A Mug For The '80s...

Here up at '80s Actual Towers, we're right mugs for all things 1980s, so in this post we've decided to up our mug status by looking at mugs. 1980s mugs, that is. We bought this new graffiti design in 1989, and the design continued to be wildly popular into the early 1990s. 'BUY BLITISH!' 'SAVE TREES EAT A BEAVER!' 'IF AT FIRST YOU DON'T SUCCEED CHEAT.' 'MICKEY MOUSE IS A RAT!' FABULOUS!

What about mugs reflecting crazes of the 1980s? Well, you couldn't find a better representation than the two 1981 mugs pictured below featuring the mighty Rubik's Cube. The Cube was one of the greatest success stories of the decade, sweeping into our lives in 1980 (or, more likely, 1981 - there was a shortage) and then taking those aforementioned lives over. Could we solve it? Our fascination was endless.

Sadly, I couldn't solve it and had to concede that it really was a 'mug's game'!

One of our very fave 1980s mug designs is this lovely pedestal 'Let's Break' design - with the cosily boiling kettle. There was also the same pic with a 'Have A Break' and 'Break Time' slogan. All three designs are still favourites for a comforting brew on a busy day up at '80s Actual Towers.

These mugs are also great for packet soups. Being slightly smaller than most, if you stir it up well you get a nice thick tasty slurp rather than the usual insipid powdery hot water.

Just remember to stir well and make sure the powder is fully dissolved. YUM!

The wedding of Princes Charles and Lady Diana Spencer on 29 July, 1981, provoked a welter of souvenir merchandising. This mug seems particularly evocative. The newsprint quality of the photographs would never pass muster today.

Here's our old mate Henry's Cat with a very '80s message: 'Nothing succeeds like excess!' Absolutely!

Talking about famous cartoon cats, what about Garfield? From 1981 (in America) and 1983 (England) we were swamped with Garfield stuff.

And here's a word about Garfield mugs and general merchandising. If you have Garfield merchandise it will date from the 1980s at the earliest. If it says '1978' on it that's simply because it was the year when the character first appeared in American newspaper comic strips - was first copyrighted - and he looked liked this:

His appearance evolved during the 1980s and evidence of that evolvement is obvious from the merchandising. Jim Davis founded his own Garfield merchandising company, Paws Inc. in 1981, and that's when the flood of Garfield stuff began. He made his way to English shops a year or two later.

1978 being the first copyright date for Garfield, it was often used on subsequent merchandising. The same rule applies to the Pac-Man mug later in this blog post. It's dated '1980' because that was the year the character debuted, but the mug is actually from a couple of years later.

So, next time you nip onto eBay and see a Garfield mug - apparently from 1978, don't be fooled. It won't be.

The mug featured here actually has two copyright dates - 1978 and 1981!

Right, pressing on, we say 'qua qua, fa diddily qua qua' and meet our next mug...

Yes, it's Adam (with the 'D' authentically the wrong way round) and his Ants on this little beauty from 1981. Actually, we loved Adam. We think he made David Bowie - even in David's fab 1980 Ashes To Ashes phase - look like Hilda Ogden. Adam had great street cred, and also great behind-the-bike-sheds-with-a-ciggie-and-a-transistor-radio cred, back then. It's easy to go all tongue-in-cheek about it now, but I genuinely felt Adam was something of a marvel back in the early 1980s - and I still treasure the memories. The music, the videos, the image... fantastic!

And here's another larger-than-life 1980s celebrity - Mr T - BA Baracus himself - from the A-Team. Some English TV critics were dubious about the show when it debuted here, but the kids loved it and it quickly assumed legendary status.

This mug is simply very 1980s and nice. Well, I like it. Dates from 1986.

Another favourite - the Cadbury's chocolate block mug from 1983. Lovely with hot chocolate. And a couple of choc biccies… And maybe even a couple of bars of chocolate - particularly another 1983 debut...

… the Wispa bar! Bite it and believe it, as the ads said. Scrummy!

Wanna be a yuppie? Yus, matey boots? Well, this 1984 mug is for you. This was before the hugely booming bit of the 1980s had really got underway, so the yuppie 'wants' seem a bit naff and feeble now. We still had three years to wait for Gordon Gekko.

Orville! Remember that chart-buster of late 1982 - Orville's Song? 'Orful, who is your very best friend?' 'You are.' 'I'm gonna help you mend your broken NECK!' That's what we sang. Hard-hearted gits, weren't we? But this is a very lovely mug, is it not?

And here he is, then! The one, the only, PAC-MAN! Remember the copyright date rule we discussed regarding Garfield? Well, this Kiln Craft mug contains the copyright date '1980' for the character, but the mug dates from around 1982.

The kettle never stops boiling at our place so we'll be revisiting the 1980s teatime soon...

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