Opinion: Living life to full during tough times

Geoff Knight
Geoff Knight

We grew up in the 70s and 80s and saw turmoil and unrest, the like of which you may never see.

We had the three-days-a-week strikes, violent picketing, inflation and mass unemployment. We lived with the threat of nuclear war. We saw the spread of AIDS.

We had  many different musical influences including Punk, Glam Rock, Ska, Disco, New Wave and Two-Tone.

We had many different musical influences including Punk, Glam Rock, Ska, Disco, New Wave and Two-Tone.

Thousands of lives were lost in Northern Ireland and England as terrorists bombed and murdered innocent people. Our major cities burned as rioters ran amok.

We had mass unrest and the Poll Tax riots.

We saw British industry decimated and the break-up of whole communities.

We went to war over the Falkland Islands and watched the nightly news as our ships were sank. We had football hooliganism and disasters; hundreds died at Hillsborough, Heysel, Bradford and Ibrox.

What has your generation contributed to culture, music and fashion? We had Glam Rock, Prog Rock, Reggae, Ska, Two-Tone, Punk, Disco, New Wave and the Modern Romantics. We had long hair, short hair, dyed Mohicans, quiffs, perms, mullets and flat-tops.

We wore flares, drainpipes, platform soles, Doc Martins, safety pins, big lapels, mini skirts, maxi skirts, split skirts and ra-ra’s.

We danced, jived, pogoed, head-banged and posed.

We had pubs, dance halls and drink-driving. We had cheap, dangerous cars and thousands died on the roads. We took to the roads on motorbikes at 16 with no training.

We had racism, homophobia and sexism. We saw the evil of apartheid and the Berlin Wall. We marched against the bomb, the National Front or Thatcher. We saw greed and excess in the 80s while millions went jobless.

We lived through the Winter of Discontent when strikes meant the dead couldn’t get buried, rubbish piled up in the streets and the country ground to a halt.

Somehow, we managed without computers, the internet or Facebook. We talked to each other face-to-face and didn’t take offence at every slur. We played out on the streets until dusk. Life wasn’t spoon-fed, we lived it.

So, young people, next time you think your parents are ‘boring’, consider this: is your generation having as much excitement, fun and colour as we had?

If you’re lucky, you might become ‘boring parents’. Until then, remember to live life!