Saturday, 29 January 2011

Opening credits - Diff'rent Strokes

I am going away tomorrow for a week so you get two posts in one day.  Lucky you!

What is there to say about Diff'rent Strokes? One of the all-time great theme tunes. It's really all I have to say about it.


St Elmo's Fire

St Elmo's Fire is much more than just one of my favourite films of the 80s, it's one of my favourite films of all time. It would make it in my Top 10. People always think I am joking when I say this but I am completely serious. There is nothing I don't love about St Elmo's Fire.

10 reasons I adore it:
1) The cast. Brat Pack at its finest. Everyone in this is perfect, even Andrew McCarthy who I never had the love for.
2) The just-graduated group of close friends. I used to imagine that is exactly how me and my friends would be. We were, without the lines of coke and bizarre clothes.
3) Andie MacDowall. Now, I can't stand Andie, I think she is a terrible actress and she is wooden as always in this but I don't mind. That's how good this film is.
4) The soundtrack. John Parr never did better.
5) The character of Billy. Oh Rob Lowe, were you ever prettier? I adore him in this: "It ain't a party until something gets broken."
6) "You can have all the Carly Simons"
7) The setting of Georgetown. It's so beautiful. Who wouldn't want to live in DC?
8) Jules and her stepmonster. I think Demi is perfect in this and her clothes and fabulous pink apartment epitomises the 80s.
9) Joel Schumacher - if you've not listened to the director's commentary on the DVD, you are really missing out.
10) How they mange to shoehorn St Elmo's Fire in - not only is it the bar they frequent, it allows Billy to be all wise to Jules when she is having her mini breakdown in a pretty white nightie.

I could give you twenty more: Emilio! Ally Sheedy's lace collars and prim hair! Billy playing the sax in a yellow t-shirt! The love theme! So many quotes! I might have to watch it again now.

I leave you with my favourite quote (although you have to imagine it being said as it makes no sense written down) and the mighty trailer.

"Grandma, grandma, Billy's on the roof!"


Thursday, 27 January 2011

Opening credits - The Fall Guy

I miss proper opening TV credits. The current thing to do is to have a black screen with the title of the show on it or even very short opening credits. Where's the fun in that?

Back in the day, TV opening credits told you a story and none did it better than The Fall Guy. The show was forgettable but this theme and little story isn't.

Marvellous. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 26 January 2011


Wham! Where to start? I've mentioned before about my obsessions. Looking at that picture above, really, how could I have been obsessed with them? Oh but I was. Totally and utterly obsessed and I was ridiculed by some in my family for it. When I am ridiculed for my obsessions, it's always nice to see them come good. Take That for example. People laughed at the time but look at them now. I feel like a mother hen who personally discovered them.

With Wham! I feel I did actually discover them. No, I wasn't in A&R at 12 years old but I remember Wham Rap coming out and instantly loving them. I read about them in Number 1 magazine and of course my beloved Smash Hits and by the time they had their massive hit with Wake Me Up Before You Go Go, I was an old hand at the Wham! love. That sounds vaguely rude.

If we are talking about perfect pop (and I am most of the time) then Wham! really were Perfect Pop. Beautifully crafted 3-4 minute songs that still sound fresh today. George Michael is a genius and still number one on my list for invites to my dream dinner party. At the risk of sounding like a stalker, I just know we'd be best friends. (*ahem*)

There is only really one Wham! song I don't like and that's Freedom. I don't know, it just bores me. But other than that, I can happily listen to them all. I couldn't pick a favourite but if you were about to push me off a tall building and made me say one then I'd plump for Club Tropicana. A song that is so happy, it instantly puts me in a good mood when I hear it. I also have very fond memories of yet another birthday party at 12 years old listening to Young Guns (Go For It) and it has a very special video.

Wham! really were the soundtrack to my teenage years (the early days) and just hearing them transports me straight back to school and intense discussions about Andrew's nose job and whether we wanted to be Shirley or Pepsi. I have one real regret in my life and it's not going to The Final concert at Wembley Stadium. It didn't even cross my mind I could have gone! But I still have my Wham! scrapbook with the full report from Smash Hits...

George's solo career is for another day. I am not going to delve into it here but I will say Faith is a masterpiece.

In the meantime, let's all watch Wake Me Up Before You Go Go and wonder at the neon and cheesy goodness. This is pop at its best. Thank you George (and Andrew in your weird tartan and miming of guitar).

