The 80’s – Power and Perfume

The 80’s was the decade of the New Romantics, Frankie said we should relax, Eddie Grant walked down Electric Avenue, Musical Youth were passing the ‘Dutchie’ and girls just wanted to have fun! The aroma in the discotheque was that of cigarette smoke mixed with ‘Panache’ by Lentheric the fragrance of the moment for women and ‘Brute’ was favourite with the gents; they splashed it on all over! The standard slow dance at the end of the night meant you could prop each other up after drinking one too many Campari and Soda’s and chat up lines were all the rage, cheesy but very acceptable:

‘If I told you that you had a beautiful body would you hold it against me’

‘Would you grab my arm so I can tell my friends I’ve been touched by an angel’

Magnum was the thinking lady’s crumpet and Starsky and Hutch set pulses racing on a Saturday night…the throwing of their badges into the ocean scene episode really affected me. Midweek entertainment came in the form of Dynasty and Dallas accompanied by shoulder pads, Stetson’s, stilettos, Bourbon on the rocks, Dex Dexter and the Oil Baron’s Ball an annual event we looked forward to with bated breath. Miss World was another viewing pleasure, an array of lovelies wanting to help children all over the world…Bless em!

The buzz word for that time was ‘POWER’. Superpower, fight the power, power trip, power walk, power dressing, power ballads and the power of love. Some abused this word but other more visionary people realized that by using their creative powers a difference could be made to another word which many had heard for the first time; ‘Famine’. The desperate plight of Ethiopia and its people was a reality that no one with any regard for human life could ignore. I wondered why we were only told about this devastating drought at a time when women, men and children were nearing their last breath. It was clear by the images we saw on the news that this had been going on for some time so why did we hear about it as late as we did?

A power that was perhaps underestimated until the 80’s was music. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been influenced in some way by lyrics written to heal, help and of course enjoy but when musicians from both sides of the Atlantic collaborated to raise awareness and funds to feed the world everyone listened. Music became the only power that mattered during the 80’s and continues to be just as influential today.

It was also a decade of change on a massive scale for girls, their lifestyle and career choices. Strong women became our role models and the front-runners where Margaret Thatcher and Joan Collins…what a contrast! A combination of beauty and brains, Joan Collins showed that it was possible to work hard and be there every step of the way for your children whilst remaining a woman in every sense of the word. So that was the 80’s I remember, full of glitz and glamour but it was also a time when people had the courage to stand up and say we don’t like what we see let’s do something about it. Now that’s powerful.

© Michelle Sotiriou 2015