A Touch Of 1989 For The Pandemic/Plandemic/Scamdemic Year...

  Well, we never thought we'd see it, but all those dystopian future TV series and films of years gone by may be coming true. Microchips in your hand? A pandemic with a less than 1% death rate which justifies shutting everybody in and threatening them with a mandatory vaccine - largely at the behest of a familiar figure from the 1980s - no, not a doctor - Mr Bill Gates.

The mainstream media ignoring many highly qualified dissenting voices to spread 24-hour doom and despondency amongst the sheeple, sorry I mean people? 'Contact tracing' - for your own safety, of course? And livelihoods disappearing like morning mist, while the likes of Prince Charles (he of the 1980s monstrous carbunkle) tout a 'reset' based on a very 'Woke' indeed mentality - and, at the back of it, heaps of dosh for the 1% of course.

A YouTuber has taken one of the last great songs produced in the 1980s - Enjoy The Silence by the so-good-it's-painful Depeche Mode - and brought it into the present. The original song was recorded in 1989 and released in February 1990. Note the references to the 1988 film They Live in the video.

We don't very often stray out of the 1980s, but we thought it would make a change - and it's certainly justified under the current circumstances. Hope you enjoy the video. And maybe a little peep beyond the mainstream narrative, if you're not already taking one, might be a good idea? The worst thing that can happen is that you'll be called a 'conspiracy theorist' and 'cancelled' by the sheeple. And if you don't question? If you ignore the fact that something smells mightily of fish (and no, it's not an old box of Lean Cuisine Cod Mornay)? Well, good luck. And if you're simply unaware of the fact and won't accept any nudgings? Well, good luck again. 

The 1980s now seem even longer ago than they actually are. The world we knew seems much longer ago than the start of 2020. And it's not coming back, unless we stand up for it. And all for a virus with a less than 1% death rate. The resulting carnage caused by 'Lockdowns', unemployment, delayed diagnosis of other illnesses, and poverty will be much, much higher. Does that make sense to you? 

If you turn off Sky News, the BBC and ITV News and do a little independent research for a day, you may be surprised by what you discover. If you do, please do it properly - form your own opinions and do not be guided by the likes of Snopes. Please look beyond well-qualified people being smeared as 'conspiracy theorists' by the heritage media and online mobs to hear what these people are actually saying. Sure, there are loopy doops out there, but anybody with two brain cells to rub together can sort the grain from the chaff. Good grief - independent thought! Those were the days! We did it all the time back in the 1980s... xxx


The 1980s - What Did We Do Before Fact Checkers, The World Wide Web, Wikipedia, etc, etc.

Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web in 1989. When it celebrated 30 years in 2019, I began to take a look at what it had become.

Looking back at the 1980s is to peer into a different world. The computer revolution was beginning, but the World Wide Web wasn't even invented until 1989, and not up and running until the early '90s, so what did we do in place of the things so many modern day 'clever' folk take for granted?


Let's begin...

Wow, Christmas 1982 - and if you were terribly posh and a complete nerd you might have had a Christmas like this. But it's not likely.

Fact Checkers - they check the facts so you don't have to. They back their own viewpoints and often the Establishment, pouring ridicule on anything outside of that. Say anything outside of the narrative? You're a conspiracy theorist - and all right-minded folk must shun you. You're 'far right' and, no doubt, your bum smells. Your accuser's, of course, does not.

In the 1980s: You formed your own opinions. You read various things. You might have been absolutely hidebound in your opinions, but many people were less comfortable, more investigative, more opinionated. In the main, we didn't want people to tell us what to think. We wanted to find out for ourselves. And we didn't just trust governments or organisations like the UN - which is a lot of the problem now. People can read absolutely irrefutable facts, but there seems to be some sort of cognitive dissonance in applying them when 'experts' say something else. The official narrative has to be adhered to.

Rating (in my opinion): 1980s: 10, 21st Century: 0.

Usenet began in 1980 as a tiny concern for university geeks and professors. It can't really be called a forerunner to the Web, but it did have newsgroups which exchanged fascinating information. Read the above. See what I mean? Most of the world was blissfully unaware. We took a look here.

Wikipedia: What an odd idea! Anybody can write anything? But editors are on hand to correct false information? Um, usually only if it fits their own agenda. A lot of Wikipedia is unreadable. The SJWs rule it and it's propaganda writ large. And 1980s = BAD! Very bad! It's rather like a schoolkid's effort at an encyclopedia. 

Now, I know the arguments: 'Oh, yes, but Wikipedia contains links to dependable information!' Does it? Not in a lot of my experiences with the site it doesn't! It cherry-picks and blocks dissenting voices and there is nothing balanced about it when it comes to issues like Feminism at all. In fact, the article on Feminism is like a brain washing lesson in the ideology. And, guess what? Google and the like include a little panel on searches with Wikipedia articles linked! So, many people will be innocently drawn to the site. BONKERS!

Wikipedia is not an encyclopedia at all. And the lame brained-ness of people who use it at all is one of the most worrying early 21st Century online trends - in my opinion.

In the 1980s: People read things in encyclopedias, and read other books. People agreed or disagreed with the authors. People asked questions. People didn't tell other people to 'stand away from their rage totems' if they disliked their discussion of misandry or whatever. People discussed, they argued, they sometimes had a punch-up. But they didn't face a bunch of sheeple bleating at them and blocking them, sheeple fully convinced of their own goodness, and making sure other views don't get a hearing, whilst theirs - often highly flawed and even bigoted - do, and become the narrative.

Rating: 1980s: 10, 21st Century: 0.

I'll return to this theme at some point, 'cos it's dead interesting, don't you think? No? Oh well, we're glad you have your own views on the subject!

See you soon. xxx


The McVitie's Hobnob Biscuit - 1985 - 2020 - 35th Anniversary

From the McVitie's website - the launch of the mighty Hobnob biscuit in 1985 was quickly followed by others, like the chocolate variety, launched in 1987. Rolled oats and crunch and - YUM!

Just a quick shout-out to one of the very best biscuits of all time - and one, of course, launched in the 1980s - the McVitie's Hobnob. No biscuit since the Jaffa Cake (all right that's a cake, I know!) have ever made such a big splash with me. I loved 'em from the first - dunking 'em wildly in my tea and getting through a whole packet per mug, and I still love 'em to this day.

I particularly liked them for night shifts when I was working at the local psychiatric hospital - they were very fortifying and cheering on my tea break.

The Hobnob was launched in 1985, and the '85 original TV advert contained the slogan 'One Nibble and You're Nobbled'. Beautiful.

Oatey and crunchie and mind-numblingly beautiful when dunked in a cuppa, I can still scoff my way through loads. A true quality product. 

Very like the 1980s themselves, of course (ahem).

Of course, I'm against advertising here, but you must give some products their due.

And if McVitie's would care to slip me some Hobnobs as a thank you, I won't say no.

Just remember, 'More Is More' - as we used to say back in the day!

Read some McVitie's history, including the launch of the Hobnob, here:


Rubik's Cube, 7 May 1980 - An Important Anniversary...

I'm writing and posting this article on the seventh of May 2020, and it is a very important anniversary. On this day, the 'Rubik's Cube' trademark was registered in the UK back in 1980. Not that we were suddenly flooded with Cubes - no, there was a shortage and that is the reason 1981 was The Year of the Cube rather than 1980, but it's still an important date.

Although they were in very short supply when they started arriving here, just before Christmas 1980, the British Association of Toy Retailers noted the interest shown and declared it 'Toy of the Year'. As the craze raged after we were fully stocked in the spring of 1981, the association named it 'Toy of the Year' for 1981 too!

The Rubik's Cube made it on to the front cover of the Sunday Times Magazine's review of 1981 - and is listed just below the Royal Wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer. A special Cube depicting the union flag and the faces of the Royal couple, was produced to commemorate the occasion in July 1981.

The Cube was such a craze - it made a legend of its creator, Erno Rubik of Hungary, and saturated popular culture from late 1980 to 1982.

From the invention of the Magic Cube prototype in 1974, to a change of name and mass manufacture to Western World safety and packaging specifications in 1980, seems a short leap. Many inventions take much longer to come to prominence. But the world was very different back then. Hungary was very much 'Behind The Iron Curtain' - and the Cube's penetration of that Curtain was very noteworthy indeed - particularly in such a short amount of time. When you consider that the first test batches of the Magic Cube were not even released in Hungary until late 1977, its progress to the West seems even more remarkable.

When the remanufactured and renamed Rubik's Cube burst upon the world in 1980, curtesy of Ideal Toys, it was a huge hit. Perhaps its launch at the start of the new decade helped with that - new decades are eager for new fads - but the Cube was entrancing in its own right. It was aesthetically pleasing, bright primary colours with black edgings, it looked like a child's toy - surely easy to complete? (HUH!) - and it took over many lives.

Daily Mirror, 12 August, 1981: The craze was raging. Cube mania was rampant!

Ours sat on the sofa and we twirled it whilst watching the telly. We couldn't leave it alone!

Now it's as much a part of early 1980s memories as Duran Duran, synth pop, hair gel and the ZX Spectrum.

In fact, it has become an icon of the entire decade.

Happy anniversary, Rubik's Cube! Read all our Cube data by clicking on the 'Rubik's Cube' label below.


Some 1980s Vibes: When Corona Was Fizzy Drinks, Frankie Wanted To Arm The Unemployed And West End Girls Prowled...

