Yes, it is true…. The 1980s was the best decade ever. Don’t agree? Fight me!
Oh, they were happy times, but when I look back at what we had to put up with you can’t help but realise that kids today don’t know how easy they have it nowadays.
We didn’t have the Internet at our disposal to prove somebody wrong about a random fact they said was correct, we believed them! We didn’t have any song or movie we wanted at the touch of a button and we didn’t have a smartphone tracking our every move to keep us safe.
They were good times, but let’s have a look at some of the struggles we faced growing up in the 80s.
10. Your music tapes getting chewed up
Nowadays kids don’t even have any music or videos that they have a physical copy of. They don’t have any media that they can hold in their hands because they don’t need to because of streaming services like Spotify, Netflix and YouTube.
In the 80s we didn’t have an entire music collection of the last sixty years available at our fingertips. You had to go out and actually buy a physical copy of the songs you wanted on music cassette or vinyl (or CD if you were well off!) or record them off the radio.
Music cassettes were probably the best medium to buy as they were small, cheap and you could carry them around easily, but they were so easy to damage.They could easily be chewed up in the cassette player. They hated magnets and faired no better in cold or hot storage!
It was also the same story for our beloved VHS video cassettes too. Our fave copies of Back to the Future could be easily eaten after becoming entangled in the VCR!
9. Recording music off the radio
Speaking of music streaming services… It’s so easy to create your own playlists today with all your favourite music available but back then we had to learn a special skill of reflex radio recording. To get the latests tracks all on one cassette with out having to pay for them we had to record them off the radio from the Top 40 charts shows on Sundays. This required a certain quick skill of stopping and starting a recording to cut off the endless waffling of a cheesy radio DJ at the start and end of tracks. It was a real art.
8. Waiting for Kids TV to start
Again thanks to streaming services and modern digital TV, kids shows are available 24/7, but back in the 80s we had to work around a schedule as there wasn’t as many channels back then. We were lucky to get 6am – 8am and 3pm -5pm on schooldays and a few hours on Saturday and Sunday morning. But on the plus side back then kids TV shows were worth waiting for such as Thundercats and He-Man!
7. Waking miles to get to school
Back before every other car was an SUV or crossover that annoyingly clogs up the roads and is driven by a mum doing the school run, children actually used to walk themselves to school. Nowadays, kids are wrapped in cotton wool and chauffeur driven around like members of the royal family.
6. Having to phone or knock on a door to see if somebody was in
Could you imagine the shock on the faces of your kids today if they had to phone their friends home phone and have to speak to their friends dad or older sister to ask if they were in? We had to do it. We also had to answer the phone without caller display not knowing who was calling. It’s a wonder we survived!
What’s worse is having to go around to your friends house unannounced and knock on their front door to see if they were in only for their parents to answer the door!
5. Game loading times
Unless you had a Nintendo NES then video games on the home computers in the 80s took an absolute an age to load from a cassette and some even had separate cassettes for the music too like Outrun on the ZX Spectrum. Once they had loaded they looked like shit too but back then we were so desperate for video games we’d play anything (Except E.T the video game of course)
4. Kids movies and TV could be scary and sad
You could watch Cartoon Network and Boomerang all day long and not be scared by any of the inoffensive shows that they show. Thirty odd years ago we had quite the different story with scary cartoons and TV shows such as Dungeons & Dragons, Knightmare, The Real Ghostbusters, Under the Mountain and Terrahawks. Along with movies like Return to Oz and Dark Crystal. They were enough to give us nightmares and need therapy when we got older.
If that wasn’t traumatising enough we had to watch Optimus Prime die in Transformers the Movie, Artax the horse give up in the swamp in The Neverending Story and Zammo overdose on heroin in Grange Hill!
3. Our Favourite video cassettes being recorded over
Sometimes your favourite TV and movie recordings could easily be taped over by your siblings and parents. Once they were gone they could be gone forever! So we had to resort to adorning our video cassettes in a faux leather Home Video Library case with our name stuck on the side with individual letter stickers.”Do not tape over.”
2. Missing our Favourite TV show
In today’s technological age we can easily find the show we missed from the other day. Not because it may get repeated again later in the week but because of things like catch up TV, +1 channels and also streaming companies. In the 1980s you had two options. You could stay in and watch the episode or if you were skilled enough to set the VCR to record it. If you didn’t do any of these and you missed an episode of He-Man then that was it. You could never see that episode ever unless they repeated it. Now it’s so easy to download that episode from the many catch up services and also find the whole series on streaming services like Prime or even find it on YouTube.
1. Off the radar
Once you left the house to play out with your friends that was it. You were off the grid! We didn’t have mobile phones or smartwatches so our parents could easily get in contact or even track us!
You could be gone all day and it didn’t matter back then as long as you were back for teatime or when the street lights came on.
Obviously having a mobile to be able to contact your kids can be essential today especially in emergencies as back then we had to rely on public phone boxes and reverse the charges.