“Dress: '80s”. I expect most of you have seen the dreaded phrase on an invite to a party, or a “fun” day at work and, oh, how the heart sinks. You know that you will be expected to turn up in eye-popping neon colours, for some reason leg warmers are virtually compulsory and if you could wear enough face make-up to cover the Berlin wall (as it was then) well, so much the better.
You may try to explain in vain to some of your younger friends or work colleagues, that it wasn’t really like that. You were there and nobody you knew ever wore a pink sparkly spandex boob tube yet alone a gold jump suit. They look at you with a puzzled expression, tutting at your stupidity when you turn up wearing a pair of 501’s with turn ups, a black and white stripped T-Shirt and an anorak.
Well thanks to “A Scene In Between” by Sam Knee, you now have the documentary proof of how it was for you and your pals. This excellent book had my brain swimming a haze of memories of Bristol nights at The Tropic Club, EEC Punk Rock Mountain gigs at The George & Railway, hanging out in Revolver Records and guitar bands, lots and lots of guitar bands.
The book is a fantastic pictorial account of a world that was, thankfully, ignored by the mainstream media. True, some of the bands featured, like The Smiths, The Jesus and Mary Chain and Primal Scream, did go onto to become names that were more widely known. Also true, to a lesser degree, of groups like Orange Juice and My Bloody Valentine. Importantly though in this book people like The Pastels (still an inspirational force today), Talulah Gosh and The Vaselines are just as important. Then there is a host of others like The June Brides, The Shop Assistants, The Flatmates, Marine Girls and many, many more that captured our imagination and helped to frame our thoughts about everything, clothes included.
A wonderful book for those that were there and those that wished they were.