'West End Girl' - a 1987 poster by Athena. The spiky-haired foxtress has obviously been surprised on the fire escape. Wonder what she's been up to? Eurythmics's Annie Lennox, in the guise of her horrid middle class housewife in the 1987 'Beethoven (I love to listen to)' video, would no doubt, have been fascinated!

So, the 1980s.

BOOM! BANG! KER-BLAM! Love Thatcher/Reagan? Hate Thatcher/Reagan? Wanna be a yuppie? Wanna join Red Wedge and tear down the whole capitalist system? Wanna eat Nouvelle Cuisine? Wanna eat bubble and squeak portions from Bejam? Love the brand new House Music sensation? Prefer the brand new indie sensation that was The Smiths? Love to power dress? Love to wear deelyboppers and jelly shoes?

The 1980s seemed full to bursting with contrasting thingies. And now it all looks like a different planet. How things have changed! Take Covid-19. Back in the 1980s if you mentioned 'Corona' in England and Wales, a range of fizzy drinks immediately sprang to the forefront of most minds - not lockdowns and social distancing.

This Corona bottle dates from 1982, as indicated by the date on the promotional blurb on the back of the label. The label features the little bubbly thingie from the early 1980s 'Every bubble's passed its fizzical' TV ad, which was then current.

Environmentally friendly? 'Course we were - 10p deposit charged on the bottle. My favourite Corona drinks were orangeade and cherryade. Every Christmas we used to order a crate of assorted Corona drinks from the milkman.

Daily Mirror, 27 February, 1985:

Frankie goes to Downing Street

Leading pop stars have signed a "celebrity petition" to be handed in at 10 Downing Street tomorrow. It opposes Government plans to axe supplementary benefit for school leavers if they do not take part in the Youth Training Scheme. Holly Johnson and Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Paul Weller, Madness, Smiley Culture, the Flying Pickets and Alison Moyet are among the entertainers whose names will be handed in. The Downing Street visit is part of a national rally and lobby of Parliament organised by the Youth Trade Union Rights Campaign.

The Youth Opportunities scheme had been introduced by the Callaghan Labour Government in 1978, in response to rapidly rising youth unemployment. A YOP provided work experience only, although in 1982 a training element was added. In 1983, it was replaced by the Youth Training Scheme (YTS), which, as the scheme's name suggests, was centred around training for skills.

So, what was the beef with school leavers having to go on a YTS scheme to qualify for Government money? Did they not want training? Well, looking back, the reasons I heard bandied about were that the Government was simply using the scheme to make the unemployment figures look smaller, and that minimum age school leavers had a right to expect a proper job.

This interested me as, as far back as the mid-1970s, the fact that graduates with degrees were finding it impossible to find work was being widely reported.

But in the 1980s, any initiative on the part of the Thatcher Governments was seen by many of us as a plot to do us down. Her first government's concentration on inflation rather than unemployment early in the decade had cast her out forever as far as I was concerned.

And, although I had a job and was completely unaffected, I still ranted my disapproval.

Maggie Thatcher would probably have dearly loved to give Frankie a spanky in the mid-1980s.


The '80s Archers Part Two: The Creation Of Lynda Snell

The 1980s saw Ambridge bidding farewell to several legendary old favourites - Doris Archer (1980), Aunt Laura (1985), Dan Archer (1986) and Walter Gabriel (1988) - but the decade saw the arrival of some new favourites, one of these being a certain Mrs Lynda Snell. Snobby Lynda was, at first sight (or rather on first hearing!) frankly quite unbearable - she would interfere! - but over the years moments of kindness and sensitivity and the enjoyability of her being a character we could at times love to hate, saw us listeners taking Lynda to our hearts.

Actress Carole Boyd was no stranger to BBC radio soap, having been in the Radio 2 saga Waggoners' Walk, as miserable Shirley Edwards, wife of the fiery Cliff. But Lynda was absolutely nothing like Shirley (she was rather common, old Shirl!) and I was very impressed at Miss Boyd's acting skills in playing two such widely differing characters so convincingly.

Interviewed a few years ago by the BBC, Miss Boyd revealed the origins of Mrs Snell...

'It was back in the mid-'80s, 1986, and the producer then was Liz Rigbey... she was new to the programme and she wanted, I think, to reflect the mid-'80s, the time of yuppies going off into the country and teaching people - TRYING to teach people - how to run their lives, etc. So, she invented this couple called the Snells and not a lot was known about them. I mean, we all auditioned, there was myself and probably about a dozen other actresses and the letter that came to say "This is what we want to do, this is the sort of people they are," was very uninformative really. It just said in the letter Robert is a thrusting computer whizz kid and Lynda's probably a doormat. And I thought, hmm, I don't want to be a doormat! But at the same time, of course, everyone was watching the television soaps, so we were all watching Dallas and Dynasty and Neighbours, I think, had come in, so suddenly there was a frenzy in the nation for more and more soap operas and I think people suddenly realised that we had our own home-grown one ticking away for years-  and the publicity that went with that - suddenly the interest rocketed as a spin-off from the television interest. 

'So I went into the audition thinking "I'm going to make her unpleasant" and the audition scene was between Eddie Grundy and this woman, unknown at the time, who pops up from behind a hedge to see Eddie doing something disgusting to a small furry creature, you know, disembowelling, something really countryish, and is horrified and takes him to task. And so I did it like that, bearing in mind that there was JR, who everyone loved to hate, and there was Alexis Carrington in Dynasty, who everyone loved to hate, and I thought "that's what we need in Ambridge", and they said, "Oh, you've made her unpleasant," and I said "Yes," and they said, "Oh, we quite like that," so that's how it happened. 

'And then her voice. Well obviously it's radio so there were no shoulder pads or big hair to reflect the period so I thought "Well, I'm going to make her really obnoxious-sounding and irritating," and I just feel that you only have to hear her voice and you just want to run a mile which is rather nice for the character.' 

And WHAT a character! Lynda Snell - Ambridge legend!


Enquiries... Suzy Lamplugh, Anglia Weatherman, World Wide Web...

I'm not getting to write on here as much I want, but I've had a few enquiries relating to the 1980s, so I'll do my best to answer. The first enquiry is regarding the London estate agent Suzy Lamplugh, who disappeared in July 1986, having apparently gone to meet a client called 'Mr Kipper':

David wrote:

Hi there! Great fan of your blog. I read your piece on Suzy Lamplugh and your own memories of the summer of 1986 with fascination as I was actually born in the July of that year! Regarding Suzy, it says on Wikipedia that her name was Susanna Lamplugh, minus the 'H' which you included. What was her name? And what do you think of the latest developments, the guy who thinks she didn't go to Shorrolds Road and the dig at Pershore?

Hello, David!

Thanks for writing. Susannah was named after the actress Susannah York and actively informed her colleagues on the QE2 that it was 'Susannah with an H' - so much so that her nickname amongst some of them was 'H'. But you know Wikipedia! I really hope the latest developments lead to closure for her family and friends. I'm uncertain about the Shorrolds Road theory. Certainly, a witness from 1986 claims that Suzy's company car was parked in Stevenage Road about five minutes after she'd left the Sturgis branch so it would certainly make sense that she hadn't been to Shorrolds Road. I really don't know. The fact that it's now claimed that she didn't take the Sturgis key to the Shorrolds Road property adds to the hope that perhaps things might finally become clear.

Link to the Suzy Lamplugh blog post - click HERE.

Greg says:

I really enjoyed your pieces on BC of Anglia Television (1980-2002 RIP). Do you remember the name of the main Anglia weatherman in the 1980s? He was quite a tall, thickset bloke as I recall, had a quiet sense of humour.

I think it would be David Brooks, Greg (see pic). He was at Anglia from 1972-1993. He was a nice presence at the station. I was watching his reaction to the failure of a weather screen to appear after he'd said 'let's look at tomorrow's weather,' or some such back in the day. When the manual board showing today's weather was slipped out (manually, of course!), the board beneath was completely blank. 'Good 'ere, innit?' quipped David, as the studio dissolved into laughter.

David was a huge golf fan and one of his greatest claims to fame was being struck by lightning on the Gog Magog course near Cambridge in 1979. As he said afterwards, next time he'd check the Anglia weather forecast before venturing out! He died of leukaemia in 2010.

Fran has written:

Saw all the excitement about the thirtieth anniversary of the invention of the World Wide Web back in March. 1989-2019! It's changed everything. On balance, would you say good or bad?

Definitely both, Fran! It's brought the world closer together but also exposed differences and maybe exacerbated a few! Personally, I'm allergic to SJWs online!


1989: Margaret Thatcher: 'We Have Become A Grandmother!'

It was sometimes said in the 1980s that Mrs Thatcher and the Queen did not see eye-to-eye and that Mrs T had her eye on the throne.

Outrageous! Ridiculous! Wasn't it?

Nobody knows what caused the Prime Minister to use the royal 'We' while announcing the birth of her first grandchild, but it caused a lot more talk.

There she was. Three general election wins. The Iron Lady. Had it all gone to her head?

And it turned out her first grandson was a Texan. Born In Dallas. Just like JR Ewing.

Strange days indeed...

From the Cambridge Evening News, 4/3/1989:

Thatcher Baby A Texan

Baby Michael Thatcher, the Prime Minister's first grandchild, will be an American citizen because he was born in Texas.

