The end of the Vietnam War, the Watergate scandal, the peace movement, the death of Franco, Latin America lived one of its worsts periods with iron military dictatorships, and the strong communist block from the Soviet Union are just a glimpse of a decade full of events and changes: the 70´s. A decade I have my own memories from. Well, just a few because I was very young by then. The predominant colors in the fashion industry were brown, beige, camel and orange, same as furniture. I used to wear corduroy pants, bellbottom pants, turtleneck sweaters, and Lee jeans that I loved and still do. Women dressed with mini skirts, tall boots, platforms, long straight hair, curly hair, long sleeves, large and thick sunglasses, and I remember the men wearing corduroy jackets, mustache, long hair and aviator sunglasses. I really thought that being communist or socialist was about wearing long hair, mustache and a beard.
The 70’s were all about the futuristic design. The furniture was full of geometric figures like a glimpse of the Clock Orange movie. The radio was on the whole day while our nana was doing her job listening to these romantic novels called radio novelas, so depressing, uff! I never understood what the heck did she saw on those voices filled with depression and agony.
Abba, Bonny M, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Who, The Jackson Five, Aerosmith, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Blondie, Saxon, The Bravos, David Bowie, Kiss, Donna Summer, Queen, Deep Purple, Alice Cooper, and The Clash are some of the bands that I would discover through my childhood and adolescence. I remember one summer in Ibiza and this song was one of my favorites by that time.
We used to play on the streets where there was no danger and all that we needed was our imagination. Marbles, hide and seek, adventures, treasure maps, we didn’t wear a helmet when riding a bicycle or skiing, and when we were at home we used to turn the turn-platters on and listen our parents Lp’s and mini Lp’s, especially from mom, thank you mom! We never used seat belts or safety baby chairs and we never needed them; they didn’t exist. My youngest sister Carla was the only one using a baby chair while Patricia and I were rolling all over the back seats because I used to pick on Patricia all the time. There was no airbags on the cars. We fell from the swings, broke some bones, had some fights at school where there was no bullying, respected our teachers and parents, and we never owned a backpack because we used to leave our books in our own school desks.
The bars were filled only with men, and you could smoke in every place like stores, elevators, offices, including hospitals and airplanes. During spring the flowers blossomed, in autumn the leaves fell, it used to snow every winter and nobody panicked when we had 2 meters of snow on the side of the road while my dad was driving to the Pirineos for the weekend. That is what we call seasons. There was no mobile telephones, and somehow for some unexplainable reason everybody used to see everyone more often than now. The television was black and white. I still recall changing the only two channels we had until the year 1990. Yes, until 1990. Our first TV colour had this big red power switcher. What a moment! My mom’s second car was a yellow Seat 127, that’s the one I can remember.
My first memory from the movie theater is when dad took me to watch Superman. That night was magical, all I wanted to do was to be able to fly. When we got out of the theater it was already dark and snowing; a very special occasion for a 5 years old girl. Since then, thanks to my dad, movies like Star Wars, Legend, Labyrinth, Willow, The Princess Bride, Dark Crystal, Aliens, The Goonies, Close Encounters, E.T., Star Treck, Gremlins, The Neverending Story, Indiana Jones, The Beastmaster, Conan the Barbarian, Terminator, Starman, Platoon, Blade Runner and more crossed my pupils leaving perennial traces in my memory. Finding out the true about Santa Klaus and the Magic Kings was kind of painful, but I survived that trauma and kept waiting for Peter Pan fiercely.
