8 Memories of the 80s, a Guest Post by Sarah Lewis, author of The 80’s Annual


Oh my goodness. What a decade the 1980s was for me. I got my degree, got my first teaching job and got married within the first few years of the decade. Consequently I’m thrilled to be returning to that era with Sarah Lewis, author of The 80’s Annual, as she recalls eight outstanding memories for her during that decade.

The 80’s Annual was published in hardback on 1st November 2016 by New Haven and is available for purchase with free worldwide delivery here as well as from other retailers like Amazon and Waterstones.

The 80’s Annual


A full-colour retrospective of the year, with more than a nod to the teenage magazines of the era, The 80’s Annual embodies the excitement felt by the generation who grew up receiving an annual at Christmas.

Featuring celebrity commentary on 80’s popular culture, 20 Question interviews, Top Tens, with contributions from Bruce Foxton, The Selecter, Johnny Hates Jazz, Musical Youth, Londonbeat, Then Jerico, Phil Fearon, Brother Beyond, Modern Romance, John Parr, Paul Hardcastle, Hazell Dean, Steve Blacknell, Garry Bushell, Matthew Rudd and more.

Not forgetting the obligatory cheesy photo story, 80’s fiction, crosswords, puzzles, and quizzes including Lyrically Challenged, Pop Quiz and Which 80’s Group Are You? The 80’s Annual offers the perfect combination of nostalgia and new. A great read for every adult 80’s child.Going back to the 80s has never been so much fun!

8 Memories of The 80s

A Guest Post by Sarah Lewis

When the Eighties began, I was still in single figures. I turned 18 at the beginning of 1989, so I think it’s fair to say that, for me, the decade holds a wealth of memories as diverse as the era itself. Here are eight of my favourites:

The return of space shuttle Columbia

I was ten years old when Columbia, the first space shuttle was launched on 12th April, 1981. When it made its descent two days later, the excitement was palpable. Our headmistress gathered all the pupils into the school hall, where we sat cross-legged on the polished, wooden floor, as the bulky Seventies-style television was wheeled in on its tall frame. We all watched in awe as Columbia landed safely, and made space history.

Swimming whatever the weather

During the early Eighties, my brother and I would go swimming at our local outdoor pool every Wednesday evening. It was fantastic when the sun was shining, but just as much fun when it rained. Once we were in the pool during thunder and lightning! When we had finished swimming, we would run over to the wooden hut at the side of the pool to buy sweet treats like chocolate tools or Texan bars. In the colder weather, we would stand there wrapped in our towels, shivering as we sipped piping hot mugs of Oxo.

Culture Club’s first appearance on Top of The Pops

I had not long started at secondary school when the band made their first appearance on TOTP with Do You Really Want To Hurt Me? I was mesmerised by Boy George from the minute he appeared on my TV screen, and have been a lifelong fan of his since. I can remember going into school the next day, and the first lesson we had was Games. All the conversation in the changing rooms was about that performance, and what gender Boy George was. I got incredibly frustrated with those who were convinced he was a girl. Er … the clue’s in the name!

The recording of Do They Know It’s Christmas

Bob Geldof had moved to my home town a couple of years before Band Aid was formed, and was a familiar face to me. Watching the coverage of the recording, the subsequent fundraising success of the track, and then Live Aid the following summer was like watching a neighbour make history.

Teenage Magazines  

I have always been a prolific reader, and eagerly awaited every issue of magazines such as Smash Hits, Just Seventeen and Jackie. I was thrilled when I had a letter printed in Jackie, and then the magazine published a crossword I had put together. Smash Hits holds a special place in my heart because I had my post printed in their penpal section, during the spring of 1986. I received hundreds of replies from all over the world, some of whom I am still in touch with, and one of which is my son’s godfather!

Getting our first video recorder

For someone who religiously taped the Top 40 off the radio every Sunday, the possibility of recording my favourite television programmes was a dream come true. Then there were the trips to the video shop every Saturday, to choose a tape to hire for the weekend. Having a Betamax recorder, our options weren’t as vast as those who had opted for a VHS model, but I never cared. Even having to adjust the tracking until the half black/half white screen appeared didn’t dull my enjoyment of this technological wonder.

My first road trip

Having passed my test in March 1989, and bought my beloved ‘N’ reg Austin Allegro, I was keen to get lots of miles under my belt. Once we had completed our A levels that summer, my friend Kate and I embarked on a road trip to North Wales. We had an amazing time despite the engine overheating in Wrexham, and blowing an oil seal on the journey home. It took us over nine hours to get back to Kent, and because we hadn’t budgeted for buying so much oil, the last bottle we bought was solely with coppers and five pence pieces!

The fall of the Berlin Wall

I had only been out in the big world of work for a few months when the wall came down on 9th November, 1989. For me, this historical event not only put to an end the Cold War and allayed the fears of nuclear war, which had hung over me during my early teenage years, but it also underlined the personal freedom I felt having recently left school. It was both a tangible and symbolic means of opening up the world and its possibilities.

About Sarah Lewis


Sarah with John Otway and Jona Lewie

Sarah is a self-confessed obsessive of Eighties culture, and a mine of useless trivia on the decade. With an uncanny knack of bumping into celebrities, the ability to recall in startling detail events from over three decades ago (although likely to forget what she ate for breakfast!), and a number of diaries kept during her childhood and teenage years, no one is better placed to bring you a true taste of the Eighties.

Born and raised in The Garden of England, Sarah has lived in Kent all her life. Growing up surrounded by beautiful countryside, but miles from ‘civilisation’, saw her innate interest in music become a lifelong infatuation with radio and vinyl. Entrusted with her parents’ record collection from a young age, she spent hours listening to an eclectic mix of songs from Jim Reeves to The Kinks, Elvis to Sam Cooke, Otis Redding to The Rolling Stones. The latter’s High Tide And Green Grass album remains a firm favourite. At 10 years old, Sarah began her own vinyl collection when she bought her first 7″ single in Woolworths, Adam & The Ants’ Stand & Deliver.

Today, that now sizeable collection continues to grow with both new releases by 80’s artists and old classics, found in charity shops or received as gifts from friends. Played whenever she feels like taking a break from the radio, her “daily default background music”, Sarah believes her fascination with the Eighties has been compounded by years of exposure to its music, including gigs and retro festivals.

You can Follow Sarah on Twitter, visit her website and read her blog. You’ll also find her on Facebook.

7 thoughts on “8 Memories of the 80s, a Guest Post by Sarah Lewis, author of The 80’s Annual

  1. I love this idea and I’m secretly hoping someone will buy me a copy for Christmas. I turned into a teenager in the 80s and out of everything would love to read the photo story to take me back to reading Jackie and Blue Jeans and the like = my Christmas annual was always devoured in a couple of sittings every year!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. markewest says:

    This sounds great, thanks for highlighting it Linda! I loved the 80s (I was 11 in 1980), have very fond memories of it and return to it often in my fiction. I’ll keep a look-out for this!

    Liked by 1 person

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