Monday, 24 January 2011

Opening credits - Miami Vice

The first in a series in which I nominate best opening credits of a tv series. First up, Miami Vice.

Watch it here to remind yourself of its genius.

Ah yes, the flamingos, Miami Beach, fast moving shot over water, women in skimpy bikinis, parrots! I think you'd be hard pushed to find credits that so perfectly reflected the gist of the show than Miami Vice. It depicts Miami beautifully; much of the reason for me wanting to visit Miami was based on these credits (I was a bit disappointed to be honest). Helped along by a wonderful Jan Hammer theme. It's superbly and perfectly 80s.

I was never a huge fan of Miami Vice but the credits deserved an award of their own. I give them a 8/10. They lose two points for me bu not showing the stars of the show. Why would you miss an opportunity to show Don Johnson in all his sleazy goodness?

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Dawson's Creek, Part 3

The Guardian has a weekly column called your next box set and it would be remiss of me not to draw your attention to this:

And it gives me an excuse to post a picture of Joshua Jackson.

Gilmore Girls

The Gilmore Girls ran for seven glorious seasons of a full 23-24 episodes per season. That's a lot of girls but fortunately they were witty and funny and set in small town Connecticut. What's not to love?

This weekend I've been having something of a Gilmore Girls retrospective and I've been rewatching the third season. There is one episode that has everything in it I love about this show. The episode is called They Shoot Gilmores Don't They? and it's about a dance marathon like they used to do in the great depression; basically couples dance for 24 hours and the last couple standing wins. There was a wonderful Waltons episode which featured this but we digress.

Lorelei (one of the great TV moms) is looking for a dance partner as she has to beat Kirk, the town oddball who in every single episode has a different job. So they have this rivalry about who will win the dance competition. Lorelei has lined up the new guy in town as he was once in Riverdance (just a hilarious thought) but his wife hears of this and forbids him to enter with Lorelei (who is completely gorgeous - played by Lauren Graham). So she ropes her 17 year old daughter, Rory, into dancing with her. Rory is on the brink of breaking up with her nice guy boyfriend Dean to get together with bad boy Jess. So without running down the whole show, it ends as they are in the final minutes of the 24 hour marathon and Dean tells Rory she is into Jess and stomps off the floor (he'd been standing in while Lorelei gets her shoe fixed). The reason I tell you all this is that it means Kirk wins and as he stated at the top of the show, he does a victory lap to the Rocky theme! This is a show that tells you Kirk will do a victory lap to the Rocky theme if he wins and then goes through with it. And it's wonderful. I admit to being slightly obsessed with the Rocky theme but even if you're not, I defy anyone to not giggle at this.

Gilmore Girls is stuffed full of pop culture references. Another favourite moment is when you see Lane's band do a version of Hollaback Girl with Sebastian Bach from Skid Row. Yes. I didn't just make that sentence up. Sebastian was in the show for a few seasons. It's that kind of show.

One of the many things I love about Gilmore Girls is all the characters, you feel like you are part of Stars Hollow. Babette - the crazy voiced neighbour, Miss Patti - the enormous dance teacher, Sookie - Lorelei's best friend and chef, Luke - the owner of the diner and of course Lorelei's true love but it takes them four seasons to realise it. I could go on and on but I must save a mention for Paris. Paris is one of the greatest characters ever written for television. Played to perfection by Liza Weil, she is an over achiever, needy, desperate for love and horrible yet loveable. Paris gets most of the truly great lines. You can read some here but if you've not watched the show, you may not really quite get it. I also can't mention the great characters and not mention Richard and Emily Gilmore, Lorelei's parents. Stiff and snobby, some of the wonderful moments from this show comes form the Friday night dinners set at their house.

Gilmore Girls has plenty of teen angst love in it to satisfy any inner teenager however it's much more than a teen show. It's just great television and it makes you want to move to small-town America and attend small-town meetings in long scarves and wooly hats while drinking coffee. If you've not watched it, get the box set and curl up under a blanket with a hot chocolate. After all, that's what January is for. I can't find the Kirk victory lap on YouTube or I'd leave you with it. And it won't let me embed Hollaback Girl so you'll have to click here. Enjoy!

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

I could have just done a blog on 80s movies. In fact, this blog is not far away from that. Hell, I could have just done a blog on John Hughes movies and had plenty to say about the matter.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off is the best of the John Hughes films. Yes, I put it above The Breakfast Club. For me, it's the pinnacle of all that Mr Hughes did well; fantastic cast, witty script, an understanding of teenagers without being preachy and over earnest and a Yello song. What more could you possibly ask for? Charlie Sheen you say? You got him. A hilarious array of one-liners, I hear? Yep, got them too. In fact, my sister and I can spend an evening quoting Ferris lines to each other. Frankly I am hard pushed to think of a better way to spend an evening.

