Okay, so I know there are lots of similar pieces flying round cyberspace, but I just couldn’t resist. So many things have been popping up of late and making me oddly nostalgic that I just had to have a go for myself. I was born in 1982, so there may be some overlap into the 90’s, and there might be some points that don’t resonate with those born later in the 80’s. A few years mean so much when you’re young. Still, dig in and see what you think, and if you come across any weird stuff, please forgive me. I didn’t have the most conventional childhood.
I could write a whole post just about what I remember from kids TV in the 80’s and 90’s. Us 30 and 40 somethings seem to love talking childrens TV from ‘back when it was still good and Charlie and Lola were still thankfully decades away’. It’s colloquially known as ‘spangles disease’, though this is a sweetie more from my parents generation (don’t worry – sweets are coming next).
I was scared by: Count Duckula (I couldn’t even listen to the music without sweating) and Orm and Cheap, which had a really scary black crow in it. I was also haunted by a softmints advert that introduced us to ‘Mr Soft’, man that guy gave me chills.
I loved and wanted to take part in: FUN HOUSE with Pat Sharpe! Pat and his very on trend long blonde mullet would introduce two duos who would get to complete in challenges and ultimately scale the ‘fun house’ which was a bit like your average soft play area is now but with gunge and shaving foam and such. It was awesome and I watched it religiously. Note: this was also a time when childrens TV aired for a couple of hours after school and Saturday mornings, and you had to be there when the program was on. No Sky+, no YouTube. However did we manage?
Neil Buchanan, who despite rumours is not dead hosted two shows that I loved. My favourite was called Finders Keepers and featured the tried and tested two teams of two approach. These lucky chosen few would ransack a mock up of a house, looking for things and generally making a mess completing challenges and finding things so they could win. I have no idea what they won, but as far as I was concerned getting to go on the show and actually ransack a house, real or not, was a prize in and of itself. He also went on to host art attack, but despite much practice, stick figures and V4J scribbles on paper and then on the back or my hand were as good as it got for me. Don’t even start me on tippex and PVA glue and their multiple uses (mainly as either nail polish you could write on or stuff to be smeared over the back of your hands and satisfyingly peeled off in sheets).
As a child of the 80’s, you may have had a BMX or a ‘shopper’ bike. A racer or maybe if you were lucky, one of those new fangled mountain bikes. Probably it was just your cousins old bike and you had no idea what it was, you were just glad you had it. Back then, riding bikes was actually a thing to do, and not just a method of getting from place to place. I’m not talking ramps and jumps either, just riding up the road (as far as your Mum would let you go) and back again, and up….and back again, probably all afternoon, until your Casio watch (if you were lucky) told you it was time for dinner. If you were an eater of cereals, you may have collected ‘spokey dokeys’ which were coloured plastic things you put on the spokes of your bike so that people could hear you coming from half a mile away. They were as cool as my neon culottes and the neon shoelaces of my friends that I coveted and now, at 32, finally have – yay me!
I’m going to sound just like my Dad did to me when he used to talk about ‘the old days’ (the 50’s), but back in the 80’s you really did get proper penny mix. You would take a giant, by today’s standards, ten pence coin to the shop and spend them on ten huge white mice, foam shrimps and jazzies. If you were really flush and had 20p, you might consider some of the expensive 2p sweets, which really were a prize. With a crunchy white bag full of penny mix, the world really was alright, and we didn’t sit on the kerb and dream of the days when we would have smartphones and WiFi, and would never be so bored that running around a field (that you were not allowed in) or playing behind a bush (that you were not allowed behind) would constitute the majority of your free time.
But it wasn’t so bad! We had books. Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl dominated my bookshelf. I saw myself as Matilda, in a world that didn’t understand her (yes, even from 0-8) and aspired to jolly picnics with a gang of well to do friends. With a book in my hand, there was nowhere I couldn’t go and no situation I couldn’t escape.
What decade did you grow up in? What are your fondest memories?