Thursday 4 June 2015


Another in our regular series of growing up in a different decade… we talk to Beth, who was a teen in the 1980s!

Beth says:
I remember the 80s as being very colourful - we had bright clothes with transfer pictures on them and jumpers you could wear inside out with patterns on both sides. My hair was either very short in a 'beans on toast' style, curly on top and short at the sides… or, when it was a bit longer, I had a 'palm tree' ponytail with about five neon bright scrunchies keeping it straight up in the air.

My childhood was quite strange compared to some as my dad owned a jazz band, so we were constantly traveling at weekends and in the holidays, and went to Butlins twice a year to play. They'd close the whole holiday camp just for jazz bands and we stayed in chalets for the week, competing at the weekend and then enjoying the camp! I'd spend all my time in the pool, then run back to the chalet at night with a towel around me and feet shoved into jelly shoes. At night I'd dress up in skinny jeans, legwarmers, tucker boots and bright crop-tops to dance at the discos! 

Music was a huge part of my life then, I was a massive Wham! fan and the walls and ceiling of my bedroom were covered in George Michael posters! My friend preferred Andrew and I loved George so we'd cut our posters in half and share! I used to take my big ghetto blaster everywhere - it was a big double tape machine and I'd record the hits on it on a Sunday afternoon. I played my singles very loudly and I used to cut out the words to the top 40 songs from Smash Hits magazine and glue them to my exercise books!

I loved reading… I discovered the mobile library which came to the village on a Saturday morning and read the Sweet Valley High and Sweet Dreams books. If we weren't away with the band, I'd sit on my front doorstep at 9.30am with my pile of books, waiting for the van to pull up before racing down to swap my books. The staff on the mobile library let me have an adults ticket because you could get eight books and two cassettes with that. There was a trilogy of books by author Francine Pascal about a girl called Caitlin - I loved the name and later called my daughter that as the character had always stayed with me.

My best memories were of Sunday afternoons in my bedroom on my own, listening to music, reading my library books and savouring a 20p mix-up from the sweet shop which I always managed to make last all afternoon!

Cathy says:
I LOVE this account… a lot of 1980s love, and a lot of library love too! Would YOU have liked growing up in the 1980s? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

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