But he will be entitled to British citizenship by descent the Home Office confirmed.

Mrs Thatcher's son, Mark, and his American wife, Diane, became parents in Dallas on Tuesday.

Of course, despite her use of the royal 'We', Mrs Thatcher did not become Queen.

But I was feeling quite tired and jaded as this colourful, contrasting and often completely OTT decade roared towards its close and wouldn't have been a bit surprised if she had!


Usenet 1980 - Things I Didn't know...

Usenet archive extract, 1981.

I believe there's not a huge amount I don't know about the 1980s. At the time, through a haze of electronic music and Stella Artois, I was oblivious to a lot of it, but since then I've studied. However, I can still be surprised. I knew the first version of Microsoft Windows arrived in 1985, and that the World Wide Web was invented by Tim Berners-Lee in 1989, but I'd  never heard of Usenet, which was established in 1980, and was apparently a bit of a predecessor to today's Web forums. In fact, in 1980, nobody I knew had a computer or would have dreamt of buying one. I didn't even know anybody who bought a ZX80! But over in the States, the poor man's ARPANET took wing in 1980.

It was the brainchild of Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis, and initial participation was very small (expectedly in those days), but it grew.

I suppose, not to be unkind, it was a bit of a geeks' and nerds' valley at first, it must surely have been, and comparing its presentation and technical efficiency to today's World Wide Web would be a bit like comparing apples to oranges, but it's still interesting.

From the Web:

Usenet is a global network of servers on which all kinds of data are exchanged. In some ways it can be seen as the predecessor of modern day internet forums. It all started in 1980, when Usenet was introduced, giving users the possibility to exchange text messages and scientific articles. These text messages and scientific publications could be uploaded in several categories, called newsgroups, with each newsgroup covering a certain topic. 

It wasn't really the forerunner to the World Wide Web, but definitely a small marker on the (then unplanned) path towards it.


Happy Halloween - Remembering Grotbags The Witch...

Lovely singer and comedienne Carol Lee Scott was the most famous witch of the 1980s - enlivening many a kiddie's tea time with her spirited portrayal of that lovable but not terribly effectual green being called Grotbags.


Grotbag's made her debut in Emu's World with Rod Hull and his manic pet in January 1982. Rod Hull had written the show as one of the first of the output of the newly formed ITV company Central. He knew Carol who suggested the name 'Miss Grot' for the character. This had been her nickname - bestowed on her by the MD at Pontins where she had previously worked. Rod reworked that into Grotbags - and hey presto! Alakazamb! TV gained a vibrant new children's character.

Sadly, Carol, who was much-loved and not like her TV character at all, died last year. But Grotbags lives on. Like all great TV legends.

Wishing everyone a very happy Halloween - with lots of treats and (hopefully) no tricks!


This Morning Spoof: Richard, Judy And The Hair You'll Be Wearing Next Year...

Spoof magazine interview found in a pub in December 1989...

3 October 1988 was a grand day in the history of television. Nope, it wasn't the launch of Channel 4, breakfast TV, or Sky TV - those events occurred in 1982, 1983 and 1989 respectively.

No, think, mateyboots, think...

Can't think?

Oh well - 1988 gave us THIS MORNING with husband and wife presenters Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan, and it really was quite something. The 1980s saw UK television going all day and all night, something for everybody, but for years into the decade the mornings were so drop dead boring you could have wept. Picture it, you take a sickie, you're at home, luxuriating with an economy sized Wispa, and all you have to watch is schools programmes! I mean - PURLEASE!!!

All right, if you were lucky, you could slam in a video, but as we've already seen elsewhere on this site, the spread of VCRs was slow, so you probably didn't have the option.

Morning TV had been looking a little more hopeful since the launch of the BBC's daytime service in October 1986, but then, suddenly - BAM!! - the ITV schools programmes were accommodated on Channel 4 in 1987, and we got This Morning the following year, an all-sorts mix of human and celebrity stories, fashion, cookery, health - you name it!

The show was revolutionary - before that we'd had to wait until nearly lunchtime for even a glimmer of anything interesting, unless you counted the 10am repeat of yesterday's Neighbours.

And This Morning was also revolutionary in length. In the first instalment, Richard and Judy informed the audience that they were going to be on air for the next two hours!

This Morning was broadcast by Granada TV, live from the Albert Dock in Liverpool.

I liked it a lot... although maybe it seemed a little middle class, it wasn't as stuffy (or middle class) as some previous magazine-style shows, and I grew fond of Richard and Judy, cook Susan Brookes, weatherman Fred Talbot, agony aunt Denise Robertson, etc, etc, etc.

Richard and Judy, who had met back in the year of the Falklands and the deelyboppers - 1982 - soon became the darlings of daytime TV, so much so that many of us referred to the show as Richard & Judy.

By late 1989, This Morning was an institution.

And it was in December 1989, sitting, jaded after too much festive cheer, in a bar in Islington, that I found an alternative magazine staring up at me from the bar, and took a look.

And it contained a delicious spoof article on This Morning that made me chuckle. And still makes me chuckle to this day. It's a brilliant piece of tongue-in-cheek, razor sharp late 1980s humour, it struck a chord with me, and with apologies to Richard, Judy, and anybody else involved with This Morning back then, I reproduce it below.

And remember this is a SPOOF interview - Richard and Judy had nothing to do with it! Bless 'em!




If you are a man between the ages of 20 and 70, or a woman between 18 and 35, you could be a morning television presenter.

JUDY: Believe me, it is hard work - introducing reports on knitting patterns, getting bread to rise properly, coffeetime interviews and soap debates.

RICHARD: But also true stories of love, humanity and courage that bring people closer together.

JUDY: That's right. It's taking the events of the day and presenting them nicely. It's knowing what to say when there is nothing to say, and wearing something nice.

RICHARD: No one ever said it would be easy.

JUDY: (LAUGHS) But seriously. The hard work has its advantages - your face is instantly recognisable, people let you go ahead of them in queues, and old men send you gifts in the mail. You and your public share a genuine warmth that is all too rare these days. I suppose more than anything, if you're a woman, is not to wiggle and pout when they point the camera at you.

RICHARD: That's right.


JUDY: It can be almost anything. Would you make some coffee, Richard? (RICHARD GETS UP AND MAKES EVERYONE COFFEE) An item can be almost anything! Like if a viewer suffers food poisoning from a poor quality tin of smoked salmon, that's news. If Margaret Thatcher gets a new hairstyle, that's news. If a soap star gets a divorce, that's news as well. The public has a right to know. Isn't that right, Richard?

RICHARD: Absolutely, Judy.


RICHARD: Most of the items come from the teletype machine...

JUDY: ... which is a neat black printing machine on our desk.


RICHARD: Oh, errrr...

JUDY: We'll be right back after this break.


JUDY: I sometimes do reports.... like recently I visited a school for the severely brain damaged diabetic children and we made a film. At first I was so worried that it wouldn't come out right, but they all proved to be really photogenic.

RICHARD: And it looked really good. (PAUSE) And we just thank god the 'twins' are healthy and normal.


JUDY: Undoubtedly the key to warmth is not to think about what you're reading from your autocue. I always imagine my viewers. I picture them writing one of those wonderful letters and I see their bright smiling faces.

RICHARD: I never knew that, Judy.

JUDY: (GLARES AT RICHARD) An information booklet accompanies this series...


RICHARD: (LAUGHS) Well, this is when the autocue is not working...

JUDY: Or has been turned off. (BOTH LAUGH)

RICHARD: It is, of course, the most challenging time for a presenter.

JUDY: Like the other day, there was this story about handicapped children participating in their first annual wheelchair marathon, and the autocue suddenly stopped working, so I said "If you spend time with the handicapped...

RICHARD: That's right, (CONTINUING FOR JUDY) 'I think, well, their hopes and dreams become part of you.'

JUDY: (LONG PAUSE. DEEP BREATH. RUBS FINGERS ON THE BRIDGE OF HER NOSE) Let's take a short commercial break, but we'll be back with the sort of hair you'll be wearing next year.


RICHARD: Fortunately, we don't have to do the weather.

JUDY: But we do have to talk with the Weather Personality. Always keep an eye on him.

RICHARD: Yes, if he loses weight or his skin clears up - he could be your next replacement.

JUDY: And remember that the weather personality makes the final impact on your public, so if he talks bad weather, interrupt him - "Rain, rain, rain. Don't you have anything good for us?"

RICHARD: Or, "Surely it's going to improve for the weekend?"

JUDY: But you've got to get the timing right - make sure the closing signature tune leaves him no time to say anything clever.


Birthday Club BC of Anglia Television - 1980 to 2002 - 22 Glorious Years... And A Reunion With Auntie Helen McDermott...

A signed... er.. pawed photo of BC in his late 1980s glory days.

Still staggering - even in black and white - a BC signed pic from 1982.

Happy, happy days of the 1980s! Uncle Michael Speake with BC and Auntie Helen McDermott in the Anglia TV studios in Norwich. BC is undergoing a bit of a spruce-up c.1982/1983 as he had got a bit grubby. Image was very important in those days. Auntie Helen's mascara suffers as a result. 

Uncle Michael, of course, became BC's official biographer in 1986 with the publication of 'BC and the Magic Book'. For some reason the book did not make the top of the year's best seller list, and some of us suspected jealousy and foul play within the ranks of those compiling the list. 

