We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

“Weren’t the eighties grand? Cash grew on trees or, anyway, coca bushes. The rich roamed the land in vast herds hunted by proud, free tribes of investment brokers who lived a simple life in tune with money. Every wristwatch was a Rolex. Every car was a Mercedes-Benz. A fellow could romance a gal without shrink-wrapping his privates and negotiating the Treaty of Ghent. Communist dictators were losing their jobs, not presidents of America and General Motors. Women wore Adolfo gowns instead of dumpy federal circuit court judge robes. The Malcolm who mattered was Forbes. Bill Clinton was only a microscopic polyp in the colon of national politics, and Hillary was still in flight school, hadn’t even soloed on her broom. What a blast we were having. The suburbs had just discovered Martha Stewart, the cities had just discovered crack. So many parties and none of them Democratic…Back then health care was a tummy tuck, not an inalienable right. If you wanted a better environment, you went to Laura Ashley.”

PJ O’Rourke

41 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Ian B

    For me the 80s is Hawkwind at the Reading Festival, and Cardiacs at the old Marquee Club, goth-psychedelic girls in pretty/plain couples, talking drunkenly to some guy about a support band I’d recently seen who were the worst band in the world, then him revealing that he was the lead singer, a ciggie, clouds of dope smoke, a real glass bottle with beer in it, nannyism only a cloud on the horizon rather than a thunderhead obscuring the sun. Good days. Being young is great.

  • guy herbert

    To have nostalgia you need to have felt at home. I don’t really remember the 80s. I certainly didn’t enjoy them, and wasn’t particularly conscious of anyone else doing so either. They were probably a metropolitan phenomenon.

  • guy herbert

    Ian B,

    Not necessarily.

  • RAB

    You are a right miserable bugger sometimes Guy!

    I was watching the Pop Group, Pigbag, Rip Rig and Panic, Blondie, the Talking Heads.

    Going to Glastonbury, Womad, Reading (fuck no not Reading!)

    Filling my bank account thanks to Maggie pulling back on the joystick of a nose diving economy.

    Lot’s to celebrate.
    And nobody was watching me
    on fuckin CCTV
    whilst I did it.

  • It still is the 80s on my iPod.

  • permanentexpat

    Wikipedia: saudade
    Saudade (singular) or Saudades (plural) (pron. IPA [sÉu’dad(ɨ)] in European Portuguese, [saw’ðaðe] in Galician, and [sau’dadÊ’i] or [sau’dadi] in Brazilian Portuguese) is a Portuguese and Galician word for a feeling of longing for something that one is fond of, which is gone, but might return in a distant future. It often carries a fatalist tone and a repressed knowledge that the object of longing might really never return.

  • For me, the 80s was junior high and high school. Eek.

    Guy: I think people here in the States generally enjoyed the 80s, except possibly for the chattering classes, who despised Reagan.

  • Bod

    It took me that whole decade to deprogram myself from thinking that the best thing Britain could do for me was to Make Everything Alright(TM) and to Take Care Of Me(TM).

    There was that six weeks of existential longing over that bookkeeping trainee in the Treasury Department at Security Pacific Hoare Govett, but October 1987 put a tin hat on that.

    Fortunately, much of the music passed me by and lived on scraps of 70’s material that I hadn’t worn out yet like Yes, Rush, Hawkwind (yes, IanB!) and Steve Hackett.

    Oh, and one thing that’s been bugging me a while – there is no way on this friggin’ earth anyone can call Rush a ‘Libertarian’ band. I’m sure someone here claimed that they were. Nope. I’m not buying. DESPITE 2112 and ‘Something for Nothing’.

    /rant off

  • Vlad the Impala

    For me, it was the 70s; much of it spend in hazy, insalubrious circumstances but all of it a wild joy ride of irresponsibility. Drugs were inexepensive, friends were an elastic band of like minded souls and we all felt expansive and chilled, simultaneously. OK, it was in California, and weather counts but my lord, what a set up for a disgraceful old age. Did the life 2.2 bit for a while, but now am free to return to my roots (and twigs, and leaves). Enjoy. Life’s too short to do otherwise.