So Ferris. John really struck gold with Matthew Broderick who is cocky, yet kind. He plays Ferris to perfection. The film is so beautifully set up. The boredom of school is presented to us (voodoo economics), the sunny outdoors beckons and who wouldn't want to play hooky and go round Chicago with Ferris? You just know that he is going to graduate; anyone who can set up the elaborate scheme at home to convince his parents, and anyone who happens to knock at the door, that he is too ill to get up is clearly a smart cookie. So he deserves his day off.

One of the things I love about this is that the three of them spend their day fruitfully. They do the culture thing at the art museum, they eat at a fine restaurant (sausage king of Chicago!), they go to a baseball game, they visit the top of Sears Tower. If you were going to take a day off, this is how you'd want to spend it. Preferably in a vintage ferrari.

I could go through the whole movie and tell you my favourite bits but it would be the longest post ever as I'd pretty much be quoting the entire film. Instead I shall say that Jennifer Grey is so great in this and has one of the funniest scenes in the film when she returns home and punches Principal Ed in the face and calls the police. I also love Alan Ruck as Cameron, Edie McClurg as Grace and Jeffery Jones as Ed Rooney - I just love the way he answers the phone - "Ed Rooooney!"

Ferris Bueller never overstays its welcome. Every scene is perfect and it even plays the credits at the end as more action unfolds - I do love it when a film does that. In short, it's the perfect film for whatever mood you are in - sad, happy, nostalgic - a viewing is like a tonic.

I leave you with one of my favourite moments. Enjoy!

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Beverly Hills 90210

You can take 90210, yes indeed. You can take it and you can keep it because the original Beverly Hills 90210 was where it's at. This came along at an age where I should have known better but that has never stopped me and never will.

The revamped 90210 sums up everything that is wrong with our perfection obsessed culture. The women are painfully skinny and everyone really is just too glamorous. If you look back at the wonderful early seasons of the original 90210 you can see that they had a cast who did not look perfect. Andrea (despite being 32 and way too old for the part) was normal looking. Brenda had a wonky face (as my brother told me many a time - yes, he watched it too) and Walsh ma and pa did actually look like normal human beings. Even Kelly, who was meant to represent the perfect Californian blonde, had a rabbity look to her.

Oh but it was marvellous. BH90210 tackled issues. A particular favourite was Brenda's lump in her breast. Discovered, dealt with and never mentioned again all in 50 minutes. Shannen was my star of 90210 and Brenda was the best character for my money. The show never quite recovered when she left (although naturally I still watched). I know people hate Ms Doherty but I have a soft spot for her. I didn't think Charmed was quite the same after she left that either. Although kudos to Valerie who had one season of being sassy and fun before they gave her issues too.

And the couple of BH90210 was undoubtedly Brenda and Dylan. A close runner up is the Andrea/Brendan romance that never quite happened. But it was all about the Romeo & Juliet love story of B&D that did it for me. Needless to say I loved Dylan. Luke Perry has done nothing of note since but we'll always have his unfeasibly large forehead and his angsty Dylan McKay.

Hands down most annoying and irritating character - Brendan Walsh. Preachy, smug, boring and somehow a pin-up, I never understood the appeal of him. Second most annoying character - Kelly. Oh my god but she was so annoying and whiney. Therefore Brendan and Kelly together was a snoozefest. Tori Spelling was the freakiest character and her breasts almost had a show of their own in later seasons. She did however have the classic 'Donna Martin Graduates!' storyline. You can buy a t-shirt!

There was an innocence to BH90210 that 90210 simply doesn't have. We worship at the altar of Aaron Spelling television - this was one of his finest hours.

I leave you with the opening credits from seasons 2&3 - the best ones. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Top Gun

The surprise here is that this blog is nearly three weeks old and we've not had a Top Gun post. What kind of perennial teenager am I? Top Gun is another classic 80s movie. Perhaps the classic 80s movie. So packed full of testosterone, fighter planes and some really bad love scenes that it could only be made in the 80s.

If Top Gun is on TV, I have to watch it, it's the law. And my favourite Top Gun viewing was in a hotel room on a business trip where I was bored and fed up and I switched on the TV and there it was. Like an old friend.