1985, and BC brings a touch of that certain sartorial something to the Birthday Club studio. Not for nothing are the 1980s remembered as the 'Style Decade'.

Boxing Day, 1988, and BC, seen here with a very bright and breezy Uncle Patrick Anthony, is seriously in need of an Alka-Seltzer.

How sad it was that June day in 2002 when it was announced that BC of Anglia Television's Birthday Club was to be retired in July, after twenty-two glorious years with the company. Since his arrival in 1980, he had become a legend in his own tea time. But a discreet online announcement on 22 June 2002 brought an end to those halcyon days:

Anglia spokesman Tom Walshe told the Eastern Daily Press newspaper: 'Anglia has decided that BC will be retired from next month owing to daytime schedule changes. The changes are in line with recently announced plans to give more prominence to regional programmes at peak times, and the time currently devoted to BC's Birthday Club will be allocated to extra regional news.

'BC has had a marvellous run on Anglia for 22 years, and we appreciate that many viewers will be sorry to see him go. But nothing is forever in television.'

Mr Walshe went on: 'Children's ITV has undergone many changes over the past two decades, and it has become increasingly difficult to accommodate BC within the schedule. Requests for birthday greetings have also fallen off markedly in recent times.'

'We can assure all his fans that BC will be given an honourable retirement and we know his memory will live on in the hearts and minds of parents and children all over the East of England.'

Stunned silence reigned across the East of England. Then, of course, came the hot tears, the denial, the relief grief.

A few years later, dear Auntie Helen, Helen McDermott, one of the station's presenters who had had the honour of working with BC right from the start, indeed had helped to draw him to the station in 1980, promising him perks like a limitless supply of lollipops and plenty of presenters to harass assist, sought him out and brought him briefly back to our screens. BC, it turned out, was still living in Norwich. He was living in a secret location because he didn't want to be mobbed. This was very wise. Me and my cousin Brian had been desperate to mob this celebrity of celebrities since 1985, when he was at the peak of his fame. And our desire had in no way lessened over the years.

Auntie Helen takes a puppet replica of BC out to meet a young fan in the 1980s. The real BC, of course, was usually studio-bound because of the ever-present threat of being mobbed - although he did have his own vehicle to attend some public events - BC4U.

BC had put on a bit of weight and Auntie Helen commented on his changed appearance - had he had a facelift, perhaps? But he still had the old magic. 

The reunion ended slightly acrimoniously as Auntie Helen discovered the somewhat fickle nature of our hero. Seems he was not oblivious to the charms of younger TV presenters. But that's what stardom does to people. Or leopards. Or bears. Or whatever he is.

My BC. I made this and based him on the BC who was so familiar to us in the 1980s, using a c.1983 screen capture for the model. From around the late 1980s, BC underwent several cosmetic changes - but denies surgery. If you would like to know how I made him then you are almost as sad as I am. My reasons were simple. I wanted my own BC that I could mob at home.

Anyway, enjoy our original tribute to this star of stars here.


Woopie! Dinky! Yuppie! Buppie! Buzz Words And Phrases Of The 1980s...

Okay, '80s fans, here's our very own fun (and sometimes not so fun) run-down of the words and phrases that 'buzzed' in the 1980s. Some words and phrases simply caught fire in the decade, most originated there. Some truly 'arrived' but were still quite obscure. Hope you enjoy it... from the environment to technology to dosh the 1980s certainly had a lot to say! Many of the words and phrases in this swingorilliant glossary have links for you to find out more information from our archive. Enjoy!

Ableism: Discrimination in favour of able-bodied people.

Achewarly - and similar: AKA 'actually'. Black Type of Smash Hits-inspired... er... dottiness.

Acid House: See 'House Music' below - sub-genre of house, born in Chicago in the mid-1980s. Led to raves, confrontations with the police and all sorts later in the decade.

Acid wash: Blotchy jeans.

Aerobics: A huge fitness fad of the 1980s - pop in your Jane Fonda video or go to the gym, don your bright lycra gym togs and neon pink leg warmers (see 'leg warmers' below) and away you go. And that was just the men.

AIDS: Acronym formed from the initial letters of acquired immune deficiency syndrome. Caused by earlier infection with the retrovirus HIV (see 'HIV' below). Symptoms include opportunistic infections or malignant tumours. The AIDS epidemic had been quietly building for years before it was named in 1982. The UK Government sent an information leaflet to every household in 1987.

Alternative Comedy: Daring, lefty, sometimes ranting, sometimes surreal new brand of comedy. Think The Young Ones. Think French and Saunders. Think The Comic Strip Presents.
Animal Companion: Daft way of saying 'pet'. See 'Politically Correct/Political Correctness' below).

Anorak: Geeky nerdy type, often a fount of useless trivial and pedantic tripe.

Apple Mac: Exciting personal computer, launched in 1984, which made computing much easier for Joe and Josephine Bloggs. The first computer with a mouse had been launched in 1981, but was wildly expensive - retailing at around $20,000. The Apple Mac was much cheaper, had a mouse, and helped to propel the PC into everyday life.

Arcades: As in video game arcades. I recall queuing up in the summer of 1980 at the local cinema which had had a Space Invaders machine installed in its lobby. Wow! As the number of games grew, dedicated arcades appeared. But by then I preferred to spend my money on Miami Vice-chic clothes and Stella Artois.

Band Aid: No longer just sticking plasters in 1984, but the name of a super charity record sung by oodles of luscious pop stars and masterminded by Sir Bob of Geldof.

Barcode: In the early 1980s, barcodes began disfiguring the back covers of books and cropping up on all manner of other purchases. Supermarkets like Sainsbury's (1982) began replacing their push-button tills with barcode scanner models in a gradual roll-out and by the late 1980s the barcode had truly arrived.

BBC Micro Computer: This was the point in the early 1980s when Auntie Beeb decided to start educating kiddies about computers. I was just leaving school. Sigh.

A Benny: Fik person. Named after a Crossroads character. Our men in the Falklands apparently referred to some of the islanders by this name in 1982 and it spread. Benny was last spotted in Crossroads in December 1987, when he went up a step ladder to put a star on top of the Christmas tree and was never seen again. Honestly.

'Bet you can't eat three!': Slogan from a 1980s TV ad for Shredded Wheat. Used and abused ferociously for a few years by Joe Public.

Betamax: A format for VCRs which lost the battle for supremacy with VHS (see below) and Video 2000 (see below) in the mid-1980s, as the video era got underway. Thought to be the superior format by people in the know, but VHS triumphed.

Big Bang: On the stock exchange in 1986. Deregulation. All sorts of things happened at once, restrictions lifted, new electronica, etc, etc.

'Bit of bully': A game of darts - 'Let's 'ave a bit of bully, eh, lads?' - from the TV show Bullseye.

Black Ash: Posh furniture.

BMX: Bicycle motocross. This was the craze that separated the boys who fell off from the boys who didn't fall off.

Body Popping: Kind of robotic dancing, and more (see link). Debuted on Top of the Pops in 1982.

Bog Standard: Absolutely basic and not at all great.

Boom Box/Boombox: Large portable sound systems often carried around on one shoulder. A part of 1980s hip hop culture and essential for street dance. Also known as beatboxes or, most popularly of all in England, ghetto blasters (see 'Ghetto Blaster' below).

Bouncy Castle: Lovely big and colourful inflated castles that began appearing at fetes and other outdoor events in the late 1980s for you and your family to... er… bounce about on - and fall over on.

Break Dancing: Popular with adherents to hip hop. Could result in injuries.

Breaker break!: Hugely popular CB slang (see 'CB Radio' below) - at its height during the illegal craze of 1981 and for a year or two after legalisation, along with 'eyeball', etc, etc, etc.

Breakfast TV: Here and happening in 1983. Frank Baugh and Selena Scott! David Frost and (later) Roland Rat! Happy days!

Brill: Trendy abbreviation of brilliant.

Brighton Nudist Beach: Cor, snigger, wink! England got its first nudist beach on April Fools' Day 1980. Of course, we were all talking about it. And many of us were going down there for a leer. I mean look.

British Telecom/BT: Formerly provided by the GPO, British Telecom transformed our phone services from 1980 onwards, becoming a public limited company in 1981.

BSE: Bovine spongiform enchalopathy. A fatal neurological disease of cattle. Thought to have come about because of infected animal products being fed to cattle in the early 1970s.

Bulldog clips: Large, colourful plastic clips for the hair.

Bunny - as in 'not a happy bunny'. Mock sympathetic phrase, originating in the late 1980s - as in: 'Sharon's not a happy bunny. She's found out they're taking Crossroads off.'

Bunny Boiler: From the film Fatal Attraction. A (usually female) mad, bad and dangerous to know person.

Buppie: A black yuppie (see 'yuppie' below).

Cabbage Patch Dolls: Dolls manufactured from 1982 onwards and released in 1983. A huge (but brief) trend. Inspired by hand-made dolls called 'Little People'.

Camcorder: Exciting new tech. You could now video your family and friends and see the results straight away on your VCR (see 'VCR' below).

Car Boot Sale: Sunday mornings were no longer for rest and/or getting over the hangover from Saturday night out. No, they were for going off looking for cheap cast-off goodies and collectables at these open air sales.