  • Letalis Maximus, Esq.

    Graduated high school in 1983, and then went to college on the five year plan, and law school after that. For me, having grown up in a small town in what is now called fly-over country USA, all of the 1980’s were spent in school with very little money and a beat up used car. There was, of course, a lot of cheap booze, a bit of somewhat cheap marijuana, and plenty of mostly free pussy. It was pretty much, with the exception of the idiocy of hitting the underclassmen with paddles, exactly what you see in the movie “Dazed and Confused.” So it wasn’t all bad.

  • Letalis Maximus, Esq.

    Oh…it was also about 1986 or 1987 that I shot my first Kalashnikov rifle (in this case a semi-auto version of the AKM). Never quite got over the fun of that and have a closet full of them, and other political incorrect small arms, today.

  • PSJ

    As a decade, the 80’s were One in A Million. I lived in Paradise City, went dancing with Mr Brownstone and often boarded the Night(t)rain back home. Where I was, we had an Anything Goes attitude, but it did sometimes feel that everyone was Out Ta Get Me. Mrs Thatcher, I still Think About You, you Sweet Child O’Mine, whenever our current Prime Minister does something stupid. It’s So Easy really – all you need is more Patience.

  • cas

    I joined the US Air Force in 1981, somewhat in reaction to the US embassy takeover in Tehran in 1979-1980.
    Spent the 1980’s “fighting the Cold War” in Korea and the UK. But, I also met my wife and we had two daughters during this time, so I definitely came out ahead on that deal! From those of us who still remember the Nuclear Freeze confrontations outside NATO bases occurring on a regular basis, I felt so exhilarated and …well, justified when the Iron Curtain succumbed to rust, and the Berlin Wall fell. And THANK GOD for Maggie Thatcher!

  • thomass

    Posted by Ted Schuerzinger at July 27, 2008 03:49 AM

    “Guy: I think people here in the States generally enjoyed the 80s, except possibly for the chattering classes, who despised Reagan.”

    Yes… and having the chattering classes squirming made it all the more sweet…

  • Sunfish

    Mrs Thatcher, I still Think About You, you Sweet Child O’Mine, whenever our current Prime Minister does something stupid. It’s So Easy really – all you need is more Patience.

    Ah, yes, I used to love her. And then the 90’s came along, and with them, for me, high school, and I spent most of it in The Garden.

    Seriously, though, the 80’s were very mixed for me. On the one hand, the Dead were doing some magical work, Metallica hadn’t learned to suck yet (although the guitarist they kicked out was trying to teach them), Axl Rose could put down a glass pipe long enough to sing, and The Wall came out.

    On the other hand, I discovered both love and drugs, neither of which were kind to me. So I guess it’s a wash.

  • The 80’s roughly corresponded to my twenties, I was in a rock band in NYC, I had the best girlfriend of my life, and drugs and sex were still fun, not dangerous.

    So yeah, greed was good. Glad I grew out of that phase, though. Today I’d rather spend my free time riding motorcycles, fishing for crappie or hunting quail. Much safer.

  • Frank Enstein

    The 80’s were great because it was pre-Clinton. Clinton fucked everything up, mostly though, the ability for politics to be politics. Since the “blue dress”, politics is the business of the smarmy press, not the people, and it sucks.

    Bush has been crucified for 7 years for the sins of Bill Clinton. That sucks too.

  • Letalis Maximus, Esq.

    Fried crappie and quail. There are better things in life.

    But not many.

  • Miles

    The 80s were Pope John Paul II, Pershing II, Beirut, Neutron bombs, Glasnost and perestroika, star wars, Yeltsin, Thatcher, Gdansk, the Faulklands and Exocet, mujahadin, Oliver North and my favorite – 99 Red Balloons

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Great comments. I quite enjoyed the latter part of the 80s – I met my first serious girlfriend, passed my degree at uni, did some nice foreign trips, listened to great music (Stranglers, Joy Division, Clash, The-The, Stevie Ray-Vaughan); Maggie was in No 10, The Gipper was in the White House; Gorby was helping to bring down the Russkies, Ipswich Town FC won the UEFA Cup. Oh happy days.