This is an almost perfect film. Tom Cruise at his absolute best before we all realised he was a scientologist nutbag. I admit, I had a poster of Tom on my wall (from Just Seventeen naturally) and  a man in uniform is irresistible.  Although of course the lovely one was Goose. Oh Goose. I still well up when he dies. I had a bit of a crush on Goose. Meg Ryan is wonderful in this too: "Take me to bed or lose me forever!" Val Kilmer is perfect. Kelly McGillis isn't. I honestly think she is so miscast and she is my weak link in the film. She simply isn't credible as a love interest to Tom Cruise and I think it's the combination of the crappy hair, the fact I've always believed she is a bit too old and the badly written part (not her fault).

The star of Top Gun is the music. What would 80s films have done without Kenny Loggins? And the theme is sublime. I once went to a body combat work out class and the instructor cooled down to the Top Gun theme. I don't normally smile at gyms but I did on that day, I beamed like an idiot and thought "what would Maverick do?"

So here is the opening credits to one of the great 80s films. Thank you Mr Tony Scott. I will always love you for bringing us this...

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

The Cosby Show

The Cosby Show was a groundbreaking show. It's hard to imagine now but back in the 80s (yes, I know I sound about 85 years old) there weren't many black characters on TV and there certainly weren't many shows (any shows?) where the entire cast was black. Not only black but wealthy, educated and well, like white people.

The Cosby Show aired on Channel 4 and one of the things I loved about Channel 4 in the 80s was it showed so much US comedy. It also showed my much adored Cheers and the wonderful Golden Girls but we will save them for another day.

The Cosby Show was a simple set up. College educated, working couple and their home life with their five children. It was all very cosy and Bill Cosby, I now realise, is very annoying and smug but back then I felt I could just walk into that family and be right at home. They argued like normal people and I always felt a little sorry for Vanessa who wasn't the eldest, wasn't the cute young Rudy (although she did not keep her cuteness once adolescence kicked in), wasn't the beautiful Denise and was slightly awkward. But the scriptwriters knew this and wrote her very well. Theo was a bit dull but as the only boy had to be given tedious storylines. My favourite was Denise as played by Lisa Bonet, one of the most beautiful women in the world. It amused me that none of this so-called family looked vaguely like each other and were varying shades of black but hey, it was the 80s and progress of a sort.

Lisa Bonet went on to marry Lenny Kravitz, a coupling I always felt was perfect in terms of total coolness. She also starred in the spin off show, A Different World. This show was good when Lisa was in it and turned into a very different beast when she left. Early shows also had Marisa Tomei in it who I thought was great at the time and I was most gratified when she won a best supporting actress Oscar. I still think she's a good actress now. Here she is:

I adored The Cosby Show and back then (when it was all trees round here) shows were shown once and if you missed them, you missed them. We didn't have a VCR and so it was a proper event every Sunday night when this was on. 

Finally the mum in The Cosby Show is the sister of Debbie Allen (Lydia from Fame and if you don't know that, go watch it immediately!) I always thought she was a lovely mum. Not as nice as mine but still, a great TV mom.

Friday, 14 January 2011


Dynasty vs Dallas. I loved both but for different reasons. I shall save Dallas for a future date. Dynasty was the glam, old school soap whereas Dallas was down on the farm. The first season was really slow and the producers obviously realised this because they brought in the Best Soap Character Ever In The World, Alexis. Alexis, as played sublimely by Joan Collins, was fantastic. I am fortunate enough to have Season 2 on DVD and watched it recently. What struck me was how timeless Alexis's outfits are. I know we are in an 80s revival but one does not think the same about Krystal's clothes. In fact, one wonders how Linda Evans could bear to wear them. All those long ivory dressing gowns with massive shoulder pads - urgh!

But Alexis was cool. And she was another female character who did things on her own terms. Yes she was a bitch but honestly, wimpy Krystal deserved it. She was so wet and hopeless. Alexis strode around running ColbyCo and giving Blake what for. My abiding memory of Dynasty is Alexis having a massage in her office and somebody striding in to have an argument. They must have done that scene dozens of times. 

My other favourite Dynasty character was Fallon. And I mean the original Pamela Sue-Martin Fallon as Emma Samms was so wrong. Pamela as Fallon was feisty and funny. In fact the original casting was excellent. The incomparable John Forsythe, fresh off Charlie's Angels as Blake Carrington, a truly horrible person by the way, you wonder why any woman would stay with him. John James as Jeff Colby; was there ever a more 80s looking male?