We spent almost every summer in Puerto Rico. Our dad used to drive us from Pamplona to the Barajas airport in Madrid. That trip was endless and boring except when dad speed up the car mad like a Miura with an unfortunate driver who I´m sure still remembers and regrets that brief road encounter with my dad looking at him like Robert De Niro in the Godfather while passing him with the car and mom trying to calm him down. I loved when we stopped at a roadside bar with serious, almost angry, elegant waiters, where I eat lots of Donuts and vomited them later on the road. A pattern that I used to repeat on and on every time I put my feet on a car, vomiting of couse. I was glad we never saw an unfortunate driver on those roadside bars. Dad dropped us at Barajas, drove back to Pamplona and flew to Puerto Rico a couple of weeks later. The DC 10 we used to fly in was filled with empty racks of seats for us where we slept the whole flight while adults were smoking all over the plane. What a relieve! Especially for my mom traveling with two small girls and a baby. Summers in Puerto Rico were just perfect in terms of watching television. I remember being very anxious about The Beatles, I couldn’t wait to see one of my favorites bands since I remember. I was crazy about their songs, and George Harrison and Ringo Starr. I wanted to look like Charlie’s Angels, be a super hero like Wonder Woman and Batman & Robin, loved the house from Monsters Family, wanted a dog like Rintintin, to drive a big robot like Mazinger Z, and I never got tired of the Batman & Robin theme song.
On 1 August 1981 Video Killed the Radio Star and MTV became my favorite TV channel that I could only watch when I travel to Puerto Rico of course. Atari came to our lives early in the 80’s captivating us with this yellow dot eating cookies and running away from ghosts over the screen. Pac-Man was one of the icons of the 80’s, and since then Arcade games invaded every home but ours, now I thank dad for hating those “machines” like he calls them. So I devoured books instead and didn’t alienate myself from society. But I kept loving Atari and played it when I visited my friend´s homes. Pac-Man and Space Invaders were my favorite games. Although I think was mom who dared to introduce home a mini Nintendo thinking that the damage was going to be proportional to its small size resulting in the opposite and ending driving dad mad for a while! We watched Mario’s evolution from the day he was born. In 1981 Donkey Kong appeared and Mario debuted as “Jumpman” on this arcade game. With time Mario learned from jumping to throw vitamins, driving, playing golf, tennis, he even has his own movie, TV series, guest appearances in other games and more powers!
I only could eat Doritos while I was in USA, and Spain had to wait more years to enjoy the delicious Oreo Cookies, Chips Ahoy, Doritos, Corn Flakes and other products like these. The anarchy symbol, the 卐, and Che Guevara, I ♥ NY were all over the place by that time on stickers, t-shirts, hats, walls, and jackets. I really thought that El Che was a rock singer or something like that. Terrorism was part of our everyday lives and Russia and USA seemed to have an endless cold war. The furniture changed, decorating trends went from pink, salmon, to peach, and don’t forget the annoying popcorn ceiling. In North America neon was the coolest thing, bad lighting, fluffy carpets, big pillows, animal prints, black and white, leather, and mirrors all over the place.
Teenage and “B horror” movies invaded the theaters and our VHS like Pretty in Pink, The Breakfast Club, Teenage Wolf, Poltergeist, An American Wolf in London, Daemons, Lucas, Mannequin, The Karate Kid, American Graffitti, War Games, Working Girl, Blue Lagoon, Cocktail, Ghostbusters, The Fly, Top Gun, Rocky, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, 16 Candles, Splash, Heathers, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday 13, Halloween, The Shining, Terminator, The Lost Boys, were some of the movies that I love to watch still. Movies like “Drugstore Cowboy” and “Christiane F.” were the ones chosen by our parents to prevent us from drugs and the word ecstasy had no longer a religious meaning.