Cardboard Cities: Homeless people living in groups in makeshift (cardboard) accommodation in the open, under bridges, etc. With unemployment spiralling, cardboard cities sprang up in many places. Although homelessness remains a major problem, cardboard cities are no longer heard of. Do they still exist?

Care Bear: Cutesy, cuddly cartoon bears.

Cashpoint: As more and more people got 'plastic' money, cashpoints proliferated. From 1987 onwards, after the release of the UK's first debit card (see 'Debit Card' below), usage began to go through the roof.

CB Radio: Citizens' band radio. Invented in the United States in the 1940s, became a huge illegal craze here in 1980 and 1981, legalised in November 1981.

C5: An environmentally friendly car which had you sitting very low down amongst loads of exhaust fumes.

Casual: Working class male youths, often football fans, favouring a trendy 'casual' style of dress.

CD-ROM: A compact disc on which text or data is stored as a read-only memory. It revolutionised the publishing business.

Cell Phone: Appearing in cars of a few very rich people around 1982 and then as mobile hand-held devices from the mid-1980s onwards. They seemed mighty wondrous and strange at the time.

Chatline: Phone the numbers and chat to all sorts of people. Then get into a flaming great row with your parents when the phone bill arrived.
Chattering Classes: Guardian reading leftie types, middle class, holding 'liberal' values and fond of wittering on about social and political issues amongst themselves.

CHOOSE LIFE: T-shirt slogan (see 'Slogan T-Shirts' below) by Katherine Hamnett. Popularised by the pop group Wham!

Channel 4: Launched in November 1982. Cor, we've got FOUR telly channels now! Hope Channel 4 isn't too highbrow...

Chill: As in 'chill out'. Trendy youth language about simply hanging out and doing nothing, or, as a piece of advice, not to get worked up about something.

Chrimbo: Liverpool slang for Christmas. Went wide after Brookside began.

Clause 28: After the publication of a ground-breaking children's book called Jenny Lives With Eric and Martin in 1983, the story of a little girl who lived with her gay father and his partner, alarm spread amidst fears that it could cause children to 'experiment with homosexuality'. With the Aids crisis on the rise and gay men being a high risk group, the alarm grew and so the Tories came up with Section or Clause 28 - a new law, stating that:

A local authority shall not:

(a) Intentionally promote or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality.(b) Promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality in a pretended family relationship.

Pretended'? Good grief, what gave the government the right to define what constitutes a family relationship? Anyway, the Clause caused outrage amongst gay rights groups and many other liberal thinkers. In the '80s, feelings often ran high and people were quick to energise. Go to the link at the title for more information.

Clone: As in Boy George or Madonna clone. Fans who slavishly adopted the fashion looks of their pop idols.
Cold War: The state of armed readiness between the super powers, Russia and America, had held the world in fear since the early 1960s. After an extra chilly patch in the early 1980s, the Cold War ice rapidly and miraculously thawed after the arrival of Mikhail Gorbachev as Soviet Premier in 1985 (see 'Glasnost' and 'Peristroika' below). It was officially declared over in December 1989, according to the likes of major participants in the matter - like Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev. This is refuted by the likes of Wikipedia. Read Mr Gorbachev's views here. I know who I trust. And it doesn't begin with 'W'. Wikipedia has out-grandiosed itself for the last time in this house!
Compact disc: Shiny and new and exciting and quite expensive. Shortened to 'CD' in everyday speech.
Commodore 64: Exciting and now legendary home computer released in August 1982.
Computer animation: Began to hear of this in the 1980s. Did not really compute with me. Channel 4's logo was computer generated in 1982. And Dire Straits came up with a memorable example in 1985.
Conspicuous consumption: The always-had-it-alls were disgusted when the working classes started getting fings too - usually on the back of the credit boom. Definite evidence of greed gone rampant, they said.
Continental quilts: Regarded with suspicion early in the decade - after all, who wanted to sleep with their feet sticking out? - these had become the norm by the end of the decade. Blankets were so passé, dear! Now simply called duvets.
Courgette: Never had a courgette before the 1980s. Never even heard of them. There was a sudden craze for them when they proliferated in supermarkets in the mid-1980s. THE thing to have with your posh nosh. Or Batchelor's Savoury Rice.
Crop Circle: Weird, elaborately patterned circles of flattened wheat appearing in fields gained great media attention in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Signs of ET's visiting us? Mystical symbols to do with the approaching millennium? Daft stunts? You choose.
Cruelty-Free: Consumer products produced with no cruelty to animals involved in their development.
Cubist's Thumb: Nasty disorder brought about by obsessive manipulation of a Rubik's Cube (see 'Rubik's Cube' below).

Dancing Flowers: Cute plastic flowers which moved to music. Immensely popular in the late 1980s when they were released.

Debit card: If you weren't rich enough for a credit card, worry not for in 1987 Barclays issued the Connect Card, the UK's first debit card.

Deelyboppers/Deelybobbers - one of the fashion WOWS! of the decade. See below.

Designer: Clothing and footwear. THE things to be seen in. Or cheap chain store versions if you hadn't got the Wonga (see 'wonga' below).

Designer stubble: Looking masculine and groomed with a bit more than a five o' clock shadow. George Michael and Don Johnson managed it. I looked like a seedy used car salesman. And it could get you told off at work.
Desktop Publishing: A mysterious phrase which originated in the mid-decade and which I heard quite a lot of before the decade's end. Refers to producing material of published quality with a computer and printer.

Dinky: An acronym - acronyms were adored in the 1980s. This one stood for 'dual income, no kids yet'. There was also dink - as dinky but not planning on kids!

Dirty Dancing: Type of fast, erotic dancing inspired by the 1987 film of the same name.

Dirty Den: EastEnders character Dennis Watts.

Discman: Walkman wot played compact discs.

DNA fingerprinting: Unexpectedly stumbled across by Sir Alec Jeffreys in September 1984. Revolutionised crime solving and was utilised well before the end of the decade.

Domain: A region of a computer network, especially the internet (see 'Internet' below). corresponding to a  particular country, organisation, etc, which is used in the network address of individual computers. 

Donkey jacket: The sort of thing the binman wore, black with a black plastic panel. For some reason a popular fashion of the early-to-mid 1980s. Girls as well as boys (girls often liked their name printed on the back panel). 'I've got a new donkey!' was often proudly announced by trendy youths.

Donkey Kong: Influential 1981 arcade game from Japan, featuring a prototype Mario (see 'Mario Brothers/Super Mario Brothers' below).

Dosh: Money.

Dot Cotton: Based on the EastEnders character. People who whinged or moaned excessively were accused of being a 'Dot Cotton'.

Dropdead Gorgeous: Absolutely lovely-to-look-at person.

'E': See 'Ecstasy' below.

Eco-Friendly: Kind to the environment products (see 'Environmentally Friendly' below).

Eco-Terrorist: A participant in eco-terrorism. Violent acts to further environmentalist ends or politically motivated damage to the natural environment.

Ecstasy: Hallucinogenic drug, so named for its effect on the user. Very popular in the acid house era. Occasionally fatal. 

Edgy: Controversial, unusual.

Eighties Man: Also known as the 'New Man' (see 'New Man' below). A sensitive, caring breed of men, not afraid to show emotions, do the housework, etc. Seen, as always, from a feminist perspective and as an expectation placed on men, not as something to actually help them.

Email/E-Mail: Shortening of 'electronic mail' first coined in the 1980s when few knew exactly what electronic mail was. Now we all do.

Environmentally Friendly: Popular phrase, particularly in the mid-to-late decade. You could buy environmentally cleaning products which left chalky deposits all over your bog and bath.

Fabby/Fabbo: Youth slang. Great.

Fandabbydozee - a lovely little catchphrase from Ian and Janet Krankie. Janet, of course, was lovable Scottish schoolboy Wee Jimmie.

Fattist: Discriminating against 'calorifically-challenged people'. Politically correct language (See 'Politically Correct/Political Correctness' below).

Fatwa/Fatwah: An old word which suddenly leapt into the news in 1989 when Ayatollah Khomeini, religious leader of Iran, issued a ruling (fatwa/fatwah) sentencing British author Salman Rushdie to death for his book The Satanic Verses, published in 1988. Rushdie had to go into hiding. The fatwa on him was lifted in 1998.

Feminazi: Man-hating feminists who say things like: 'Of COURSE all men should have longer prison sentences than women and do all the dirty, dangerous jobs! So there! And anybody who disagrees is a rampant, conservative misogynist! We speak for ALL women, everywhere, by the way!'

Feelgood Factor: Associated with the end of the recession, victory in the Falklands, etc. Later boosted further by the credit boom.

Filofax: A revamped version of a boring, little-known diary/personal organiser thingie, formerly favoured by military and medical types. The 1980s version was all singing, all dancing, and very STYLISH. Yuppies loved them. Leftie-types often had similar but called them 'my book of words'.

Flat top: Nice hairstyle - very upstanding with gel or lacquer and a flat top.

Flid - stupid person.

Follicularly Challenged: Bald. Facetious term, in the politically correct style (see Politically Correct/Political Correctness below).

Foodie - trendy food person. In 1984, we got The Official Foodie Handbook, which included advice on how to tell 'psued food' from Nouvelle Cuisine (see 'Nouvelle Cuisine' below). Hmm. 'Food is the opium of the stylish classes' and 'be modern-worship food', it declared. Hmm again... Mind you, at least I stopped cooking with lard in the 1980s and met mayonnaise and peppers and courgettes and all sorts of scrummy things. Including Bejam bubble and squeak portions. YUM! It truly was a decade with something for everybody.