And I was always rather fond of the original Steven before they replaced him with the rubbish one.

Dynasty got really silly and there was no excuse for the spin off The Colbys. But that second season is still a treat. And it is the show that gave us the wonderfully named Dex Dexter.

But this was Joan's show. And how she rocked it. Here's to you Joanie.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Duran Duran

I think Duran Duran were perhaps the most eighties of all the eighties pop groups. Look at John Taylor's highlights up there. At the time, I was never much of a fan because being a pop fan in the 1980s was very tribal and I was in the Wham! tribe. However, they clearly were a great pop band although Simon Le Bon cannot sing for toffee. 

There was a great documentary about the magazine Smash Hits a few years ago (round about the time it closed - a tragedy of our time) and I remember one of the editors commenting that teenage girls used to write in and sign their letters (what we wrote before we had email kids) xxx Le Bon. He then followed it up by saying that there wasn't much to do and he had this wonderful vision of all teenagers in their bedrooms signing their names xxx Le Bon. I am glad to say I never did this but I admire the sentiment!

Everyone I knew fancied John Taylor. I never understood this as I thought Roger Taylor was the cutest one (on the left if you are unfamiliar). A band with three Taylors in it and none of them related? Freaky.

I follow Simon on Twitter and he's a bit of an idiot to be honest. He lives down the road from me. It's typical isn't it? You end up living down the road from the people you were never obsessed with. If it was George Michael, I'd have a restraining order by now. I once saw Yasmin and can report she is annoyingly gorgeous. 

Best Duran Duran lyric: "You're about as easy as a nuclear war." Marvellous. 

My favourite Duran Duran song is Rio and this is because I adore the opening. It's also a video that defines the eighties. Pure pop heaven. Here it is:

Sunday, 9 January 2011

The joys of Bonnie

Try and imagine our world without Bonnie Tyler. If you can quite easily, I suggest you stop reading now.

For the sensible ones left, I think we can all agree, the world would indeed be a poorer place. Bonnie burst into our lives with Total Eclipse Of The Heart. This might actually be my number one desert island song. It's so epic and wonderfully over the top. I don't know anyone who doesn't secretly harbour an affection for it.

It's best sung along to when drunk with a bunch of girlfriends and table to thump. But I have been known to reenact the video after a few too many Chardonnays. I love it.

But we also need to give attention to her other classic, Holding Out For A Hero. While not quite in the class of TEOTH, it's still worthy of many a listen, mainly because of these lyrics:

Where's the street-wise Hercules
To fight the rising odds?
Isn't there a white knight upon a fiery steed?

It makes me chuckle every time. Nobody did a video like our Bonnie. TEOTH has her with dancing boys with literal bright eyes and wearing what look like nappies. HOFAH has her in a white dress on the edge of the Grand Canyon. What a legend she is and how I adore her and her husky voiced, big haired, all-round 80s-ness.

Long live Bonnie. Here is a clip of Cate Blanchett singing along to her, as I think we've all been known to do, in an otherwise forgettable film, Bandits.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

The Kids From Fame

It's impossible for me to exaggerate how much I loved The Kids From Fame. The TV series started in 1982. I was 11 and very impressionable. And already obsessive over what I loved. I'd obsessed over Adam Ant and Abba but nothing could have prepared me for the sheer joy that is TKFF.

I bought all the cassettes, even TKFF Live (from the Royal Albert Hall if I recall). I bought the monthly fanzine, I watched it religiously every week and my best friend and I used to high kick round our respective bedrooms pretending we were Coco. I mean, she was called Coco - such an exotic name!

I never cared much for the film that inspired the TV show. It's a bit dark and depressing to be honest. The show was just sheer joy and innocence and I much preferred Valerie Landsberg to the film's Doris. The first series of this show still stands up to a viewing. I mean, now we're used to the layered irony of Glee and the slickness and budgets that today's television gives us but TKFF, season one, is truly a fun watch. And I still listen to the first album (I draw the line at TKFF Live these days) and consider Starmaker to be a mini masterpiece. But every song on that album is great except for 'It's Gonna Be A Long Night'; I always loathed Lori Singer and she pretty much ruins Footloose for me.

My favourite characters: Doris, Coco, Leroy (RIP Gene Anthony Ray), Sh Sh Sh Shorosky, Bruno (oh my god, have you seen how he looks now?)
Least favourite: Julie, Montgomery, Danny and Lydia. Controversial to not like Lydia but I still maintain that Debbie Allen monopolised too many songs.

