Back in Time: The 1980s

We had it all in the 80s..

Goodish music, cool films, strikes, threats of nuclear war, creepy DJs and legwarmers.

It was also one of those rare occasions when we won the Eurovision.

What? No! It had NOTHING to do with skirts coming off!

A lot has changed in the last 38 years since the start of that decade. Technology has gone STRATOSPHERIC and I have no idea what’s happening anymore..

So, how about a few comparisons between then and now?

TV

Now. There are about, ooh, a million TV channels to choose from? Yet you can still spend half an hour flicking through to find there is NOTHING on. I literally spent AGES flicking through all the channels last night and I ended up watching Fawlty Towers which was made sometime during the middle-ages. ‘Flowery Twats’ may be un-pc these days but it’s still hilariously funny.

Basil to his car: Start, you vicious bastard. Oh my God. I’m warning you, if you don’t start… I’ll count to three. 1, 2, 3, right, that does it. I’m going to give you a damn good thrashing.

They really don’t make them as good as this anymore..

Then. We had THREE channels at the start of the 80s. BBC One. BBC Two and ITV. Channel Four was launched in 1982 so that made a grand total of FOUR channels to choose from. Channel Four was a God send for us teenagers with programmes like The Tube and Brookside. I mean, who can forget ‘Debbie and Damon’? De Romeo and Juliet of der Pewl, eh?

‘Come here boy! It’s been five minutes since I gave somebody a damn good thrashing!’

DISCIPLINE

NOW. “Oh yeah? What are you going to do about it, Sir. I’ll have you arrested, Sir. You’ll be somebody’s bitch in prison, Sir!”

Discipline in secondary school consists of after-school detentions, confiscations, isolation and exclusion. When it became illegal to thrash kids, teachers had to get creative – not to mention medicated. However, it’s my understanding that teachers still have the right to use necessary force pupils in certain situations like if they are going to harm themselves or others?

THEN. In my day you got thrashed with a big fuck off stick and I’ve seen numerous blackboard rubbers hurtling across classrooms aimed at somebody’s head. It’s a wonder there weren’t fatalities. Maybe there were? Come to think of it, pupils were prone to disappearing from time to time. Was it truancy? Or were they concussed in A & E?

The glory years of corporal punishment came to an end in 1987 (two years after I left) though private schools carried on thrashing until 1999. In this instance, I think that 2018 wins because there should never have been a place in society for hitting children.

NUCLEAR WAR

NOW. There’s probably have a game about it on X Box featuring zombies. Also, President Trump likes to have ‘my nukes are bigger than yours’ competitions with anybody who takes the piss out of his hair/face/tan/hands/leadership.

I’d say this gives some cause for concern..

THEN. In 1983 there were two close calls. ACTUAL danger of ANNIHILATION due to a tiff between the Russia and America. A generation of kids and their parents properly shat themselves worrying over this. Parents were stock piling tins of beans so in the event of nuclear war we could fart ourselves into comas. Thankfully it didn’t happen but it gave Frankie Goes To Hollywood some inspiration for their number one hit, Two Tribes.

Remember this?

“The air attack warning sounds like
This is the sound.

When you hear the air attack warning
You and your family must take cover.”

Magzilla
19 September 1983

PSYCHOTIC FEMALE PRIME MINISTERS

NOW. People think Theresa May is bad?

THEN. She’s aint a patch on our pearl wearing overlord!

Margaret Thatcher (or “that woman” as my Labourite father called her) ruled as PM throughout the entirety of the 80s. This was the woman who a few years earlier (as Secretary of State for Education) abolished free milk for schoolchildren. Also, she and her popular (not) Poll Tax was responsible for the worst riots in Britain. Thatcher was possibly one of the most hated women ever. Certainly wasn’t popular in our house. In my opinion, Thatcher makes Theresa May look like Jar Jar Binks – only in leopard print kitten heels.

LEGO

NOW. Parents have to take out a second mortgage so their kid can have the Star Wars Millennium Falcon? I am STAGGERED at the price of Lego these days! I want to buy a kit, not the company!

THEN. One board, some bricks and you considered yourself lucky.

PHONES

Now. I’ve yet to clap eyes on a young person who isn’t attached to their mobile phone via an umbilical cord. You see them slumped over their phones in McDonald’s – Diet Coke in one hand – mobile phone in the other.

