I often hear people say that the 80’s was a great decade, especially for music, and as much as I’d wish to agree, quite frankly, I was more concerned about keeping ‘hearth and home’ together. It was a decade that I found most occupationally, financially and mentally challenging. I would do anything to ensure that the bills were paid even at the cost to my own happiness. There wasn’t an employer that made me feel comfortable with the possible exception of one. I sold insurance, worked in the offices of a Corby caravan company, struggled as a sales representative for a mobile home outfit, eventually rising to the dizzy heights as a regional sales manager for one of the worlds largest courier companies. From Corby to Wellingborough, from Leicester to Birmingham or London, I’d go anywhere to get a job. What was it Tebbit said? ‘’On your bike’, well, I and many others were doing that long before he even thought to use it for a political headline or two. Yet I always felt as if I ‘didn’t fit in’.
In truth, money was always the motivating factor: it had to be. It seemed to me that people were losing their jobs all over the place due to a massive economic downturn. The pressure seemed to weigh heavy on the 20 to 30 something’s, (no change there then), to maintain a standard of living that would only be achieved through sacrifice and hard work. The miner’s strike had hit the country badly and a job, any job, seemed worth having. I’d tolerated poor salaries, shabby management, sickening nepotism of the highest order, even bullying on occasions just to ensure that the wolves were kept from the door. Then there was redundancy on more than one occasion which only helped compound the levels of anxiety. As a result My Curriculum Vitae became more and more creative in preparation for the inevitable search for that illusive ‘happy place’. I recall spending most of those ten years wracked with angst. Weekends were heaven. Those two days in the desert were an oasis and treated with great respect as one lived each week longing for Friday night to arrive. Then there were the Sunday afternoons with which to cope. The slow slide into depression as Songs of Praise or the Antiques Roadshow would unwittingly remind one that tomorrow was Monday, when the darkness would once again descend. I’m not exaggerating: this is exactly how it felt. I would arrive at this or that place of work pretending to be happy to be there: feigning my best ‘good morning’ face with the hope that it might convince someone. As far as the 80’s was concerned it was a ‘planet’ that I was so anxious and pleased to leave well and truly behind: never to be revisited. As for music, well, of course there were some great sounds to come out of those years, with the possible exception of Culture Club (sorry if you’re a fan).