lifestyle

Eight reasons to love the 80s.

Nina in her formal dress, 1989

by NINA MAY

I was lucky enough to be a teen of the 80s. I rocked a perm, distressed denim jeans and played Bon Jovi on my mix tape. I was living the dream and living on a prayer.

The 80s was the BEST DECADE EVER. And for those who don’t know why – and for those who secretly do but just won’t admit it – here are the Top 8 reasons to Love The 80s.

1. BEST HAIR

Perms, crimping, teen waves, big hair (Jon Bon Jovi), cropped hair (Bros), crazy braided/dreadlocked hair (Boy George) – the 80s had it all.

Sport stars rocked mullets, schoolgirls wore scrunchies and men dabbled in mousse – cans of it. I remember a poster on my bedroom wall of pop band Pseudo Echo flogging hair products. One Direction has nothing on those guys.

2. BEST FASHION

Some unfairly say the 80s was the decade fashion forgot. From “Choose Life” t-shirts, to Doc Martens, to stonewash denim – the 80s allowed a unique style of fashion expression. My wardrobe included the following– a suede jacket with tassels, tops with shoulder pads so big they’d take out an eye, headbands, white cowboy boots, oversized t-shirts, bubble skirts, neon legwarmers, fingerless gloves and a selection of wide stretch belts. And while I never got into crucifix necklaces, lace and bangles by the dozen – plenty of other trendsetters did.

3. BEST MUSIC

80s music came from the heart. Whitney Houston – The Greatest Love of All. Wham! – Careless Whisper. All Out of Love – Air Supply.

Back then the anthems soared higher, glam rockers ruled the airwaves and the electronic age was taking shape. And Stock Aitken Waterman had just discovered a couple of rising talents in Bananarama, Rick Astley and one Kylie Minogue.

The 80s influence continues to this day. Many chart toppers are little more than remixes of tunes from that era. Youngsters may be fooled in thinking it’s original work, but I can spot a forgery a mile away (so too, it turns out, could those whose uncovered the Milli Vanilli miming scandal).

4. BEST MOVIE STARS

Decades after finding fame – these actors are still making headlines. Matthew Broderick in Ferris Bueller’s Day off, Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator, Demi Moore in St Elmo’s Fire and Michael J. Fox, who starred in the Back to the Future franchise. My favourite movie – The Breakfast Club – featured numerous members of the so-called 80s “brat pack”. And the list isn’t complete without Tom Cruise – it’s hard to believe Top Gun was released 26 years ago.

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5. BEST GADGETS

Before there were iPhones, iPads and iDontKnowWhatElse, there were mobile “brick” phones the size of houses and Commodore 64 computers (and, no – there wasn’t one in every classroom). The 80s also introduced a whole new world in entertainment – the Walkman, the CD player – and the VHS player (which nowadays seems like an ancient collectors’ item).

6. BEST ONE LINERS

It was 1983 and Australia had just won the coveted yachting title, the America’s Cup. So elated was our then Prime Minister Bob Hawke, he declared: “Any boss who sacks anyone for not turning up today is a bum”.

Unsurprisingly, many of my other favourite lines can be found in the movies of that decade – “Greed is good” (Michael Douglas, Wall Street) and the best of them all – “No one puts baby in a corner” (Patrick Swayze, Dirty Dancing).

7. BEST TOYS

More frustrating than a 1000 piece puzzle, more infuriating than Sudoku, the Rubik’s Cube reached its height of popularity in the 80s. Despite what seems like thousands of attempts, I’ve never actually solved it.

And – sure – teens these days might have Wii and PlayStation – but I reckon nothing beats the good old retro games – Frogger, Pac-Man and Space Invaders.

8. BEST CAR RIVALRY

When I was growing up, you were either on team Holden or team Ford and there wasn’t much in between. I learnt to drive in a sky blue Holden Kingswood – but my first purchase was actually a Datsun 120Y, still sky blue, but a little easier to reverse parallel park. Frankly, I would have preferred Ferris’ pick: a red Ferrari convertible, but sadly I didn’t have any mates with Dads who owned one. I’m still waiting for that ride…

So there you have it. Eight reasons to love the 80s. And hasn’t time flown? As Ferris famously said “ Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Nina May has been a journalist for more than 20 years and now co-hosts First Edition and News Now on Sky News. She’s also a proud ambassador for the Melanoma Institute Australia. You can follow her on Twitter here.

What do you think the best decade was?

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