ALL of them on their phones.

NOBODY speaking.

Are they all sat texting each other?

It’s possible.

Then. While mobile phones existed in the 80s – they were the size of a shopping trolley and cost a fortune so us peasants had to make do with landline phones or public phone-boxes. You know, the red ones that reeked of fags and wee?

‘Blocking’ was when irate parents fixed an actual lock on the phone after receiving a bill of EPIC proportions – £40 in 80s money and about £160 in today’s. This usually included a few months of being grounded. Early parole was usually granted because parents couldn’t cope with having stroppy teenagers under their feet being all hormonal and horrible.

MUSIC

Now. Auto-tuned, shit sampled crap with pornographic videos and lyrics that would give your nan a coronary.

Truffle butter? Do yourself a favour and don’t Google it.

You Googled it dintcha?

Certainly puts Madonna and her pointy bra into place, eh?

Then. Sexuality has played a part in music for decades. Elvis was thrusting his pelvis at teenage girls in the 50s and in those days it was shocking. In 1978 Olivia Newton John was prim and proper as Sandy in Grease – three years later she was wanting to get ‘physical’ with blokes in a gym and I don’t think she meant half an hour on the treadmill! NOT that I knew what it was really about then because I used to pull on my legwarmers and go round the house singing..

You gotta know that you’re bringin’ out
The animal in me,
Lets get physical, physical, I wanna get physicaaaaaal…

Highly appropriate when you’re eleven years old, no?

THE SELFIE

Now. According to University of Florida’s Eunice Kim and colleagues in a September 2016 paper, there are 93 million selfie postings every day! That’s a LOT of duckface!

Then. Selfies aren’t a new creation, I mean, what’s the difference between a self-portrait and a selfie? It’s still a picture of YOURSELF, right? People have been using cameras to take picture of themselves for decades, it’s just that it’s so much easier now. In my day if you wanted to take a picture of yourself it involved much faffing and possible blindness when the flash went off in your face. Plus we were working with actual film so posing your way through a gazillion shots was NOT an option.

The 80s were my teenage years and I am part of the generation before technology went supersonic. Sadly, teens won’t ever experience that kind of simplicity again unless it’s part of some historical experiment to show how we used to live..

Fast forward 38 years and we live in a technological world where we communicate more with strangers than we do our own families. For autistic people like me, social media helps us to socialise because we are generally crap at it in person. That said, social media is good in small doses because it can easily become overwhelming. Life is too technological for our brains to cope with and as a result our mental health suffers and we have to take social media and, in my case – technology in general – breaks.

I have mixed emotions about the 1980s. Happy because it was the decade where I became a mother. Sad/angry/scarred because I was bullied by twats. Despite this – the frankly criminal fashions and Agagdoo do do push pineapple shake the tree – the 1980s was simplistic in comparison to today.

For me, THE best decade was the one that preceded it. Yes readers, hold onto your goddamn flares because next time I’ll be hauling you back to the 70s!

 

All images are public domain

Margaret Thatcher

It’s The Freakiest Show..

My big brother was into the 1970s glam-rock scene, I mean, he had the platforms and everything.. He looked a div, but then what teenage boy didn’t look a div in the 70s?

For what’s it’s worth, I also looked a div – only I didn’t have any choice in the matter.

Anyway, it’s from rooting through his records that I came across the phenomenon that was David Bowie..

Being born in 1970 rendered me too young to appreciate the glam rock scene first time around. However, I didn’t have to wait too long because it made a comeback in the 80s with the likes of Def Leppard, Poison and Kiss – only with less glitter and more hair. Oh. And the flares were replaced by skin-tight, testicle-trapping jeans which of course helped them to reach those high notes..

WHOOOOOOOOO-YEAHHHHHHHHHHHH

Of all the records of the glam rock era, Life on Mars is my favourite.

Bowie labeled Life on Mars, “a sensitive young girl’s reaction to the media” and added, “I think she finds herself disappointed with reality… that although she’s living in the doldrums of reality, she’s being told that there’s a far greater life somewhere, and she’s bitterly disappointed that she doesn’t have access to it.”

I know how she feels..

Reality sucks. You spend nine months in the womb being prepared for your big entry into the world only to reach the age of five when you start school and your world turns phenomenally crap.

Yes, I know how that girl feels..

