Friday, May 20, 2011

1982: I'm gonna learn how to fly

Who wasn't caught up in the Fame bug of 1982?

If I remember correctly the Fun Boy Three kicked it all off. No, stay with me. With their leisurewear look, string T-shirts and vests and trackie bottoms everyone was looking like they kept fit, even when they did no such thing. Being 17 when they were at the height of their powers, I was doing this too, though to not such great effect despite my best efforts.

But everyone was doing videos that involved aerobics: Girl Crazy by Hot Chocolate, Work That Body by Diana Ross. It was at fever pitch.

 I really noticed this was all the rage when I came up to London to meet my dad who had jetted in to meet me and take me back to Bahrain for the summer, where we lived at the time.

Everywhere you looked, London was like one giant Pineapple dance studio - in the early 80s non-Louis Spence way. So it's fitting that the song I heard everywhere I went was Fame by Irene Cara. People were practically dancing in the streets, or at least, through a 17-year-old who never failed to be wowed by London cool it certainly seemed like it. So I went straight to HMV Oxford Street and bought the record. And I got a nice pair of new tracksuit bottoms too.

The Terry Hall haircut, inspired by a picture in a Bayswater barber's window was however not a success. Passing on the bus, I glimpsed this great but impossible do that I just had to have. So I went in, pointed to the picture and died inside as my lustrous locks were transformed by knife and fork into a pompadour. I wanted the lazy plant pot look, not to look like Liberace. Dad was horrified. It was flat by teatime.

Hearing fame will forever remind of a sunny, vibrant, exciting early-summer London, a place I wanted to be and would be a few years later, though nothing was ever quite as in the moment as it was then.

And this was also the day I met Trio. But that's another story.


  1. I really liked that look. I had loads of pairs of cut-down soft trackies and little marl dresses by 'Vitamin C'. It made everyone look cute and vulnerable, even an odd-shaped bruiser like Terry Hall. It made for a happy summer.

    Can't wait to hear the Trio story...

  2. A - Welcome back/welcome the new you.

    B - I was slightly too young to be bothered by the fashions (and indeed, never really have been by any) but the first Fun Boy 3 album is in my all time top 10.

  3. The "lazy plant pot" look is not a way I've heard TH's FB3 hair described before, but it sums it up fantastically...

  4. We used to sing Fame in the school choir. That certainly took away any postive Irene Cara tracky dacks + legwarmers associations...