The Message and White Lines

January 29, 2014

Me at my birthday partyI’ll let you in to a little secret. Tara Lara and I are *practically* the same age. So when she asked for this week’s The Gallery post to be about rewinding to the past, I’m guessing that while we grew up in different parts of the country, we were probably dancing to the same tracks at around the same time.

This photo was taken in 1984, at my 17th birthday party (you do the math), which I shared with five boys from a local school we used to hang around with, one of whom was my sister’s boyfriend. We discovered we all had birthdays in the same month and so it made sense to have a joint party, so all our friends could mingle (they went to an all boys’ school, so any opportunity to meet girls was all right with them; me and my sister went to a massive comp.) My dad, bless him, got permission for us to have the party at the local club house, and it was all organised perfectly so that there was no trouble, no drama (unlike a previous house party which was nearly gatecrashed by the entire population of a local pub). Just lots of kids having a good time and dancing to the Grandmasters (Flash and Melle Mel), The Message and White Lines (we would all sing all the words, with the boys all standing round doing that air guitar thing when it said ‘freebase’ – but they were in a band, so at least they knew how to play a guitar); also Jingo by Santana (this was always a big hit, with everyone dancing in rows, even though the lyrics were basically ‘Jingo, jingo ba ba’) and Oops Upside Your Head, when of course we’d all get on the floor in a row. (If anyone knows WHY we used to do that, please shout.) There would definitely have been UB40 and Madness and Wham!, because my sister and our friends saw them live at Wembley; Culture Club (me and my best friend were in the second row for that one) and Spandau (I fainted on the tube home after that gig). And Dexy’s, when my friend and I rushed to the front so we were in touching distance of Kevin Rowland.

The boys all dressed up for the event in waistcoats and bow ties. My dress came from the big Top Shop at Oxford Circus, as did the necklace. I would never dream of wearing that kind of geometric print now, and my eyebrows were definitely unshaped, weren’t they? If only GHDs had been around then, too. And as you can see, I’ve always had a big mouth 😉

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  • Molly January 30, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    The playlist sounds terrible familiar 😉


  • Susan Mann January 30, 2014 at 11:33 am

    I was born in 77 so was a primary school girl in the 80s with my jelly shoes and bags and yes a perm towards the later part. Love this picture x

  • Louise January 29, 2014 at 11:32 am

    love photos from the 1980s – definitely the decade that style forgot lol – happy days! x

  • SaveEveryStep - family stories past and present January 29, 2014 at 9:03 am

    I was 17 in 1984 too, so you had me at the first sentence!

  • Tattie Weasle January 29, 2014 at 8:56 am

    Just a year older but dancing to the same stuff and no I have no idea why we all got on the floor and “rowed” it did seem a good idea at the time though! Do remember shopping at Top Shop Oxford Circus loads of clothes jam packed and far too dark to see properly but so much fun!

  • Mummy Barrow January 29, 2014 at 8:51 am

    Great hair! I am hoping there will be lots more pics of the 80s on the Gallery this week. Maybe “hair” should be the theme next week. White Lines still is a hell of a song!