Life on Mars was released as a single in 1973. I was three years old and still wearing plastic pants. So it’s fair to say that while I no doubt heard it on the radio (or saw it on TOTP) I wasn’t into it until a few years later..

First, I fell in love with Mick Ronson’s orchestral arrangement because, lets face it, it’s EFFING AWESOME! Then came my obsession with the lyrics (also awesome) and all these years later, it STILL does things to me insides..

When it comes to the lyrics, the song is somewhat ambiguous but I identify with Bowie’s description because, like the girl, I am also at odds with reality. I see life as one big freak show.

Sailors fighting in the dance hall
Oh man, look at those cavemen go
It’s the freakiest show

Bowie started out ordinary enough, apart from his freaky eye, but Mrs Bowie knew that his image was a bit crap so she turned him into the spiky red awesomeness that was ‘Ziggy Stardust’. He made weird, cool, and all the misfits and weirdos whooped with joy and bought all his records. He was like something out of space – which was kind of the idea. Nobody knew what the fuck he was. Was he male, female or alien?

Bowie wasn’t my dad’s cup of tea, as I imagine was the case with a lot of other parents of the time. Dad’s nervous cough would kick in when Ziggy beamed up via the gogglebox during those early years but he settled down once Dave brought out Lets Dance and ‘that one he did with Jagger’, got the Dad stamp of approval too.

Bowie has been a constant in some form or other since Ziggy. I almost had a coronary when the TV series Life on Mars was screened in 2006. Great plot. The legend what is ‘The Gene Genie’ (Gene Hunt) and a cracking 1970s soundtrack, including Life on Mars which was used a LOT. What’s not to like?

For those of you unfamiliar with Life on Mars.. the plot is is that Sam Tyler has an accident in 2006 and wakes up in 1973 wearing flares and driving a Cortina. The tagline is, Am I mad, in a coma, or back in time? Whatever’s happened, it’s like I’ve landed on a different planet.

I just hope to God I never suffer a head trauma and wake up in 1983 wearing a ra-ra skirt and legwarmers!

So, if I had to choose ONE song to listen to before I die, it would be Life On Mars. I want my life force to ebb away to this song but knowing my luck, it will be Justin Bieber and I will die with my middle finger stuck up in mid-air.

There is something satisfyingly poetic about Mick Ronson’s melodic string arrangements to Life on Mars being the last piece of music I ever hear before I depart this shit-hole planet. I am the girl with the mousey hair, or at least I used to be before I started dyeing the crap out of it, and I very much want this to be my swansong. Family, take note.

Finally, a bit o’ trivia for you..

The string arrangement for Life on Mars was written in a TOILET.

Genius.

 

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

Researching autism in mainstream secondary schools, I came across this comment on an online debate of whether autistic children should be taught in mainstream schools..

 “As a student taught in a mainstream school, I know the pain of autistic kids. There is an average of one autistic per classroom, and it commonly disrupts the learning environment, In recent years, I have seen many classrooms disrupted by a call for “iPad!!!” or “Hungry!!!” in the middle of an important lesson, sometimes even a test. I understand the argument for mainstreaming, but by the time that making the… Lesser… Kids feel better by putting them in normal classes infringes upon the learning environment of those who actually have opportunity (keeping autistics in the same school as normals) , that’s going too far.”

Charming, eh?

Where do I start?

“I know the pain of autistic kids”

No you don’t.

“There is an average of one autistic per classroom, and it commonly disrupts the learning environment”

“It”? I hope this person is referring to ‘it’ as the autism, not the child?

“I understand the argument for mainstreaming, but by the time that making the… Lesser… Kids”

This person considers him/herself as being more important (and intelligent) than autistic pupils.

“keeping autistics in the same school as normals) , that’s going too far.”

Are we talking feral cats or human beings?

I am a literal person and I take words literally but there is no doubt in my mind that this person sees autistic pupils as inferior to himself and that they should all be buggered off elsewhere.

I’m not oblivious to how autistic pupils can be disruptive but that doesn’t mean they have no place in mainstream. When I was at school it was the opposite. It was the “normals” that disrupted my learning on a daily basis for the entire four years I was there. Personally, I’d have ripped someone’s arm off to go to a special school but many autistic people do better in mainstream as long as they have the right support – not to mention the acceptance and understanding of their peers.

There is much I could say about inclusion but that’s for another post. Today, I want to address attitudes towards autistic people.

