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The 80s: Big Hair and the Big Suit

Ah, the 80s. Ronald Reagan for the Right and Leather Bars for the Left. Talking Heads fitness videos for everyone else. What was not to like?

Except PC, AIDS, mortgage rates north of 12% and its rollicking sidekick, an inflation calculated to give you a permanent facial twitch.

All that and the rise of the Psycho Killer as cultural icon.


“Hi. I got a tape I wanna play.”


“She’s got it. Yeah, baby, she’s got it.”


“Whoa, you like to think that you’re immune to the stuff, oh yeah….”


“I’m the reason that they don’t smirk, cuz they know I’m the queen of the cool jerk.”


“I walk without a cut through a stained glass wall.”


“If you’re lost you can look–and you will find me.”


“I am the flower. You are the seed. We walked in the garden. We planted a tree.”


“I got a girlfriend with bows in her hair. And nothing is better than that.”


“Thank you. Does anybody have any questions?”

“This ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco,
this ain’t no fooling around
This ain’t no Mudd Club, or C. B. G. B.,
I ain’t got time for that now
Heard about Houston? Heard about Detroit?
Heard about Pittsburgh, P. A.?
You oughta know not to stand by the window
somebody might see you up there
I got some groceries, some peanut butter,
to last a couple of days
But I ain’t got no speakers, ain’t got no
headphones, ain’t got no records to play

Why stay in college? Why go to night school?
Gonna be different this time
Can’t write a letter, can’t send a postcard,
I can’t write nothing at all
This ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco,
this ain’t no fooling around
I’d like to kiss you, I’d love you hold you
I ain’t got no time for that now”

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose….

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • mikeski December 13, 2019, 12:19 PM

    Best concert I’ve ever seen – and I’ve seen a few – was Talking Heads at the Civic Center in Providence, RI in October of 1983. They began the show with Byrne doing “Psycho Killer” solo (as per the above clip) and then progressively added, first the other band members, then the rest of the touring band, building to the crescendo of “Crosseyed & Painless” to cap a straight-up killer show.

    An all-time band at the height of their powers. Unbeatable combo.

    Setlist here.

  • bob sykes December 13, 2019, 1:32 PM

    Mortgage interest hit 21%. People lost their homes. It was a scary Hell. I had a 10% fixed and thanked my lucky stars. Only variable rates were available for years.

    Of course, the 60’s and 70’s had race riots in dozens of cities, hundreds of terrorist bombings, and hundreds of assassinations. Muy fun.

    Now I live in the woods debt free. Please do not come to my door at night. You won’t go home.

  • BillH December 13, 2019, 2:02 PM

    ’80s weren’t all bad. I borrowed against some life insurance @5% and put the loan proceeds into S&L CDs for a couple of years, then cashed out of the S&Ls with enough to repay the loans and then build an 18×36 concrete pool with what was left over. Been enjoying that pool for upwards of 40 years. I knew it was risky, but did it anyway. Five of the six kids were grown and gone, and the sixth was halfway through college, so why not. Cashed in those CDs only a few months before the S&L I was using failed. Lucky. Could have taken a bath.

  • Ga Gator December 13, 2019, 4:39 PM

    Rates were crazy. I bought a tax-free state muni bond paying 13%
    and had a cozy VA mortgage locked in at 8 1/2. Lucky as hell.

  • ghostsniper December 13, 2019, 5:29 PM

    Nancy Wilson
    DAWG!

    A lot of people dig that debt hole then piss and moan when they can’t get a subprime mortgage.
    Without the subprime credit rating the buyer is forced to carry mortgage insurance – a double whammy on that ass pocket. Then they divorce or move every couple years and never get ahead.

  • H December 14, 2019, 4:20 AM

    Yeah, well, that’s all well and good, but I’ll see you all that and raise you one Debbie Harry:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHCdS7O248g

  • ghostsniper December 14, 2019, 6:43 AM

    Compared to Nancy Wilson in those 80’s shots? puh-leeeez….
    Not even close H, not even in the same zip code.
    Besides, Harry’s credited with making the “first” (c)rap song – the one you cited and that stuff will plague us eternally thanks to the massive influx of extreme stupidity now.

  • James ONeil December 14, 2019, 10:22 AM

    80s; that was a good decade for me up here on top of the world.

    I’d just left a position in local government and was working in the oil patch up at Prudhoe Bay, 12 hour work days, week on, week off.

    My commute, from the door of my house here in North Pole, Alaska, to my office on the North Slope, averaged around 147 miles an hour including my drive to the airport, waiting time, flight to the Slope and drive to my office.

    Mortgage rates weren’t a problem for me as I’d paid off my property and, when rebuilding my house after the ’67 flood, I’d pay checked it; when I had a little more cash I did a little more work on it, hence no mortgage payments.

    The inflationary rates kinda of worked out well for me too; I’d built up a fairly substantial reserve in my credit union savings account. I found I could borrow from the credit union, using my savings there as collateral, and the difference twix the interest I earned on the savings, the interest I paid on the loans, the value change of the dollar when paying off the loans gave me a substantial net gain, rather than a loss borrowing that money. Also I’d use the borrowed money to buy stocks and bonds, which didn’t work out badly for me either.

    The week on, week off, work schedule; when I wasn’t on the slope my alternate was there doing the same job (Not as well as I did it, of course, unless you talked to him where you’d hear the opposite, of course. Grin.), except when either of us was on vacation, then someone on our staff would assume our duties. Because we could trade weeks with our alternates I could, for example work my tour plus his, then take my two week vacation and have the two following weeks off while he covered my tour, giving me a month off to travel, or whatever, then coming back to work on our normal schedule.

    Up here on top of the world, for me at least, the eighties were damn good years, hell yes!

  • H December 15, 2019, 8:04 AM

    I loves to hear ya rattle on Ghostie old buddy, but there’s no accounting for taste, yours, mine or others. I know what I like, and offer to allow you the same courtesy. Not that I give a drizzly…….

    Ya follow?