01 May 2010

'80s Actual - 5th Anniversary

The original '80s Actual blog header.

May 2010 is the fifth anniversary of '80s Actual.

I began the project back in 2005 simply because I was bored with seeing pop culture history being rewritten. The 1960s, it seemed, were suddenly too far back to bother much about. The 1970s had become the new 1960s, but the problem was much 1960s pop culture was being called "70s" - which seemed naff and bizarre. The BBC led the way with its woefully inaccurate "I Love..." series, and Wikipedia was - and is - a prime purveyor of inaccurate info.

The 1980s had been designated truly awful, with absolutely no redeeming features, and likeable and quirky aspects of '80s pop culture were being rewritten as "70s" or even "90s".

The '80s were touted as simply being the decade of the Cold War, not the arrival of Gorbachev and the declared end of the Cold War in 1989 (this is sometimes moved by historian revisionists to the ultimate break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991, which was something else and demonstrates our point). The '80s were touted as simply being the decade of yuppies, not Greenham Common or Red Wedge. The tremendous rise in concern for the environment during the 1980s was ignored.

The '80s were, apparently, simply a greedy time.

But we were all right now.

And the '70s had been absolutely lovely (with stuck-on '60s and '80s pop culture, of course!).

It really seemed boring and nonsensical to me, so, with hardly any experience of computing, I sailed forth to produce a blog which would be a place for people to visit if they wished to recollect the 1980s as they actually were in reality.

Hence "'80s Actual".

Blogger was - and is - a brilliant tool for web novices, and so I found getting the idea off the ground very easy indeed.

'80s Actual was never intended to be a hymn of praise to the 1980s. Every decade has its faults, but I wanted to portray just what a dramatic era the '80s were, how jumbled, colourful, vibrant and contrasting those years were.

It seems to me that 1982 and 1987 were two different planets. There was 1982, waggling its deelyboppers, dressed in ra ra skirt and leggings, crunching cheese and onion crisps. There was 1987, toying with a bag of cream cheese and chive, coolly power dressed, eyeing the Financial Times - before suddenly going absolutely bonkers and ripping the rug out from under the yuppies with the Stock Market crash.

And the Acid House craze of 1988 made 1987 seem so old hat.

So much changed.

Warm, happy memories of the Rubik's Cube, the ZX Spectrum, the Scotch Skeleton ads, the Apple Mac, "You Got An Ology", etc, jostling with the much harsher realities of inner city rioting, Chernobyl, Clause 28, and the 1987 Stock Market crash.

Today there is still a big "anti-80s" thing going on.

But it's far too easy to blame the decade for all today's wrongs.

Far too easy to negate its innovations and fondly remembered fads.

Far too silly to pretend that the likeable elements were "70s" or "90s".

I enjoy producing this blog, and I'm grateful for all the comments I've had over the years.

Thanks to everybody who drops in.

There'll be more!


Peter Gray said...

Happy 5th Birthday..
Really enjoy your blog..and the 80's were a kid..

Drew said...

Thanks, Peter - lots more to come! As a teen-to-mid twenties lad, I thought the '80s were fascinating and a great time to be alive.

James P said...

Well done - brilliant blog!

Anonymous said...

congrats on 5 supercool years! i often look back at the eighties with total nostalgia and wonder if its a part of getting old?...probably yes, but i think that the eighties decade was something special as well...i really enjoy your blog because you constantly manage to remind me of parts of the decade that i'd forgotten about...and for me that is the beauty of your blog...

thanks for putting the time into it...and long may it continue

Drew said...

Many thanks - I hope I can find lots more '80s memories for you to enjoy!

Maria said...

Wonderful - love reading "The Actual". Keep it up!

Sammie said...

Great escape from snobby prigs who love to diss the '80s... Happy 5th anniversary.

Cerys said...

You're doing a grand job! xxxx