Friday, 21 March 2014

Retro Mum

Does anyone remember Constance Carroll make up?  It was in the 80’s and came in the brightest colours of pinks, purples and blues.  When you were 13, it was the best thing since sliced bread (which had only probably just been invented). In those days we cared not of the provenance, or if it was organic, or tested on animals, or indeed if it was any good for our skin.  If it was cheap, we liked it – and boy was it cheap.  In the days when a Curly Wurly was still only 9 pence, a little pallet of Constance Carroll would set you back about 50 pence, and for that you could plaster it all over your eyelids and look simply gorgeous.  It was all down to those Athena posters which were primarily white and always featured red lips, brightly made up eyes and a lipstick positioned somewhat erotically.  Sometimes, to look more exotic than erotic, there was a cocktail glass thrown in, in place of the lipstick.  The New Romantic movement was in with a bang, and men wore eyeliner with pride, ruffled shirts cascaded down the lean bodies of the men in our teen mags (Blue Jeans, Jackie – remember those), and hair was gelled into weird and wonderful quiffs.  As girls in boarding school we lusted after those impossible heroes of Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet sellotaped  to our walls, overlapping pictures of Toyah and a cute poster of a Woofit (Google it).

And then came the Fame phase – where we all thought we could dance, and even if we couldn’t we still dressed head to toe in legwarmers and cut off grey sweatshirts.  I even had a grey ra ra skirt – much in demand in the weekly swap shop of my friends.  Pixie boots, dungarees, pedal pushers, studded belts , those little Princess Diana court shoes with the bows at the back. And the brick sized mobile phones. Remember those?

And then there was the music.  Techno, pop, garage, house, rave.  Frankie Says Relax. And not forgetting the masters of the 80’s -Stock Aitken and Waterman.  On my 20th birthday in a student house in Leamington Spa, we held the mother of all parties where everyone came as a pop star from the SAW pack.  We had Kylies, we had Jasons, we had Bros (both of them), several Rick Astleys, Mel and Kim, the list was endless.  And in each room we had a different sound system going – where the songs were different but the SAW beat was the same...Ah, those were the days…

What goes around comes around.  And I kind of wish I’d held on to all of my gear.  We’ve seen the dungarees, the ra ra skirts, the Pineapple Dance look, the ballet pumps, the luminous oversize T shirts, the remix of the 80’s and 90’s songs, the Human League wedges.  Our phones have gone from enormous to teeny weeny, to gradually getting bigger again.  And the makeup is bright, and getting more Constance Carroll.

And you know, it’s kind of cool.  We are learning new things every day – where my mother struggled to set the VHS, I now struggle with using the telly. I look in envy at the teenagers modelling what I used to wear, but I wouldn’t wear it again – it’s their turn, and their modern twist. 

But I did find one funny thing the other day.  The boys were in the car waiting to go on the school run, and they were pairing my iPhone with the car (don’t ask me how – I’m still in the land where the car mobile had a curly wire and very little reception).  They had found my music selection and were laughing at my dire taste in sounds.  I sat in with them and basically said ‘My car, my rules’ (I know, pathetic really).  And I scrolled through my music library. And I found a tune that I hadn’t listened to in nearly 20 years, since a brief moment in history when I went a bit Rave mad.  It was Shakawkaw (Stretched- EP) by Infected Mushroom.  For those of you who were never infected by the mushrooms, I highly recommend downloading it off iTunes as in its 7mins 24 playtime you are guaranteed to find one bit of it that you enjoy, I promise.  And so I slammed it on, at full volume.

Little Man immediately began to wave his arms around.  He said excitedly ‘This would be brilliant to do a Contemporary dance to!’  Middle Son, who is the DJ in the house and doesn’t like to be usurped in in car entertainment, started to fiddle with the Base and got it really thumping through the car floor.  His face was blank. Eldest Son’s hand was tapping on his knee.  Seven minutes later, as the music died, I turned to my two eldest.


They looked at one another, high fived and then grinned at me.


And Middle Son pressed repeat play for the rest of the journey.

It may only last a couple of days, but for the moment, I’m so Tomorrow…

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