A lovely friend bought me the fanzines as a birthday present years ago as I had made a huge mistake of chucking them out. They are totally hilarious. Printed pictures of readers' sketches of Leroy for example. Wonderful. I will treasure them on my deathbed.

And so we come to probably my favourite song - High Fidelity. I have such fond memories of dancing to this at a friend's birthday party with curled hair (my mum did it for me and it involved sitting under a hooded hairdryer for ages) and leg warmers. God, I was so cool.


Friday, 7 January 2011

Hall And Oates

Now, if you were to spend any significant amount of time with me, eventually you would hear me telling you that Hall & Oates are just about the most under-rated acts of the 80s. Since I may not get to meet you all (I know, I am devastated about it too), then I shall have to explain here.

Back in the 80s I always loved Hall & Oates and although there were clearly lots of us who liked them, after all they sold a lot of records, I never feel they inspire retrospective love in the way say Spandau Ballet (a terrible band) or even Haircut 100 do.

I don't understand it. They made some great pop songs. Out of Touch,  She's Gone, Kiss on my List (always thought that was lips not list), I Can't Go For That (No Can Do) and the all-time classic Maneater. I mean, seriously, what's not to love? Perfect pop. And listen to those songs now and they still sound great.

My theory is that the little dark one (Oates I believe) was just not pop material. I mean, he really was very odd looking. And short. But Hall was blonde and blue eyed and not that hard on the eye.

When I got married last year I asked my guests to pick a song they would like played at the disco (and it really was a proper disco with dry ice and everything) and one of them picked this all-time wondrous classic.

My heart sang when I saw her request and although she wasn't someone I knew very well (MrTeen's friend), I just knew she and I would get on famously. And so it came to pass.

Hall & Oates - bringing people together 30 years later. We thank you.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Gossip Girl

Gossip Girl is a prime example of why I will never stop watching teen drama tv. This seemed to burst on the scene a few years ago and it's fantastic. This is a show that does not put a foot wrong. From the glossy, expensive Upper East Side setting to the wonderful, drool-worthy clothes it's superior television that is a guilty pleasure for all ages.

It's really based on the world of Cruel Intentions (another favourite film). Cruel, spoilt bratty rich kids at an exclusive private school all having sex with each other and swanning around looking impossibly glamorous. For me, this show is all about Blair and Chuck. Both horrible characters that you can't help loving. I love Blair. She's just deliciously devious and has a wardrobe to die for. All the media fuss is over Blake Lively but I much prefer Leighton. I always prefer the brunettes!

The Humphreys don't quite work for me. I find Dan insufferable and want to smack Little J. I also loathe Vanessa who is just the lamest character in the show by miles. Lily and Rufus are quite cute though and I think the actress who plays Lily is one of the most beautiful women ever. She used to be in Melrose Place you know but that's a whole other post.

I don't quite have a crush on Chuck as he is too ridiculous but I could have quite a crush on Ed Westwick who I am proud to say is British. Nate is anodyne but I suppose 15 year olds like him.

If you've not watched Gossip Girl, then you are in for such a treat. I can't think of anything more enjoyable than curling up on a cold January Sunday with this boxset and indulging. I might even watch it again myself.

Dawson's Creek, Part 2


Today this site was brought to my attention and James Van Der Beek, I salute you. I had no idea you had such a sense of humour.

If you ever spend a significant amount of time on the internet you will know how legendary the crying gif is.



Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Whitney Houston

As I type this, I am listening to the seminal 'How Will I Know' by the legendary Whitney. A video that almost defines the 80s in its neon glory. This is a song I am almost always in the mood to listen to. How I loved Whitney's first album. I listened to it constantly. I just heard 'Saving All My Love For You' on the radio which inspired this Whitney retrospective and her voice is simply beautiful on that song.

I resent Whitney for all the copycat sub-standard female vocalists that followed her but really, it's not her fault. She had a wonderful voice and manages to make it sound effortless. If you've ever tried to sing along to Whitney on Singstar, you will know that it's actually impossible. I can barely keep up with her, let alone hit any note.

Whitney had it all. Talent, beauty, Dionne Warwick as an aunt and the mighty Aretha as her godmother. It was almost inevitable that she would derail badly. Marrying Bobbie Brown was not her greatest move. While looking for the picture above I Googled her and found a bunch of images that made me feel a little sad. WHY WHITNEY? Didn't you almost have it all?