So, lets take a look at some other “lessers”.

  • Dan Aykroyd –  Actor – Aspergers DX
  • Hans Christian Andersen – Author – Considered Autistic
  • Susan Boyle – Singer – Aspergers DX.
  • Tim Burton – Film Director – Considered Autistic
  • Henry Cavendish – Scientist – Considered Autistic
  • Charles Darwin – Naturalist, Geologist, and Biologist – Considered Autistic
  • Paul Dirac – Physicist – Considered Autistic
  • Albert Einstein –Er, Hello? Genius!– Considered Autistic
  • Bobby Fischer – Chess Whizz – Considered Autistic
  • Bill Gates – Co-founder of the Microsoft Corporation – Considered Autistic
  • Temple Grandin – Animal Scientist – Asperger DX
  • Daryl Hannah – Actress – Asperger DX
  • Steve Jobs – Former CEO of Apple – Considered Autistic
  • James Joyce – Author – Considered Autistic
  • Barbara McClintock – Scientist and Cytogeneticist – Considered Autistic
  • Michelangelo – Sculptor, Painter, Architect, Poet – Considered Autistic
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Musical Genius – Considered Autistic
  • Sir Isaac Newton – Mathematician, Astronomer, & Physicist – Considered Autistic
  • Jerry Seinfeld – Comedian – Self-DX
  • Satoshi Tajiri – Creator of Nintendo’s Pokémon – Aspergers DX
  • Nikola Tesla – Inventor – Physicist -Electrical & Mechanical Engineer- Considered Autistic
  • Gary Numan – Singer – Song Writer – Producer – Composer – Self-DX Aspergers
  • Paddy Considine – Actor – Director – Screen Writer – Musician – Aspergers DX
  • Alan Gardner – Award Winning Garden Designer and TV presenter – Aspergers DX
  • Chris Packham – Nature Photographer, TV Presenter – Author – Aspergers DX

Those who consider that autism equals low intelligence would do well to take a long hard look at this list because all the people on it have a diagnosis or are generally considered to be autistic by those who are autistic and the professionals who diagnose it. This list of talents is as diverse as the autistic spectrum itself. I wonder if our friend who wants the “lesser kids” out of his/her classroom will change the world in the way that some of these people have?

I’m guessing not.

Another problem is that the word ‘Autism’ is often used as a slur – an insult.

Ignorance causes distress. On any given day you can type the word ‘Autistic’ into the search bar of Twitter and you will come across a tweet that uses the word as an insult.

Actual Tweets.

“This lady is watching some lads just go and buy a drink, yelling autistic dribble, making funny noises and clapping her hands.”

“they usually have something worthwhile to say though…..your tweets are nothing but autistic outbursts”

“Got an image in my head of (name omitted) having an autistic shitfit trying to work the wetherspoons app hahahahahahha”

“Like how autistic do you have to be to think going to spawns on an aim map and spawn killing in DM is going to help you or beneficial.”

“autistic retard”

“my friend keeps sending me snaps of some autistic guy dancing at the bar .. lemme tell u for free , i never seen a retard dance like that.”

Plenty more where they came from but you get my drift?

If I had my way, I would have them rounded up and fired off into space on a one way ticket because there is a chance these fuckwits will spawn and spread their ignorance throughout the planet. Harsh, but effective, yes?

I haven’t made screen shots of the tweets but they are there. I haven’t made these up.

Some of these tweets will have been made on iPhones and what these idiots don’t realise is that the Co-founder, Chairman, and CEO of Apple, is Steve Jobs – a man who is generally considered to have been AUTISTIC.

Or maybe they’ve done the Pokémon thing?

The world-wide phenomenon which is Pokémon was created by a man with a Aspergers diagnosis. Get this. In 2014 Satoshi Tajiri was estimated to be worth $5.1 billion!

PIKA PIKA MOFOS!

“Lesser”? I don’t think so!

Some autistic people do have severe learning difficulties but they often excel in creative thinking.

“Lesser”? No. Different? Yes.

We all have something to offer.

The slurs are offensive – no question. However, the joke is on the ignorant wankpuffins who make such comments because the world that we know today has been shaped by autistic people.

Issac Newton wrote: “If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.”

We see further today because we are standing on the shoulders of giants and many of those giants were autistic.

“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… The ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… They push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.” – Steve Jobs