Friendships were great. We used to be a group of girls and boys. Friendships between opposite sexes existed and you could be friends with someone with a girlfriend (that is going to another post), and the opposite, not like today in some countries where girls seemed to be really scared of single girls. But music is what I remember the most. Everything was around music. We used to go to La Boîte or Discos and dance. The 80’s was an explosion of urban tribes that were scattered around Europe, rockers, punk, gothic, skin heads, hippies, mods, punk rocker, metal, glam, pop, the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s influence was still very palpable. U2, Duran Duran, Queen, Softcell, Skid Row, Sex Pistols, Ultravox, A-ha, Talking Heads, Depeche Mode, Madonna, The Smiths, The Pixies, The Ramones, Iron Maiden, Motley Crue, AC DC, Metallica, Visage, Europe, Slayer, Spandau Ballet, Guns n’ Roses, Nena, Billy Idol, Michael Jackson, New Order, Scorpions, Cindy Lauper, Tears for Fears, Human League, Adam and the Ants, Bon Jovi, John Lennon, Madness, The Cure, Paralisis Permanente, Radio Futura, Loquillo y los Trogloditas, Nacha Pop “La Movida Madrileña” and an endless list that goes on and on represented this generation. My school books were filled with drawings of rock bands, and you couldn’t tell my bedroom wall colours filled with posters. There was no problem recording from vinyl to cassette and sharing all the music we could. My first car was invaded with cassettes, there was no turn-platters on cars, and we didn´t have Compact Disc! I never understand the Napster problem until years later though. Store records, an extinguished specie, were a great place to spend time with your friends while listening new singles
The black colour had an important role in fashion thanks to Robert Smith and more artists like him. Spike hair, leather, gothic shirts, painted eyes, leggings, glam rock, cut jeans, skinny jeans, leather jackets, we used to walk like Egyptians, fight for our right to party, got footloose, dressed in pink, headed to Venus, it didn’t make a difference if we made it or not because we lived on a prayer, run to the hills while shout and let it all out, be like a virgin while floating 99 red balloons in the summer sky, be hungry like a wolf, hear the door slam and realize there’s nowhere left to run and our house was in the middle of our street.
I was in New Jersey when I saw the first video of Guns N’ Roses, Sweet Child of Mine, and it impressed me. I loved it. What a nice feeling to discover a new band with a whole new sound, different riffs and a great voice. Then I listened Welcome to the Jungle and I was flipping out even more. Years later Nirvana did the same effect on me. Nirvana blew up my mind with their first single Smells Like Teen Spirit. I watched their video in awe and it was amazing, like from another planet literally. The guitar riffs were from another galaxy, the song, the melody, everything had a new sound so raw and unknown that captivated me since the first time I saw them. I remember being on my boyfriend’s house watching MTV when the video popped out. Nirvana made a huge impact in the fashion as well because since that moment, everyone started to wear a pair of used jeans, an old T-shirt, ski hat, and the hair was left just like when you wake up while the attitude was more passive and apathetic than ever. All the glam and picturesque Baroque eccentric era that we were used to be was vanished with these lyrics “I’m worse at what I do best, and for this gift I feel blessed…” and since then the history of music changed forever.
What about today? Comparing those last decades with this new millennium I see an amalgam of frenziness and crazy people trying to impress the public mixing all the tendencies, wearing ugly dresses and horrible hair styles making me think that you don’t have to be good on your job but to wear impossible clothes and to do stupid things in order to be famous or make money. I see one of my favorite’s bands, The Ramones, logo’s spreaded all over the world stamped on T-shirts like another regular design when a lot of kids don’t know who they were? Come on!
Everyday you hear or read somewhere this overrated sentence “the 80’s are back, or grey is the new black” and the list of nonsense goes on and on because people don’t have anything new to create so they have to go back in time and try to transform and mix tendencies to achieve something “new and original” accompanied of the overrated sentence of course. Ladies, gentlemen, black is black, and white in a bottle: milk.
Sometimes I have the feeling that these new times lack of personality, or maybe this forced Renaissance is the new tendency and people from the 70’s, like some of us, well, we just miss those times. From bellbottoms pants to leggings, skinny jeans, Franco’s death, the Spanish Transition, terrorism, Cold War, Pluto used to be a planet, Sesame Street, the fall of the Berlin wall, Jaws, Chernobyl, the Gulf War, 3 Popes, IBM, Internet, Mobile Telephones, CD, global warming, Laptops, AIDS, ICQ, Napster, VHS, DVD, etc. we grew up during those decades full with personality that today are influencing still. The Cola war was on fire during the 80’s, and what a better way to end this post with this Coca Cola ad that represents our generation perfectly. I´m sorry Pepsi, although I love your logo, I like Coca Cola more.