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Songs: The 1980s How It Was

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Everything is dirty
Smoke and litter everywhere
Everything is broken
And no-one has washed their hair
Everybody's either very young
Or really old
Everyone looks poorly
And is wrapped up for the cold

This is the 1980s how it was
But it's not the version we are shown because

History's re-written by the people who did best from it
They reinforce the bits they liked and then erase the rest of it
The clips on my TV
Are not the real 80s

Where are all the sports cars
All the shoulder pads and cash?
Where are Royal Weddings
And the children waving flags?
Where is all the glamour?
Where's Duran Duran?
Where's champagne and leg-warmers
The A-Team, Alf and Wham?

All the decadence and wealth
Must be somewhere else

'Cause History's re-written by the people who did best from it
They reinforce the bits they liked and then erase the rest of it
The features on Buzzfeed
Are not the real 80s

I could not pick up MTV
Or solve the Rubik's cube
I spent my life revising
For exams I'd never use
But the main things I remember
Were being really bored
And knowing I was bound to die
In a nuclear war

That was the 1980s how it was
But it's not the story Tories tell because

History's re-written by the people who did best from it
They reinforce the bits they liked and then erase the rest of it
The pictures that you tweet
Are not the real 80s

Club Tropicana's closed
The Blitz Club's boarded up
They've all gone to the Falklands
With the money and the drugs
And I am left to wonder
As the smell of hair spray fades
What story will the future
One day say about today?


Published by Wipe Out Music Publishing

This was originally written for the Hey Hey 16K show as a reposte to all the radio and TV shows which claimed that the 1980s were an amazing glamorous time of fun and decadence when, of course, they were AWFUL. I don't like it when the media try and reduce an entire decade to fluffy nostalgia by simply listing TV shows... so I wrote a song which in no way tries to have its cake and eat it by doing exactly that!

The first verse is based on the fact that every picture I ever see of life in 1980s paints everything as dreary, broken and dirty. An excellent example of this is the book New England by Chris Porsz, which containes pictures of Peterborough around this time. The book itself is anything BUT dreary, being full of life and interest, but it shows a world where everyone appears to be poorly, underfed, and ground down by life. Also it features places I remember from my childhood and even some kids from my Junior School, so I guess that's a dual cake use scenario too!

This was always a strange one to do in the show. It came right at the start of the story and, whenever we performed it, always felt like it was dragging things down just as they were getting going. However it was pretty much always the song that people identified afterwards, so maybe I just FEAR contemplative songs!

The original version was called 'History's Re-Written' but The Validators suggested changing it as it's a bit close to The Fight For History so Frankie came up with this new title. Works for me!



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