It's vastly overplayed but I still love 'I Will Always Love You' and I am not ashamed to admit it. The Bodyguard is a great film by the way. Oh yes. Perfect Sunday afternoon fodder under a blanket.

Whitney's glory days are behind her. Her voice isn't what it was and after doing all those drugs, it's hard to imagine how it could be. But I get so emotional just thinking about Whitters and her hugging her aunt in 'The Greatest Love of All'. Oh to have that one moment in time...

Monday, 3 January 2011


Moonlighting is the show that gave us Bruce Willis. You may or may not be grateful for this. I wasn't at the time but have grown to appreciate Brucie, a combination of him marrying Demi Moore, doing Pulp Fiction and losing his hair.

Moonlighting was really not a good show. It was stupid. It does not bear repeated viewings (trust me on this) yet millions watched it weekly. Back in the 80s, there wasn't much to do. We only got Channel 4 in 1982. Four channels. no Sky. No internet. No DVDs. Most of us didn't even have VHS. Sunday and everything was closed. What did we do? We watched TV of course. We watched shows that would simply never get made today.

I remember Moonlighting being much hyped. I'd never heard of Cybil Shepherd and always thought she had a very odd face. Sort of square and strange. And nobody had heard of Bruce Willis. Imagine that?

Anyway, it was watched. And it was pretty bad but what made it good was the chemistry between Cybil and Bruce. It's well known they actually hated each other but it didn't matter at all. Of course the worse thing the show ever did was actually get them together. It was pretty much unwatchable after that. But here is the scene we waited for:

I had the Moonlighting soundtrack. Songs sung by Cybil or Bruce. Wow, I guess I really was a fan. It also is not worth revisiting. Some things are best left in the 80s.

Moonlighting also gave us Mark Harmon. Oh Mark Harmon. A life-long passion began. Or maybe it began before Moonlighting. I don't know if he was in St Elsewhere before or after this. But I do know if he is in something now, I'll watch it. Yes, it's another TV crush!

Dawson's Creek

Ahhhh Dawson's Creek. Not an 80s show but this blog is about more than the 80s. It's about teenage, like, stuff. And some of us never grew out of teen TV shows.

Dawson's Creek came along just when we needed it most. 90210 (the original) was over or at least dying its last breath and we needed some comfort. Some wholesome comfort. 

It succeeded on so many levels. Firstly, the setting. I just loved that small town American setting (see also Gilmore Girls and Friday Night Lights). It had loads of geeky (and not so geeky) film references - after all Dawson was a huge Spielberg fan until Joey and Pacey broke this heart and then he got dark. Well, as dark as this show gets. It had a great cast. If we can all ignore James Van Der Forehead and skip on past to the wondrous Joshua Jackson, the sublime Michelle Williams and the woman who played Grams. Katie Holmes was intensely annoying in this and I could never work out if it was her character or her. Since she then married Tom Cruise, I am going with her.

Dawson's really was the last teen show to be a huge success before everybody was online. It had an innocence to it. Everyone I know seemed to watch it and really, we were all old enough to know better but the drama pulled us back in every week. 

For my money, the third season is the best one. When Joey and Pacey fall in luuuurve. Great TV character crushes of our time: Pacey Witter. He may have been a little pudgy of face but he was so sexy. And when he whispered to Joey at the anti-prom that he remembered everything. Well, we swooned. I feel a little overcome just thinking about it.

Here it is, in case you feel the need to hear it again:

I could have done without Dawson's unbelievably smug and annoying parents. I cheered when the father died. And I don't like that they made Audrey great when she first came in and then a neurotic nightmare. And how on earth could they kill Jen off?

But the first four seasons of Dawson's rocked. I miss it. In an earnest, self-reverential kind of way.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Cagney & Lacey

In these enlightened times, it's easy to forget how sexist the 80s were. I mean, I love Charlie's Angels (strictly 70s really) as much as the next sane person but they weren't exactly gritty were they? And Charlie was always there. And Bos. To save them.

Cagney & Lacey were real women. Cagney and her alcoholic father (oh the tragedy when she turned out to be an alcoholic too), her roll-neck sweaters, her lovers, her out and out ambition and her love of shopping. Apart from the alcoholic father, here was a woman you actually might want to be.

And Lacey. Oh poor Lacey. Living in Queens (I always thought this must be the worst place to live in NYC judging by this show), with Harvey, Harvey Junior and Michael all demanding of her time. Proper blue collar working mom.

