Friday 27 March 2015


Another in our cool series on growing up in a different decade… meet Marie, who was a teen in the 1980s…

Marie says:
I was thirteen in 1983. Big hair, fluorescent lycra and electro-pop, I embraced them all in my early teens; it wasn't exactly the coolest look, but at least the neon socks I wore brought some colour to my dull surroundings! I grew up in Runcorn; the estate I lived on was OK, but there was absolutely nothing to do. I spent the first part of my teens waiting for Wham's Andrew Ridgely to turn up on his ski-doo and rescue me… I was sure that somewhere, there was a world just like the one in the Last Christmas video, where a girl like me could live happily ever after. As I got older, I realised I was quite capable of rescuing myself - I just had to work hard at school and get the grades for university. So that's what I did!

I loved Sixth Form. The people who had made my life hard at school earlier on had now left to get jobs, and there was no longer so much pressure to fit in. I discovered hair dye and indie music and never looked back. With a Saturday job in a local newsagents I had money too! I started to go to alternative nights at clubs in Liverpool and Warrington, where I danced to bands like the Smiths, New Order and Echo and the Bunnymen. Whilst my music taste definitely improved, my fashion sense was still questionable. Leaving the neon socks and lycra behind, my new uniform consisted of loud flowery dresses, shabby cardigans and Doc Marten boots. I remember my friend's mum telling me I looked like a bag lady - parents didn't really do that whole positive psychology thing back then!

Luckily, I had thick skin. I was part of a big, extended family of Liverpudlians, and quickly learnt not to take myself too seriously. Friends and fashion came and went, but my family were always there for me. I didn't just have mum and dad but my aunties, uncles and cousins too… dozens of them! There was always someone I could talk to and somewhere I felt safe and wanted. Things went wrong when a teacher taught us the wrong A level geography syllabus and I didn't get the grades I needed for university. Rather than go through clearing I got a job, but hated it… and with my heart set on journalism I applied to study Communication Studies in Nottingham. I changed my mind about working in the media but fell in love with Nottingham… being nineteen in a new city, with new friends and new opportunities was simply awesome!

Cathy says:
I love this… awesome indeed! Marie now lives in Manchester with her family and is studying for an MA in Creative Writing; she still wears loud dresses and shabby cardigans! Would YOU have enjoyed being a teen in the 80s? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

1 comment:

  1. My mum was a teen in the 80s. She turned 13 in 1983. And boy, does she have some good stories from her teenage years! I found a picture of her when she was about 14. She was sitting in a room that was more posters than wall and she was wearing a teal and pink jumper and her hair was permed (obviously). I laughed at it for ages then put it on Facebook because I am a loving daughter. Almost every Christmas, we've had to buy her a new compilation of 80s songs. However, I do have to thank her because she was watching a TV show from the 80s and there was this really cool band. She said "Oh, I don't know them. I guess they were like the punks of their time". I Googled the lyrics and said "Mum, they were the punks of their time - that's the Stiff Little Fingers!" So Mum unwittingly got me listening to the Stiff Little Fingers. My RMPS teacher from school told me to listen to them because I'd like them but I never got around to it so thank god for Mum's awful TV shows for bringing them right to my ears.



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