  • Minekiller

    Like Cas (july 27th) spent my cold war (thus 80s) in the military (British) so did the NI thing, Un with Cyprus and finished off with a flourish by geeting a wild Warrior borne IFV ride into Kuwait.

    Loved the 80s. I came in on the punk wave of the 70s loved all punl, went Blondie, Ramones…’Tones etc..can anyone match them now?

    Rich in the 80s? matter of prespective!

  • Sunfish: Rose and The Wall? OK, I can understand the Rose part (understand, not agree, being female), but The Wall was one of the worst things about the 80ies. I can still hear the children choir demanding to be left alone by the teachers, all over the radio, everywhere, all the time, ad nauseum. To me it was the worst possible end of one of the best things that ever happened in music. They should have quit after Animals.

  • For me the Eighties began when Reagan was inaugurated and the hostages came home. It was the decade of the A Team, Knight Rider, MacGyver, Magnum P.I., Hill Street Blues-so many great shows, and they didn’t have to worry about being politically correct! Music meant early Metallica, Suicidal Tendencies, Black Flag, Motley Crue, also New Order, The Cure, The Smiths and The Replacements. The fall of the Berlin Wall was the perfect way to cap off the decade and it put an end to those nuclear war movies. And lest we forget, it was also the decade when personal computers and what we would later know as the Internet came into being. What can I say; being a geek was fun in those days when a lot of what we take for granted now would have seemed like science fiction.

  • WuzzaKlewlessDem

    No money, an endless and fruitful quest for pussy, Reagan-hating fueled by profound ignorance of basic history marinated in a University stew of moral equvalence & American self-loathing. Sadly, I missed completely the signifigance of the defeat of communism by the century’s greats: Reagan, Thatcher, Friedman, & the Montpelier gang.

    Looks like the same hippies and complainers and misfits and ignoramuses with whom I marched in favor of unilateral nuclear disarmament in the 80s are still around stinkin’ up the joint.

  • Roger Godby

    My ’80s were spent in “flyover country” college towns: junior high, senior high, getting high (a year before ever getting drunk), university. Washing dishes at a country club when the illegal Mexicans first started to arrive, most of them friendly young guys who worked quite hard. Laughing at friends who had to detassel in summer for cash while I worked a non-agonizing part-time job. A used early ’70s British roadster that bled me dry chasing its endless failures and riding a beater motorcycle that, being Japanese, just kept going forever. It was skate punks, leather biker jackets, getting warning from cops who pulled alongside (the passenger side only) while parking with girlfriends in remote areas at night. It was Slayer, New Order, DEVO, Dead Kennedys, S.O.D. and being glad you knew and hung out with a few Deadheads, despite knowing they were doomed to life on welfare, and Vietnamese boatpeople who clued you in on what Communism was really about. Doing whipits (N2O canisters from record stores (initially) then gourmet food shops later, where the woman behind the counter gave you the stinkeye for buying them) while hanging with smart-ass Lefties (easier to bed, more reliable drug supplies, better parties) but enjoying going shooting or cruising in a friend’s hopped up car that could lay serious rubber. Drowning in the endless hatred of Ronnie and Maggie yet somehow remaining afloat by knowing they were in fact mostly correct, but not really understanding why until after a few years in the real world of work.

  • RAB

    Yes Alisa,
    I may need to take Sunfish behind the bike shed
    and explain to him about the incredible naffness of the Wall.

    See Sunfish, the Floyd were supposed to be the British Grateful dead.
    But when whinsome Syd departed with the fairies…
    The architecture students took over.
    For that is what Waters and the others were.

    They built that twee edifice called the wall.