But when they got together and worked. It was total magic. The men in this were relegated to being side characters. Like the women have always been. And the two leads were allowed to shine. This was top television. And we haven't even talked about the theme tune yet.

Let's talk about the theme tune. Never ever in the history of television has there been such a great theme tune. Perfection. The little sax opening, the jaunty bit kicks in and you see them busting crime round Manhattan (and jogging and looking in shop windows), the flasher. What does Lacey say to him? I've always wanted to know.

There was the ladies room where they had heart to hearts knowing that nobody would interrupt them as they were the only female cops in the precinct.

It was simply magnificent. The later seasons did get a bit challenging and I never agreed with giving poor Lacey yet another kid to look after. But vintage C&L with all the original cast is my contender for best cop show on TV. Maybe just of the 80s because NYPD Blue was pretty damn good too.

Desperately Seeking Susan

Before we really get going with this, I should fess up and admit I am a total Madonna fan. I mean to a girl growing up in a small village in Essex in the 80s, Madonna was like, totally, MY GODDESS. I more than wanted to be her, I was completely fascinated by her. Look at that photo up there. Obviously it was taken off duty yet she is so working that look. Man how I wanted that jacket. I remember thinking the jacket was waaaay cooler than the boots she swapped them for in the film. I wore lace gloves that summer in an effort to emulate her. Didn't work, I was far too wholesome. Nonetheless, I danced around my bedroom singing along to Like A Virgin innocently and adored her.

Desperately Seeking Susan came out at the height of her Like A Virgin fame. I spent a few weeks in Boston with my dad (who lived just outside Boston) that summer and begged him to take me to see this. Bless him for being such a film fan that he would go see anything. He took me.

I remember it clearly. The fact that I saw this in an American cinema just made it so perfect. The soundtrack was fantastic, poor old Roberta learning to cook to Julia Child (I'd never heard of Julia Child so this film was educational too!), the Manhattan setting (I went to Battery Park years later just so I could see where Susan kisses Jimmy),  the dancing, (I was much more like Gary dancing than Susan when I tried to replicate it in my bedroom), Aidan Quinn! Oh my word, Aidan Quinn. How I loved him. Still do truth be told.

It's actually a really good film. Hey, even my dad liked it! Mistaken identity films - you can't go wrong. This is still Madonna's best movie by a country mile. Why? Because she was clearly just playing herself. A slutty, hip, cool, con woman (loved her trying to escape paying the taxi fare although clearly would never have dared such a trick).

Rosanna Arquette annoyed me slightly in this and as I read interviews with her at the time, she clearly thought she was better than this. Huh? Where are you now Rosanna? Pulp Fiction was 17 years ago love.

But Laurie Metcalf is as wonderful in this as she is in anything (Rosanne, Big Bang Theory) and Mark Blum is excellent too.

But really this movie is all about Madonna. And we salute her. We'll always have this perfect Madonna film. She should have stopped acting here but no, she had to make Shanghai Surprise. Which is weirdly missing from her IMDB profile. I remember it. Anyone else?

Check out this trailer - it's SO weird!

Welcome to The Perennial Teenager

I set up this blog simply to have some fun. Because I am The Perennial Teenager.

My checklist for a case of arrested development:

  • Avidly watch all teen TV series, especially if they are American, even when you know they are not aimed at you. Examples: Beverly Hills 90210, Dawson's Creek, One Tree Hill, Gilmore Girls (although this transcends the teenage demographic), Friday Night Lights (so does this).
  • An ability to quote all John Hughes films 20 years after his hey day. Worryingly, it's nearly 30 years...
  • Consider any film that features dancing as an inspirational storyline to be a must-see and not ironically. Examples: Flashdance, Fame, Coyote Ugly, Save The Last Dance For Me, Burlesque...
  • Still listen to 80s pop music regularly and not just when you are drunk or at an 80s party.
  • Despair that teenagers today have 80s parties and don't really understand it properly. They think it's all just dressing in neon. *sigh*
  • Show an unhealthy interest in boy bands formed today and then tut and say Wham! were the original, the best and George Michael actually wrote the songs you know.
  • Know that if Smash Hits was still being published, you'd buy it.
  • Spend far too much time trying to convince 8-13 year old girls that they need to watch Grease/Top Gun/Dirty Dancing and insist on watching it with them and helpfully answering questions they haven't even asked.

I could go on. But I won't for now. But if you were a teenager in the 80s, join me in sighing nostalgically over the decade that gave us such joy and innocence.

I still can't quite believe George Michael is gay...
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