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Jinky Jim asks the question: ‘The 1980s – Were they all that?’

6 months ago

Whether for the old paper magazine or for The Mag website, I have been doing my monthly piece of waffle for over ten years.

For ten years I have never had a problem thinking of something to drone on about, but for the first time, I have really struggled.

What on earth can I say this month that hasn’t been said by better people than me already?

The club is in crisis….again.

The fans are divided….again.

We are all over the media for all the wrong reasons…again.

For those of us of a certain age, it just feels like the 1980s….again.

Yet I have great memories of that decade. What’s going on?

Do the 80s actually stand up to scrutiny?

That decade began for Newcastle fans with NUFC as a second division club going nowhere. We were actually top of the league on New Year’s day 1980 after beating the mackems…but we imploded in typical fashion to finish mid-table nobodies.

Ten years on and we went out of the decade as a second division club going nowhere. On New Year’s day 1990 we were getting stuffed at home 1-4 by wolves. This time we actually improved to finish the season top three, only to then blow it against the mackems on the worst night of my NUFC life.

So I think that sometimes you only remember what you want to remember, therefore for a little light relief from what is going on around us at the minute, I ask you the question…

The 1980s. Were they all that?

Let’s look at these five areas.

The Young Ones

This is the comedy show that broke the mould. Was it an anti-establishment social commentary on Thatcher’s Britain or was it just childish puerile tripe? Looking at it through 60 year old eyes, I guess it’s more of the latter, but the thought of Vivian kicking his own head down the railway line still makes me laugh.

Miami Vice

Did you roll up your jacket sleeves?

Did you wear pastel coloured tshirts?

Did you wear white shoes?

Did you have a Ferrari?

If you answered yes to three of those, then you were a Don Johnson wannabe.

Miami vice was so cool, you had to be a fan to be cool yourself, but watch an episode now and it’s so bloody slow.

Absolutely nothing happens for an hour apart from all the characters staring into the distance before driving off in a super car.

Now 30 years on, it hasn’t aged well.

Weekend Breaks

These days, Millenials take off to London, Dublin or Barcelona for a few days r&r, but what did we do?

Go to Blackpool

If you are over 50 I am virtually certain you will have done the bus to Blackpool to “see the lights”.

No amount of alcohol could dilute the fact that this was a miserable place to visit even in 1985, yet we all did it because frankly there was nowt else you could afford.

Which brings me to the next point.


Premier Inns and Holiday Inns were few and far between in the 80s so when you went to Blackpool, you ended up staying in a hideous b&b.

When you walked into the room, if you were lucky, it would reek of cigarettes. If you were unlucky, it would smell of “lurve”, because getting new sheets rather than those used by the previous occupants seemed to be an optional extra.

These places were truly horribly dire.

My last comparison is for a magazine which came out at the end of the decade. Nothing like it had been seen before and it immediately captured a cult following .

Ladies and gents, I give you the Mag.

Issue 1 – August 1988

Nah, just joking. I’m on about Viz

Fat Slaggs, Sid the Sexist, Johnny Fartpants.

It’s humour was aimed at 13 year olds but for this 27 year old, I loved it.

Has there been a better comic since? Probably not.

So was supporting this club in the 80s any better than it is now?

That is a very subjective question.

For me the answer is yes it was but that is so heavily weighted by me being a young lad back then.

Apart from a few brief Keegan, Beardsley, Waddle years, we were pretty darn mediocre, but the buzz of following the club back then just couldn’t be beaten.

Being one of the 18,000 who stood by the club as we headed for division three was a badge of honour.

Maybe for those who go now, there is still that same mindset .

I guess the question is, whether in thirty years time this generation will look back at the days of Ashley, Love Island and Naked attraction with the same misty eyed affection, as I do for McKeag, Spitting image and and Auf Wiedersehen?

I hope I’m still around to find out.


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