You’ve probably recently seen the TV advert for Virgin Atlantic, celebrating their 25th year of flying people around the world. Â This advert caught my attention for the sheer number of things lurking in the background that remind me so much of my childhood. Â You can see the video clip at the end of this post, but first here are the things that I spotted and the memories they invoked in me. See if you can see them all, and let me know if I missed anything you remember…
The Miners Strike – Referenced by the headline on The Sun in the advert (It’s the pits! – ho ho) this was when the British coal mining industry was closed down putting thousands out of work. I didn’t really understand all the politics behind it at the time, but I still remember the name Arthur Scargill, who was president of the National Union of Mineworkers. Sadly, the thing I remember most about the Miner’s Strike was that a computer game called Wanted! Monty Mole made the TV news as it was very loosely based around the strike.
Thermos Flasks – Can you still get those old fashioned Thermos flasks, the tall ones with the plastic cup on the top, normally with a tartan design on the body? I remember Mum and Dad always took these filled with tea whenever we went on a long journey. Pity you can’t get the kiddie versions, the Roughneck Flask anymore though.
Massive Mobile Phones – I’ve written about these before, but it makes me laugh every time I see one of those old phones now and compare them to what we have these days.
City Boys in Braces – What was it with this craze. Stock brokers and other city types started wearing braces, normally red ones for some reason. Always reminded me of Cannon and Ball. Rock on Tommy!
Our Price – I had forgotten all about Our Price records, who disappeared from our high streets years ago. I always found the title of the shop a bit misleading though. You assumed our price meant they were cheap, but their price always seemed a bit steep compared to every other shop.
Asteroids – Yeah! One of my favourite old arcade games, and still great fun to play today. The vector graphics really made it stand out from other games of the time, as everything seemed so crisp. Never got on with the hyperspace feature much though…
Wimpy Hamburgers – Ah, Mr. Wimpy. Whatever happened to you, you giant beefburger dressed as a Tower of London Beefeater you? Wimpy was the British answer to McDonalds, and for a time was probably more prolific than the Big McD. Ronald won out in the end, and now the only place you’ll find a Wimpy is at a motorway service station. Great jingle though – Wimpy is the home of the hamburger, we’ve got the greatest burgers under the bun. Yeah, right…
Rubik’s Cube – They really had to put a Rubik’s Cube in there though didn’t they, wouldn’t be eighties enough otherwise.
Handheld Videogames – Before the Gameboy came along and made Nintendo billions, we had to cart around massive blocks of plastic that could only play one, very simple game. Â Still fun though. Â I think the one in the advert was a space invaders clone, but it certainly wasn’t Astro Wars. Â It wasn’t Munchman either, although that was at least yellow like the one in the ad.
Funny though. Â One thing I didn’t really remember was quite how grey the early 1980’s was. Â OK, for the purposes of this advert in order to make the red uniforms stand out more they’ve probably over done this a bit, but now I think about it there probably was a point where muted tones were particularly popular.