30.04.2009 08:19 - The Eighties
The Eighties. Oh, dear God, the Eighties. God help us all, it's actually coming back into fashion. A deeply worrying time for anyone who didn't want to dress to impress. In the Eighties, it was popular to refer to the Seventies as The Decade That Taste Forgot. Rather ironic, considering that the eighties were the decade where taste ran away screaming "My Eyes! My Eyes!" The Eighties, you see, saw the invention of Dayglo. Not only that, it was considered chic and smart to wear the colours yellow, purple, violet and green. All in one costume - preferably in one garment.
Is it a coincidence that dayglo pullovers became trendy around the time that Welsh farmers claimed their sheep had been poisoned by Chernobyl fallout?
I think not.
You could get a lot of mileage out of the chatup line "what do you do when the batteries run out?" in the average eighties disco, if you could hear yourself think over the mind-numbing doses of Spandau Ballet - a bunch of fashionable clothes-horses posing with musical instruments.
I admit, I wasn't exactly in the vanguard of fashion in the eighties. I wore pretty much what I wear now - cord shirt, jeans, fairly decent shoes. I wasn't prey to the fashion excesses of some of my student friends - the dayglo t-shirt, pre-shrunk jeans, big white trainers with velcro fastenings, ethnic scarf, all topped off with an ex-german army jacket, and a long parting, copied off Phil Oakey of The Human League. They looked like a bunch of militant hairdressers.
But the worst were the "ladies men". You could tell these a mile off. They drove a Ford Capri 1300 - probably one of the most underpowered cars of all time - because they couldn't afford the insurance on the 2 litre model, or a normal Escort Mk3 1100 with an XR3i bodykit. Both cars could be passed by the average shopping trolley, and could be easily-identified by the unfeasibly-large exhausts (which actually restricted the engine even more) with holes in them or a megaphone stuck on the end, to "improve" the sound, and the sound of Spandau Ballet issuing from the car stereo - which cost twice what the car cost. Mr. Capri would be recognisable by his trendy dayglo pullover, perm - with highlights - and his moustache - also with highlights. Upon the end of his feet would be a pair of patent-leather white pumps, which were fashionable for about thirty seconds in 1985.
Mr. Capri would usually park his "wheels" - they always referred to their car as "my wheels" whereas everyone else referred to them as "that deathtrap" - and come sliming into the student union, idly shaking his keys to let 'the girls' see the "Ferrari" keyfob, bought off the local motorfactors for 2 quid, march up to the jukebox and drop five pounds worth of change into the jukebox, requesting repeat plays of every Spandau Ballet record on it. He would then sit on his own, smugly eyeing up any females who came in, whilst mouthing the words.
For some reason, he seemed to think this made him into a total chick-magnet.
This was not a wise move, especially when I happened to be playing pool. Mr. Capri gradually came to realise, after several incidents requiring the extraction of a cue tip from his sinuses, that his personal taste of music wasn't shared by the rest of us.