By Anastasia Hancock.
The 80s: the decade that good taste forgot, or a cultural pinnacle in all its fluorescent, decadent, New Romantic glory?
Beloved by achingly cool, laconic Shoreditch hipsters who have embraced the 80s in a wholly ironic clinch, and by cheesy Duran-loving popettes who still bear the vestiges of a lasting bubble perm, this era is also viciously eschewed by the arbiters of tastefulness, the Londoners who believe that Maggie (and her handbags), power suits, Champagne-quaffing pinstripers, and even the Rubik’s cube are dusty relics that should be consigned to a small number of eastern European countries where 80s clubs and restaurants are still de rigueur.
It’s a debate that spans generations, but love or loathe it, the 80s is a decade that refuses to be forgotten. As a child of the 80s myself, my cultural roots lie firmly in the wisdom of She-Ra and Button Moon. I know there is nothing ironic about wearing a side ponytail and scrunch socks. My formative years were spent listening to Now That's What I Call Music! Volume 12 and compiling mix-tapes. I know that not everybody shares my particular predilection for the A-team, Atari and Koosh Balls, so here is a handy guide to everything you need for the perfect 80s night out:
The make-up! The huge hair! Day-Glo Lycra! What’s not to love about the fabulously ridiculous, garish androgyny that was 80s pop stars? Who cares if you didn’t know whether it was a woman or a man? If you sported a flock-of-seagulls haircut and pashed for George Michael, you were there. Which is why I was so delighted that the gloriously cheesy, unashamedly kitsch Maggie’s club in west London recently played host to Mr 80s himself, Adam Ant.Babysham flowing, cheekbones fully striped, it was fair to say that the crowd didn’t exactly share my enthusiasm, and Prince Charming performed to a slightly lacklustre atmosphere, despite kicking off with a tribute to the late great Bolan.
Despite a ‘duet’ with Georgina Baillie (of Sachsgate infamy), the Ant’s iconic crooning fought a losing battle with the braying Chelsea set and he left the stage without a word after just a few old hits.
A lot of Standing, not much Delivering. It was shame, because Maggie’s - that epicentre of 80s London so beloved by the Sloaney Ponies - could have been the perfect foil for the Eighties sensation.
Who could forget their first sip of Babycham? Or the lethal MD 20:20? Thankfully, as consenting adults, our options are no longer restricted to siphoning off the top inch of the sticky, fluff-covered bottles in Dad’s drinks cabinet, resulting in a bewitching concoction of Advocaat, brandy and cooking sherry. All our 80s drinking needs are catered for by London’s barmen.Top Gun’s Goose shakes up cocktails such as ‘Like a Virgin’, ‘Summer of ‘89’ and, of course, mini bottles of Babycham at Maggie’s, but if you’ve already had a few vodka and Um Bongos, Clapham’s infamous Infernos (pictured above) has got bad 80s dance moves written all over it. Speaking of which….
With its very own flashing Rubik’s cube dance floor which was made to showcase the Robot, East London’s Reflex is a haven for Moonwalkers and Running Men alike. But for true gum-popping, roller-skating, retro fun, dig out your ra-ra skirt and skates and roll down to Renaissance Rooms (below) in Vauxhall for more cheesy 80s dancing than you can shake a glo-stick at.