Friday, 8 July 2011

Who am I? Really? Part two - the 80's.

Ah yes.  The decade that fashion forgot.  String vests and leg warners, neon coloured socks and pixie boots. and that was just the men! But I was more than guilty of a few disasters in that department, believe me.  I've got the pictures to prove it, or rather my mother has and she can keep them.  At least I always know where there are should I ever need a laugh.
But the 80's didn't just churn out terrible fashion trends and hairstyles that needed so much hairspray scaffolding was essential, no, in my opinion it also turned out some of the best music.  Because this was the decade that opened my eyes to the joys of live music gigs.  And my first ever concert?
Adam & The Ants - My first ever live gig

Adam & The Ants at Newcastle City Hall.  I could only have been 12 or 13 at the time but I had the biggest crush on Adam Ant!  He had the most gorgeous eyes! He probably still has but I've moved on now, anyway,  I went to that concert wearing one of those frilly white New Romantic shirts that were all the rage at the time with a white stripe over my nose.  Probably made out of gaffer tape my dad had in the garage, I can't remember, but practically everyone at that gig had a white stripe over their noses, it was a sight to behold.  And even though it was so long ago, I can still remember how amazing that gig was, like some elaborate, colourful stage show in three parts with huge video screens (quite state of the art in 1981!) and numerous costume changes.  I loved every second of it.  Right there and then my love of music and live concerts was born.

So, who else did I have the pleasure of seeing perform live?  Bloody loads!  I'm having trouble remembering them all actually but names ranged from Haircut 100 to Paul Young, Wham! and Frankie Goes To Hollywood to Tom Jones (the latter's concert was actually a birthday present to my mum but my dad didn't fancy it so I went instead, and he was actually really good was Mr. Jones!). I wouldn't say I ever came close to being a groupie, but I could be seen on many an occasion during the 80's throwing myself (not literally, but almost!) over the balcony at Newcastle City Hall just to get close to Andrew Ridgeley!  Hmm, maybe I always had a hunch George Michael was gay, I mean, come on!  That 'Club Tropicana' video should have been a big enough give away!  It was more camp than a row of tents at Glastonbury!

Duran Duran - the best night ever in November '82
Anyway, after that Adam & The Ants gig, the most memorable live concert of the 80's for me has to have been Duran Duran, also at Newcastle City Hall, in November 1982.  A memorable day for a lot of reasons, and not just because most of the female population of Monkseaton High School were off to see the band that night and the excitement could be felt emanating from everyone in a skirt (we didn't do trousers for females at school back then, mores the pity, because those grey A-line skirts couldn't have been more unflattering).
The corridors were alive with the chatter of how gorgeous John Taylor was as we clutched our poster- covered exercise books to our chests, dreaming about how we'd love Simon le Bon to sing 'Save A Prayer' just to us.  We used to have lunchtime disco's back then too, (don't ask why) on a Friday, which was handy as the concert was on a Friday, and I can remember all the girls piling into the sports hall and bombarding the DJ (can't for the life of me remember who DJ'd those disco's though - teacher maybe?  A sixth former?) with requests for Duran Duran songs, causing all the boys to abandon their usual hanging round the wall bars stance and leave the room completely in disgust.  They used to hang around the side of the hall waiting for a Madness song to come on so they could then "pogo" around the place knocking into the girls and thinking they were hard, but they were getting none of that on Duran Duran Friday!  Oh no, us girls had total control!  No idea how I got through the rest of that day though to be honest, but I think it was Home Economics all Friday afternoon so we probably just faffed about a lot, that's what we usually did in Home Economics, which might go a long way to explaining my limited culinary skills.

But I said it was a memorable evening for more than one reason, because that day in November 1982 was also the day Channel 4 launched, and the excitememt of going to see Duran Duran live could only be matched by the fact that we now had a 4th TV channel! So many reasons to dance round the room that night....

And Channel 4 launched with The Tube, direct and live from Newcastle with - Duran Duran!  I tell you, I really don't know how I didn't faint with the hyperventilation I went through that Friday.  Seeing them on the TV with Paula Yates as I donned my blue eyeliner, knowing I'd be 2nd row at that gig, almost within touching distance of Simon le Bon!  It was a great night too, one of the best.  Can't for the life of me actually remember any singing because the screaming was so loud but it was an experience.  And I went to bed one very happy teenager that night, safe in the knowledge that the concert may be over, but I was still waking up to 4 TV channels in the morning!  Still didn't have a telly with a remote control though...

So, while the 70's was the decade that shaped my love of books, the 80's was the decade that introduced me to a love of music. And that's never died either, I still love my music and I still love my live gigs, although I don't go to as many as I'd like to anymore.  But the 80's also introduced me to boys (not even going to go into any experience concerning them!), under-age drinking down The Olive Grove on South Parade in Whitley Bay, and the world of work.  All in all a pretty busy decade really - the decade in which I grew up you could say.  The decade in which I learned a lot.  The decade when we still had end-of-term discos and Proms were still only something the Americans did.  I had a good time in the 80's.  Good memories, on the whole.  But the 90's, well, that was probably my favourite decade.  That was the decade when I had the most fun...

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