F-Plan Diet: We craved fibre in the 1980s, and the F-Plan diet led the way. Here's an '80s joke; 'Has the bottom fallen out of your world? Follow the F-Plan Diet and the world will fall out of your bottom.'

Frankie Say Relax: And other things. T-shirt slogans associated with the pop group Frankie Goes To Hollywood.

Frogger: Arcade game. Can you get the little froggie safely across the road?
FST: Flatter, squarer tube television - for better picture definition.

FTSE: Pronounced 'footsie'. The Financial Times Stock Exchange 100 index. Founded in 1984, the FTSE is a share index of the 100 companies listed on the London Stock Exchange with the highest market capitalization. Yuppies were always checking the 'footsie' in the mid-to-late 1980s.

Fun pub: A themed public house. The old British Queen round my way became 'Bumpers', a car-themed hostelry, in the mid-1980s. A clapped-out old boozer up the road became 'Hoofers', a horse-themed pub late in the decade. Lovely.

Fun Run: For a decade reviled as 'The Greed Decade', the 1980s actually bulged with charity efforts, and after the first London Marathon in 1981, the concept of the fun run was born. Basically a sponsored run often in a daft outfit.

Garfield: Fat, lasagne-loving cartoon cat from the USA. Made huge waves after his UK debut in the early 1980s.

Garage Music: Dance music genre originating from New York, more soul-influenced and lyrical than much of Chicago house. Like house, it originated in the early-to-mid 1980s, but independently. It now falls under the house umbrella as far as many people are concerned, but the two were regarded as separate in the 1980s.

Gel: Hair gel - new, exciting and didn't harm the ozone layer. But my goodness, it often makes for embarrassing photographs in retrospect.

Gender Bending/Gender Bender: Several gender bending pop stars around in the early-to-mid 1980s and gender bending was in the news. Annie Lennox and Pete Burns did it best. In my humble opinion. But Divine was fabby too. Boy George, he of the sugary pop, looked great in 1982 and 1983. But his music! Goodnight, Doris!

Ghetto Blaster: Large portable sound system, often carried on the shoulder. Part of hip hop culture.

Gilbert the Alien: Snotty green alien on kids' TV. Brilliant.

Glasnost: Soviet policy of greater openness and frankness in public statements under Mikhail Gorbachev from 1985 onwards.

Glass Ceiling: A perceived barrier which apparently prevented some members of ethnic minority groups and women from obtaining high powered, high paying jobs. In more recent years, research has added 'Glass Cellar' to the lexicon - the fact that after over fifty years of 'gender equality' campaigning, it is men who still do the vast majority of dirty, dangerous jobs, and account for the vast majority of work place deaths - a barrier which feminism has never even attempted to smash.

Gnarly: American import: Excellent, wonderful, etc. Apparently originally meant difficult and dangerous, being applied by surfers to unfriendly looking seas, then switched in the early 1980s to mean the opposite in youth culture generally.

Gobsmacked: Northern English expression which swept the whole country in the 1980s, meaning shocked, stunned.

Go For It! Trendy catchphrase, saying a lot about the ethos of the mid-to-late 1980s. Didn't matter who you were, or where you come from - GO FOR IT!

Goth: A music scene and fashion. Probably the logical outcome of Punk.

Green Party: Formerly known (or unknown - they weren't very well known at all) as the Ecology Party, the Green Party was named in 1985 and secured 15% of the votes at the European Economic Community elections in 1989 as concern for the environment reached a peak. Sadly, the party failed to gain any seats because of the 'first past the post' voting system.

Greenham Common Peace Camp: Established in 1981 as a protest at the Government's 1980 decision to house Cruse Missiles at the air base there. The camp was manned by all women and adopted a misandrist stance, banning men and adopting the brand new name 'wimmin' (see 'Wimmin' below) as a gender name because it did not contain the word 'men'. All sorts of women were in residence at the camp. A friend of mine went but left after being sexually harassed. Young and idealistic, my friend was disillusioned after she had decided to champion what she regarded as a noble and worthy cause. Funnily enough, to this day she has never been a victim of sexual harassment from men...

Guppy - a yuppie (see 'yuppie' below) who was into environmental (Green) issues. Yes, apparently they actually existed!

Hi-NRG: Style of dance music originating in the early-to-mid 1980s and popularised by the likes of The Weather Girls and Hazel Dean. And not forgetting the wonderful Divine, of course.

Highlights: For the hair. The 1980s took this to extremes, and actually streaked hair blonde. I liked it very much indeed.

Hip Hop: The brand new rap scene rapidly transformed into the hip hop scene as the decade progressed. Stand-out for me: The Message - Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, 1982.

Himbo: Pretty but vacuous male.

HIV: Human immunodeficiency virus. The virus which causes AIDS (see 'AIDS', above).

Hole in the wall: Cash point. As the use of plastic money spiralled in the 1980s, particularly after the arrival of the first debit card in 1987, these proliferated and we started using this trendy little phrase to define them. But it was quicker to say 'cash point' really.

House Music: New style of dance music originating in Chicago in the early-to-mid 1980s.

'I don't really know!': Comedians Les Dennis and Dustin Gee scored a big hit in the 1980s with their impersonations of Coronation Street characters Mavis Riley and Vera Duckworth. The catchphrase of Dennis's Mavis was 'I don't really know!' and this was eagerly parroted across the land. But the real Mavis didn't say it. Until the Christmas 1987 episode. A nation cheered.

Icon: Computer icon. New and mysterious terminology back in the mid-to-late 1980s.

'I Shot JR': It seemed that everybody had shot JR Ewing of Dallas in the summer of 1980. The slogan appeared on T-shirts, badges, Stetsons, and probably oodles of other things as well. But it was Bing Crosby's daughter wot did the dirty deed really.

Information Super Highway: Lurching into our lives midway through the decade was the concept of the ISH. 'Any of a number of projected national, high-speed, high capacity telecommunications networks linking homes and offices and permitting the transmission of a variety of electronic media, including video, audio, multimedia and text.' - John Ayto, 20th Century Words, 1999. The book traces the term's first use in print to 1985.

Internet: 'What is the internet?' asked an article in one mid-1980s school magazine. 'A net for catching fish in!' was the witty answer. It would take the invention of the World Wide Web in 1989 and its implementation in the early 1990s to open the Net open up to the vast majority of us. But it was in the 1980s that the word was first touted around. I couldn't have cared less. Then.

IT: Initials, as today, stand for information technology - this shortened form first appearing in the 1980s.

Jelly shoes. You know.

J.R. Hartley: Not Ewing. Mr Hartley was a dear old gent in a 1983 Yellow Pages ad, who successfully found a copy of his book Fly Fishing by letting his fingers do the walking and using the Pages to phone second-hand book dealers. Became something of a national hero and developed a life of his own, spawning a couple of books about fly fishing and things.

Just Do It! Coined by Nike - highly encouraging when applied to sports or other things.

Kicking: Youth slang - lively, great.

Kissogram/Kissagram: Whoo! Naughty way of having telegrams or greetings messages delivered, usually by a saucily-dressed woman or man who gave yer a kiss. Sometimes caused great embarrassment.

Lager Lout: Gained brief notoriety in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Often well dressed young men, who got very stroppy having consumed large amounts of alcohol.

Lap Top: Computer you could sit on your lap. WOW!

Leg warmers: Became the height of fashion in the early 1980s thanks to the TV series Fame. Even my macho mate Pete had a pair.

Leggings: Often black and lycra and ending around the knee from around 1982 to late in the decade. Nice under a ra ra skirt. Well, sort of. Back in fashion for many years.

Live Aid: Mega pop concert in 1985, from England and America. Masterminded by Sir Bob of Geldof after Band Aid (see 'Band Aid' above).

'Loadsa…': - 'loads of' - as in dosh, money, fings.

'Lovely jubbly!': Great! Popularised by Del Boy in Only Fools and Horses.

Lycra: Black or brightly coloured, figure hugging material - go for it!

Mad Cow Disease: BSE (see 'BSE' above).

Mario Brothers/Super Mario Brothers: Fictional plumbers and stars of computer games.
'Matey boots': Friend.

'Mega!': Great. Brilliant. Wonderful.

Mesh: Nice type of top, made of meshed material. Lovely in neon colours.

Microwave: A hot topic of conversation in the mid-to-late 1980s. Are you getting a microwave? Do they cook you from within? Do they make men sterile? Would it mean you won't have to miss the end of each Neighbours episode by saving on cooking time?

Mr Dog: A dog food specially designed for small dogs. Introduced early in the decade and highly advertised throughout. Changed its name to Cesar in 1989.

ME: Myalgic encephalomylelitis. Known of since the mid-1950s. Rather mysterious illness with symptoms including extreme fatigue and headaches. Also known as 'Yuppie Flu' in the mid-to-late 1980s when it was on the rise. See 'Yuppie Flu' below.

Medallion Man: Ugh! Usually knocking-on-to-middle-age geezer, often with chest hair visible through an open necked shirt and a cheap white suit or similar, often actually sporting a medallion. A fashion disaster. Trying to be 'with it', but woefully out of date, though sometimes mixing in modern touches. A medallion man I knew in 1987 looked like a cross between Tom Jones, John Travolta and Don Johnson. Poor bloke. I felt sorry for him, but he was a real prat. Never mind. HE loved him anyway.

