It has been a while since I caught up on this, and we are in 1985, so I was in the Lower Sixth at school, probably not doing too well on my exams and still spending too much time in detention, or after school club as I used to tell my parents.
The first thing that really jumped out at me when browsing events from the year is how many news items were about travel, and not the sort of way that would make you book holidays. Terrorists at airports, planes and cruise liners being hijacked, mid air explosions, crashes, failed take offs and so on. While there have always been crashes and such it does seem to have been weekly news then, but as the cruise industry has shown us recently, it hasn't totally gone away.
Two major football related tragedies happened in May, on the 11th the fire at Valley Parade in Bradford made many people really start to question stadium safety, the Heysel Disaster where many more died adding to the concern that maybe all wasn't well in the world of football. This at a time when the domestic game was struggling to be on the back pages, clubs were teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, but still some years away from any real action to be taken by either the authorities or the clubs.
In lighter news, New Coke was launched on an unsuspecting and unwilling public and within 3 months it was gone from the shelves and banished to history. As the picture shows the marketing team went all out with a new design there. Although Cherry Coke somehow seems to still exist, so not sure what the fuss was all about - and that in a time before we could have a twitter and Facebook campaign about it. The major news was obviously the one we all talk about still, the first British Glow Worm day. If it ever made it to a second I don't know, even for me that was just one click too far from Wikipedia. News that will also bring back odd memories of those old enough to remember was the 13 yr old Ruth Lawrence getting a degree in maths from Oxford. No idea what she is doing now, but the news at the time was just that little bit too weird.
This was also the year of Live Aid, joint concerts in London and Philadelphia, Phil Collins playing at both concerts and raising £50 million for Ethiopia during the day, with Bob Geldof famously swearing on the BBC. Like many urban legends, he never actually said "Give us your fucking money" but "Fuck the address, let's get the numbers", entering the hall of incorrect quotes along with "Beam me up Scotty". Live aid was not universally welcomed, Frank Zappa said "I think Live Aid was the biggest cocaine money laundering scheme of all time." Many cynics, me included, also noted how much the artists playing made on the back of it, but it was all a long time ago so I won't rake that all up again....
In other music news, Madonna did her first tour, Wham played in China and the issue of playing records backwards leading people to commit suicide began with legal action against Judas Priest. A far wider issue than I realised at the time, but the hysteria whipped up by the PMRC and the religious right in the USA probably gave the bands involved more free advertising than was thought possible. The Pogues, New Order, The Style Council were all gracing my turntable, along with The Dead Kennedys album Frankenchrist, possibly more famous for the poster included in it, google "penis landscape by H R Giger" and you will see why I didn't have that up on my bedroom wall. To be honest I think it was still Debbie Harry and the Why? poster.
Single: Frankie - Sister Sledge
In one of those odd twists of fate the other week on twitter the game of "what was number one the day you were born" was being played out, and one of the people I chat to regularly came up with this as their birthday single. It reminded me of the time, and gate crashing a party at the Vic Club where I live, I can actually picture many of the people there that night, mainly in Fila Tracksuits and Nike trainers..
Produced by Nile Rogers, who seems to have pretty much owned Disco music , this is a tune that will stick in your head for days if you listen to it, which I guess is one definition of a perfect pop song. It is inoffensive enough, but I don't think my life will be adversely affected if I never hear it again.
Album: Born In The USA - Bruce Springsteen
I will admit up front that when this came out I didn't "get it" at all. It was American dull rock music, and as I didn't really pay attention to it I fell into the trap of misunderstanding the title track, so didn't listen to this, or anything by Springsteen for years. It was probably 20 years after this came out that I first met people who loved him and his work, and was only about two years ago that I first bought anything by him and listened to it.
I do still find it too "middle of the road" for me to listen to a lot, and while he does have different phases to his career, I have listened to this three times this week, and can still only really identify about half of the 12 tracks, the rest just don't grab me, much like many people say to me about Johnny Cash or how I used to feel about Neil Young.
Opening with Born In The USA is the mistake for me, it takes you off to soon that the following tracks just don't get much of a chance. The recognisable singles including I'm On Fire and Glory Days are in there somewhere and the penultimate track Dancing In The Dark the video of which made a star of Courtney Cox are probably the best known. Overall though, he just doesn't do it for me. Looking at the preceding and succeeding number one albums in the UK that were Marillion and Dire Straits respectively, it wasn't a great summer!
Come back next time when I will have left school and be turning 18, and so experiencing my first drink...