Saturday, 7 December 2013

Adam and the Ants - Stand and Deliver (May 1981)

My parents were very nice people. I feel I have to start by saying that as they had my best interests at heart. Maybe because they were elderly parents and I was an only child, they wanted to keep me extra safe. My mother was particularly concerned about the cinema and wouldn't let me go with my friends due to the "men in rain coats". I just thought she was being ridiculous and just didn't want me to have any fun like everyone else. However, I told this story to my friend's mum last year and she said "Yes there were dirty old men in raincoats." One time she had gone to a matinée and had to leave as a man had made her feel so uncomfortable. Later that evening she spotted there was an organ recital at St. Mark's Church so decided to go to it. Would you believe, the same dirty old man in his gabardine raincoat was in the back pew. So maybe my mother had a point. 

I can blame the men in macintoshes for missing one of the great cultural moments of the early 80's. One Monday at school everyone (well it felt like it) was talking about "The Blue Lagoon" a film that they had all been to see at the Odeon Cinema (which tantalisingly was only 200 yards from my front door). This film had its US release in 1980 so unless someone can correct me I'm guessing that it made it to Jersey sometime in the next 12 months. 

If you have not seen the film (and I still haven't) it's the story of two children who find themselves marooned on a tropical island, as they become teenagers they develop "feelings" for each other and without society dictating what they should or should not do, their relationship "develops". This film was obviously very pertinent to our lives so it was a topic of great interest to be discussed at break-time and lunch-time. 

Brooke Shields was only 14 years of age when she starred in this film which led to a Congressional Enquiry in which she testified that a body double was used in some scenes and in others her hair was glued to her breasts. I cannot remember at the time, anyone making an issue about the appropriateness of a 14 year old girl starring in this sort of film.

A lot was happening in 1981. As if the "Blue Lagoon" wasn't exciting enough, unbelievably "Stand and Deliver" by Adam and the Ants made it to No. 1 in the UK charts on May 9th 1981 and stayed there for five weeks and then whilst it was No. 1, the band came to Jersey and according to this site they performed at Fort Regent on June 6th 1981. I solved the problem of not being disappointed by the inevitable rejection by simply not bothering to even ask my parents if I could go.

To get the "look" required a visit to "Unit One" in town where you could buy faux-leather skintight trousers and frilly white shirts. I was happy just to practice making two red stripes and a white stripe across my nose using my mother's makeup (obviously she didn't have white so I used her cream pan-stick) so I could look like a man wearing make-up. 

However, I persuaded my mum to let me go to "Rock Island" and for the first time I was able to fit in. I bought a white T-shirt, a pair of skin tight sarsparilla jeans and a navy blue tank top. I could not have been happier, no more home-made dirndl skirt with matching bolero for me. However, I still had to finish the outfit off with my sensible Start-rite shoes from Béghins shoes. 

Most girls wore shoes from "Freeman Hardy and Willis". These shoes had heels and whilst I secretly wished I could own a pair, believing them to be a secret pass to the cool club,  I was also glad my mum was strict about high heels as I did not want bunions like hers when I grew up.

So 1981 can be summed up by two things I didn't see. What I was doing was practising my flute a lot which meant that at the age of 14 I was able to get my grade 8 with distinction and that set me up for my future.

When I was in my twenties I challenged my Dad on their parenting and he got quite upset. He said "Give over, I did my best". I've always regretted that conversation as I had genuinely upset him. As a parent of a 9 and 12 year old I can understand why my parents did not want me to see the film or let me go out at night, although at the time I resented it, leading me to become sullen and withdraw from them. As a parent you can only do your best. 

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