Mobile phone: As in: 'Oh my gawd! He/she's got a mobile phone!'. A hand-held cell phone. Evident largely as 'yuppie toys' (see 'yuppie' below) in the second half of the decade after their introduction in the USA in 1984 and in England in 1985, the likes of Del Boy were flogging them before the end of the decade.

Moon Boots: Bright (often pink), padded and quilted big boots. There was a brief but intense craze for them in the mid-1980s.

Moonwalking: Kind of fluid backward walking dance movement.

Mosh: Dancing in a violent manner, involving jumping up and down and banging shoulders and fings.

Mouse: Computer mouse. Formerly applied solely to a type of small rodent. The first commercial computer mice were released in the 1980s.

Mousse: Exciting new development in hair styling. Spray into your hand, watch it swell, then apply it to your barnet and 'style'. Lovely.

Mountain Bike: Very trendy bikes for riding over mountainous terrain.

MTV: Began in America in 1981. In 1985, Dire Straits sang about it - and many of us were chanting along 'I want my MTV' - and finally, in 1989, the newly-launched Sky TV brought it over here.

My Little Pony: Cutesy little pony toys in lovely colours that had leg warmers and castles and things.

New Age Traveller: 1980s hippie-type - looked forward to the mystical millennium, etc. They needn't have bothered. Wore thinks like maroon cords and neckerchiefs.

New Man: Sensitive, new breed of men - free from traditional restraints and allowed to show emotion, etc. No, that's not how it really was. It was a list of demands, largely sponsored by the feminist movement - be sensitive when we want, do the housework (as well as working full time in a tough physical job), etc, etc. Horrible (see 'Eighties Man' above).

New Romantic: Coined by the UK press in 1980 as Spandau Ballet and Adam and the Ants hit the pop scene, this title was applied to the synthy, make-up plastered, ballady types who formed the pop movement which briefly but memorably illuminated the early years of the decade. The pop bands originated from several sources, including the London 'Blitz Kids' scene. By 1982, bands like Duran Duran were incorporating other fashion 'looks' into the New Romantic scene.

Nicorette: Chewing gum to help you kick the fags.

Nimby - another acronym - 'not in my back yard' - as in, 'Of course we need more social housing, but not in my neighbourhood.' Although this acronym originated in 1980, the attitude has been rife for much longer.

Nintendo: Gaming system for you to play games on your telly.

Nite Spot: '80s version of a dance venue, like a dance hall or disco. Usually very trendy.

NOW: Now That's What I Call Music: Fabulous compilations of contemporary chart hogging songs, launched in 1983. From then on, we trendy young dudes and dudettes were often heard to ask other: 'Have you got the latest NOW?' You could also get video versions, which was swingorilliant to the max.

Nouvelle Cuisine: A very posh and expensive way of eating very little.

'Nuclear Power? No Thanks!': Little yellow badge with a smiling sun face expressing one's opposition to nuclear power in favour of more natural solutions. Rampant in the mid-1980s. A great message really. The trouble was the sun face and slogan always looked a little smug to me. As did many of the leftie social worker-types wearing them.

OINK - one income, no kids. Coined by the character Timothy Lumsden, played by Ronnie Corbett, in the BBC sitcom Sorry! late in the decade.

'Old Ma Thatcher': Disrespectful title often applied to our Prime Minister by those of us who found her hard-hearted and more than a bit of an old bag.

Pac-Man: Big in Japan upon his debut as Puck-Man in 1980, and soon big everywhere. One of THE men of the decade. WACCA! WACCA! WACCA!

Paintbrush: Same as a flat top hairstyle, but with a blond/other coloured top. Hair looked like it had been dipped in a pot of paint.

PC: Personal computers or political correctness - abbreviation applied to both during the 1980s. And police constables, of course (see 'Personal Computer' and 'Politically Correct/Political Correctness' below).

Pear shaped: Something wrong - 'This project has gone pear shaped, matey!'

Perestroika: The reform of the Soviet economic and political system under Mikhail Gorbachev, who became Soviet premier in 1985.

Person: As in 'wait person' rather than 'waiter' or 'waitress'. I never understood the necessity myself.

Personal Computer: Wow! Like the BBC doodah! Like the Apple Mac! You could do all sorts - like write poetry and shopping lists and play games and check-out Prestel and maybe even send and receive electronic mail as the decade progressed. The World Wide Web was not invented until 1989 and not up and running until the early 1990s, so I found the whole thing too naff and complicated. Probably a passing fad, this computer malarky, I thought. The term personal computer was increasingly becoming abbreviated to 'PC' before the end of the decade, leading to confusion over police constables. The 1980s also saw the 'PC' abbreviation applied to politically correct lingo (see 'Politically Correct/Political Correctness' below) but it wasn't in common usage.

Personal Organiser: Wallet or folder with loose-leaf sections for storing personal information. Favoured by yuppies (see 'Filofax' above and 'Yuppie' below).

Phone Card: Launched by BT in the mid-1980s - don't bother with loads of loose change - simply carry a phone card!

Phone home: Everybody was saying it after they watched the movie ET.

PIN: Personal identity number. Okay, so you've got one of those new fangled debit cards, so go along to the cashpoint, pop it in, tap in your PIN and discover just how little you have in your bank account.

Pixie Boots: Lovely fashion for girlies. I also seem to remember something called 'elf boots'.

Plonker: An affectionate and exasperated way of saying 'idiot'. Popularised by Del Boy in Only Fools and Horses.

Politically Correct/Political Correctness: These terms began to enter the lexicon of the way wot we peasants spoke around 1987 and were originally treated by many with irony. Were you calorifically challenged? Were you a sex worker ('nice work if you can get it!'). Tongues slid into cheeks and most people I knew thought it all slightly ridiculous. So did I. In fact, although I go out of my way not to offend anybody, I'm still not convinced. In the 1990s, political correctness grew and grew and beyond that it into the 21st Century it has become monstrous. Some words are 'in', others 'out' - some words once deemed offensive have been 'reclaimed' (WOT?!) - you can even call gays 'queers' now, which was something considered offensive (though many people did it) in the 1980s. I largely associate modern day political correctness with the Great And The Priggish. Sticks and stones, that's what I was always told... Shortened to 'PC' during the mid-to-late 1980s, by the growing band familiar with the term.

Poll Tax: Or, more properly, the Community Charge. Replacing the domestic rates system with this was not popular. From late 1988 onwards protesters began to mobilise. The Iron Lady was not for turning. 

Pong: Early computer game based on the game of tennis. Seemed slow and boring. I never actually met an enthusiast for this game, despite being a teenager from 1978 to 1984.

Pop Video: Promos had existed for pop songs for many years before the 1980s, but the '80s saw the beginnings of the Pop Video age. This was really revved up after the debut of dedicated music TV channel MTV (Music Television) in America in 1981. In 1981, UK newspapers were describing videos as 'films' or 'promos'. But a few years later things were very different. A pop song without an often highly expensive video was almost unimaginable, and the video became as much a part of the experience as the song.

Pot Noodle: Rising into the stratosphere in the early part of the decade, these lovely little pots of powder, dried veggy bits and dried noodles made a tasty snack when hot water was applied, and with new flavours arriving all the time and a handy little sachet of sauce with each one, were a taste sensation.

Power. Power dressing (see 'power dressing' below). Power ballads. Power nap. Power breakfast. Power lunch. Power walking. Power shower... The '80s loved the 'power' prefix (see below).

Power Ballad: Think of Jennifer Rush or Bonnie Tyler belting it out with big hair. You've got it!

Power Breakfast: Often a business meeting at breakfast and/or grub deemed worthy of setting you up for the day.

Power Dressing: A powerful way of dressing, usually achieved by the use of increasingly large shoulder pads as the decade progressed. Seen by some as a feminist icon, but in reality adopted by many men too. Including me.

Power Lunch: What are you a wimp? But if you must have lunch, remember that certain foods are 'wimp' and others 'power'. And be sure to mix that lunch with a little business.

Power Nap: An (often) tiny nap taken at some point during the day to ensure you are at the height of your mental powers - fit for business, fit for life later.

Power Shower: Trendy showers of the mid-to-late 1980s. See link.

Power Walking: Fitness walking.  Burn those calories without having to jog or run!

Puffball Skirt: Puffy skirt which was briefly a fashion sensation - from around late 1986 to 1988.

'PURlease!': A laboured way of writing 'please' - accentuating.

Ra-ra skirt: Little skirts, made of light material. Often layered. Went great with leggings, leg warmers, pixie boots and a Fame tank top.

Rave: Often illegal acid house parties, held in fields or large barns. Locations were kept secret for as long as possible to fox the fuzz (see 'Warehouse Party' below).

Red Nose Day: Began in 1988. Making money for worthy causes with a plastic red nose on. Wonderful!

Red Wedge: Formed in 1985. Collective of left wing pop musicians, actors and writers who tried to convince youth not to vote Tory in the mid-to-late 1980s. It failed. I was a young leftie, and never voted Tory, in fact Thatcher infuriated me, but the trendy, elitist burblings of Red Wedge did not appeal to me either. In fact, I thought Red Wedge was cr*p.

