back in the 80’s people would tape a movie off the television, pull the tab out so the tape couldn’t be recorded over, and then file it away. It was like Netflix, only it lived in a series of old shoe boxes and often still included all the commercial breaks. One time my family went to my godparents’ house for a dinner party and they threw on a VHS tape in the living room to keep us kids occupied. When a channel seven promo for the movie Ghostbusters came on I totally lost my shit and ran into a room full of adults and yelled, “Dad! Mum! Guess what’s on TV next Friday!” before whipping out my best Bill Murray impersonation, “It slimed me!” to which they replied, “Aren’t you watching a video tape?” followed by five solid minutes of laughter.

4) New cars

For most of my childhood my Dad drove a giant shit-brick brown Ford Falcon station wagon that handled like a tugboat, while my mum drove a chipped eggshell white Toyota that was useless to everyone except the family of Huntsman that lived under the passenger seat. When they started releasing Holdens with bodywork designed in wind tunnels we thought they were freaking spaceships from the future. Dad got one as a company car and I remember it was total food-free zone for a whole three weeks, until by necessity I was forced to eat a choc-wedge on a trip home from the pool and smeared melted chocolate all over the back seat.


3) Food

I was raised on an Irish catholic diet of sausages, chops, side salads, mash potato and khaki coloured peas. More often than not it was a jar of Chicken Tonight or a bowl of two-minute noodles. On special occasions we might pull out the Woman’s Weekly cookbooks and whip up a beef stroganoff. We didn’t use olive oil until I was graduating Primary school and even then it was only for Salad dressings. I still remember the mum, my sister and me standing around the frying pan the first time we took it out for a test run. We stood around eating chips and nodding at each other like true connoisseurs.


2) Fashion

My poor sister caught the brunt of 80’s fashion and I’ll be forever thankful for that. Her childhood was marred by a series of frills, perms, bangles, spangles, scrunchies and side-ponytails. I spent my childhood in a regimented uniform: bright red gumboots, brown corduroy pants, a snap button plaid cowboy shirt and a puffy jacket with removable sleeves (always removed). I would refer to it as my Fonzi Jacket, even though I was dressed way more like Marty Mcfly from Back to the Future.

1) Music

I’ve managed to block out most memories of music in the 80’s. I just get a few flashes here and there: listening to Pumpin’ Hits ’84 through my sisters bright pink walkman, film clips filmed through a haze of Vaseline and impersonating Michael Jackson by grabbing my own crotch at nearly every given opportunity.