Right on one matey!/On one matey!: Popular T-shirt slogan from the acid house era. From the 1988 choon We call it

Right To Buy: Your own council house. Was around for yonks before, but it depended on your local council. In 1980 it became a right for all. And a highly controversial piece of legislation it was too! All right to give folk the right to own their own homes, but were the council houses being replaced by other social housing at the same rate?

Roland Rat: With his pals, including Kevin the gerbil, was said to have saved TV-am and became an '80s megastar.

Roller Blade: Type of roller skate dating from 1985 with wheels set in one straight line beneath the boot, thus creating an ice skating movement.

Roller Disco: Great fun at places like Rollerbury. A huge craze in the early-to-mid 1980s. Kind of grooving to records on a pair of skates. Oh yus!

Rubik's Cube: Thus named and released by Ideal Toys in 1980, the Cube, the invention of one Erno Rubik, then took over the world.

Safe Sex: Practicing safe sex, seen as particularly important after the discovery of AIDS early in the decade.

Satellite: Satellite TV. 'Are you getting satellite?' was often heard in the run-up to the launch of Sky TV in 1989 (see 'Sky TV' below).

Scratch card: No National Lottery in the 1980s, but this was the decade when the scratch card first burst upon us. Nip over to the newsagents and pick up a card. Wow! You won £1.50! You've already spent two quid on scratch cards today? Oh well, never mind..

Shaggy perm: Loadsa perms in the 1980s, as gel and mousse and other delights hit the shops and encouraged us to experiment (and probably distress) our tresses. There was also the spiral perm, the corkscrew perm, the 'oh my gawd, you look dreadful!' perm... etc... etc...

Shell suit: You know.

Shopaholic: Somebody addicted to shopping. With the freedom to buy that came with the mid-1980s credit boom, there were quite a few shopaholics about and so this word was coined just for them.

Sizeist:/Sizist Don't you go discriminating against people on account of their size, matey boots, or there'll be trouble!

Sky TV: Satellite TV. Launched in 1989. What a thrill! 

Sloane Ranger: Posh wally (see 'wally' - below).

Slogan T-shirts: A whole range of these with the text resembling banner newspaper headline print, first produced by Katherine Hamnett from 1983 onwards, including 'WORLD WIDE NUCLEAR BAN NOW', 'STOP KILLING WHALES' and 'CHOOSE LIFE', the last named being immortalised by the pop group Wham! Frankie Goes To Hollywood purloined the idea for their 'Frankie Say...' T-shirts.

'So angry I could throw the phone down!': Mr Angry on Steve Wright In The Afternoon on BBC Radio 1. A hugely popular catchphrase.

Social Democratic Party (SDP): British political party formed in 1981 by the 'Gang of Four' (Roy Jenkins, David Owen, Shirley Williams and William Rodgers). Merged with the Liberals in the late 1980s to become the Liberal Democratic Party - or Lib Dems for short..

Space Invaders: Passion for and supply of this arcade game reached critical mass in the early 1980s.

Spin Doctor: Somebody employed by a political party to put their doings in a favourable light to the general public. Wily devils.

Stone washed: Jeans and jean jackets.

Studio Line (AKA Stu..Stu.. Stu.. Studio Studio Studio Line): Wonderful stuff to apply to your hair for your very own look.

Swingorilliant: Slang for great music, said with tongue firmly in cheek. I believe it originated from the Smash Hits! magazine.

Synth-pop: Wonderful pop music made with a synthesizor. Think Depeche Mode. Think New Order. Think Pet Shop Boys. Think Soft Cell. Think Human League.

Telethon: From the very first Children In Need in 1980, the telethon was here in England and very happening. Dress up like a frog! Sit in a bath of baked beans! Help the needy!

Tetris: Computer game. Invented in Russia in the mid-1980s. Was making waves here before the end of the decade.

Thatcherism: Whatever old Ma Thatcher was doing. Her political and economic policies during her three terms. Or nearly three terms. She went a bit early, as I recall. She loved privatising things and cutting things back, as I remember. 

That's My Dog! Afternoon game show (well, it was shown in the afternoons where I lived) starring dogs, their owners and Derek Hobson. I used to love it when I got home after an early shift. It was one of the mid-to-late 1980s wonders, screened from 1984-1988 and made by largely forgotten ITV regional company Television South West (TSW).

Train-Spotter: Geeky, nerdy type.

Trivial Pursuit: Very popular game, released in America in 1982 and here in 1984. Brightly coloured cheese-shaped wedges and an elegant box design all added to the appeal. Often shortened to 'Triv'.

Transformers: Robots in disguise. Toys for boys. Yes, lads turn your juggernaut into a robot! Woohoo!

Tubular: American import. Great.

Uni: University. In the 1980s far fewer people attended university and we tended to refer it by its full title. Via characters in Australian soap operas (the earliest I recall being Mike Young in Neighbours) the abbreviation 'uni' became prevalent in England.

VCR: A video cassette recorder.

VHS: Became the victor in the VCR formats battle of the early-to-mid 1980s as VCRs became affordable and began to sweep the nation.

Video: A promo for a pop song - or a VCR - 'Are you getting a video? Very posh!'.

Video 2000: Another VCR format which lost the battle to VHS (see 'VHS' above).

Virtual Reality/Virtual: Doing things that seem real but are actually simulated by a computer. Quote from Whole Earth Review, 1989: Virtual Reality is not a computer. We are speaking about a technology that uses computerized clothing to synthesize shared reality.

Walkies! Say it like Barbara Woodhouse. Endless fun. Also say 'SIT!' Even more fun. Dear old Barbara. Never to be forgotten, she found sudden fame in her early 1980s TV series Training Dogs The Woodhouse Way.

Walkman: Also known as a personal stereo. Launched in the UK in 1980 and initially known as the Sony Stowaway.

Wally: Wallies were fik and had poor taste. They even had their own 'How To Be A...' book. The early-to-mid-1980s were saturated with them. One newspaper TV columnist even had a 'Wally Of The Week' award. And then there was the 'Wally of the Year Award'...

Wannabe: Somebody aping the style of a favourite celebrity might be dubbed a Madonna wannabe, for instance.

Warehouse Party: A warehouse or other spacious building was often used for an acid house thrash. The locations were usually kept secret for as long as possible to prevent the Old Bill from getting involved and putting a stop to it (see 'Rave' above).

Watchman: The Walkman played cassettes, the Discman played compact discs, and before the decade was out we got the Watchman - a miniature telly - in the same series.

Wet: A politician with liberal or middle-of-the-road views, particularly a Tory opposed to Maggie Thatcher's monetarist policies. She enjoyed purging her cabinet of them.

Windows: Formerly just something you looked out of, this all changed in 1985 when Microsoft released its first version of the computer program.

Wine bar: 1980s wine bars were a must for the upwardly mobile and they sprang up everywhere, often called things like 'Crusts' or 'Cobblers'. Remember 'OK, YAH, DOWN THE WINE BAH!'?

Wimmin: Women. Coined around 1982. Popular word at places like Greenham Common as the 'Feminist Movement' continued its descent into rampant misandry - 'wimmin' did not contain the word 'men'..

'Wicked!' - once meant bad, evil - but from around 1988 onwards in trendy youth circles meant great and happening.

Wonga: Dosh.

Woopie: Acronym. Well off older person.

'Worra swizz!' What a swindle!

Yale cardigan: Like the American college. Brief but popular youth fashion of the early 1980s. Called 'Y' cardigans, 'cos they had a big 'Y' on them.

'You CANNOT be serious!': Much parroted phrase brought about by John McEnroe at Wimbledon in 1981.

'You got an ology?!': Slogan from a BT ad starring Maureen Lipman as the wittily named Beattie Bellman in 1987. Went very wide and is still sometimes heard today. A person, listing sociology or biology as an academic achievement, would be told: 'You've got an ology? You're a scientist...'

Yuppie: Young urban professional - first recorded in May 1980, 'yuppie' blossomed from being a disapproval word for high earners taking over working class neighbourhoods in Chicago, to those that consumed conspicuously to the absolute max under the Reagan/Thatcher governments and elsewhere. Basically, the word was first applied to quite everyday dosh-makers pricing poor plebs out of their own neighbourhoods then to Gordon Gekko and his ilk. The 'yuppie' term was applied indiscriminately to anybody getting a bit flash round my way, from the age of about eighteen to about the age of forty-five. Forty five! Young?! Well, of course it is. I'm... slightly older... and I'm still young!

Yuppie Bashing: Yuppies were not popular with some, being the most potent representation of 1980s capitalism. But that was no excuse! One prospective mugger got slugged by a yuppie's mobile phone in the late 1980s. This yuppie bashed back!

Yuppie Flu: ME - based on the notion that ME (see 'ME' above) was initially often seen to manifest itself in high achievers with high pressure lifestyles.

Yuppie Puppy: A young yuppie or the offspring of a yuppie couple.

Yuppify: Former working class areas being bought up by yuppies and going all up-market with fancy bars, gyms and nouvelle cuisine restaurants, etc.

Yuppie Water: Bottled water. Loved by yuppies as the 1980s progressed, and slowly seeping downwards towards the rest of us as a trend. In the 1990s, it became perfectly respectable to fork out for bottles of water, darling! Take my advice: tap is just as refreshing in a bottle and just as easy to carry.

ZX Spectrum: Far better than 1980's ZX80, or 1981's ZX81, the Speccy is a computing legend.