    I saw the Dead 5 times before Jerry croaked.
    The Floyd about 15 now.

    I’d eat a double cheesburger,
    laced with Heroin
    to have Jerry back
    and choogling.

    But the Floyd can fuck right off!
    Shame! I used to really like them too.

    The watershed for me was
    Careful with that Axe Eugine!
    What I had thought Avant garde
    turned out to be just another pop band.

    But I do bear the mark of the Culitist! 😉

  • Sorry RAB, but I am not really a Syd person either (and certainly not a Deadhead). DSotM was good, Animals was better, but WYWH is the masterpiece of all time, up there with the first King Crimson album. I grew up on classical music, and these things made me stop and really listen for the first time since the classics.

    80ies? Was there any music made? (Ducking for cover).

  • Ian B

    The Wall was the album that got me into Floyd, and I’m not ashamed of that 🙂 I got it for christmas, back in the days when an album was an expensive object of desire rather than music becoming a human right, free, disposable and thus devalued. No internet meant limited information; fanzines bought at gigs and going into record shops just to see if a beloved obscure band had brought a new album out yet. The digital age is great, but I can’t help but feel it’s made everything matter so much less. Or maybe I’m just too old, and need to take off the rose tinted spectacles with which I look back into the past.

    I remember rolling a joint and passing it round on the tube once, it was a guard’s carriage and he had a puff too. I don’t think that’d be wise now. I don’t think it was wise then, come to that. Being young is great.

  • The Wall was the album that got me into Floyd

    I thought you were older…:-)

    BTW, am I the only one here that has never done any drugs?

  • John K

    I spent the 80’s being rather worried about getting AIDS, which the government said we all risked. It has something to do with icebergs and John Hurt sounding like the Voice of Doom.

    That experience at least taught me never to believe anything a government spokesman says, which stands me in good stead nowadays, when I assume every single word they say is a lie, including “and” and “the”.

  • Ian B

    I thought you were older…:-)

    I am 21, and have been for the past 22 years 😉

  • bandit

    I saw Less Than Zero on TV about a month ago and was having weird flashbacks.

  • Bandit:

    I saw Less Than Zero too when it last showed up on TV here in the States, but preferred to compare it to a screwball comedy.

  • RAB

    Ah I see why you are not a Deadhead,
    dear lovely clean living lady.
    Drugs were practically oblicatory at a Dead Gig.
    They often lasted six hours.
    The length of a decent acid trip.

    King Crimson eh? Good Choice.

    Yeah you are right Ian B.
    I have about 3 weeks worth of music on the iPod
    but a room full of thousands of LPs.
    The ipod is handy but there is no substance to it as you say.
    The feel even the smell of albums was beautiful and the artwork was often better than the music!
    All gone.
    I used to spend half my life in Selectadisc in Nottingham. I always came out with some obscure little gem that I hadn’t heard of before.

    But you cant browse the net like that.
    You have to know what you want first.
    Shame, but that’s progress.

  • Ian: yes, I have been 30 for god knows how long;-)

  • Sunfish


    I’d eat a double cheesburger,
    laced with Heroin
    to have Jerry back
    and choogling.

    What a sacrifice you’re offering to take for the team, there! I miss him too. The first time I ever snuck out of the house to see a show, they opened with either “Hell in a Bucket” or “Foolish Heart,” I can’t remember which.

    But if I tell you which Floyd album actually got me into them (name rhymed with “Momentary Lapse of Reason”) you’d probably disown me.

  • RAB

    Yes a bit over the top from me there Sunfish.
    But flamboyant language is my forte as you know!

    There was a serious point behind it though, as you will appreciate.

    Twas the cheeseburgers and white powders that done for him.

    I had the privilege of talking to Jerry and Robert Hunter at some of their gigs.

    Jerry was one of the most intellegent and articulate musicians I ever met (and given what I do, have met quite a few)
    Yet he ends up like that! Sad.

    I got into the Floyd right off (but then I’m older than most of you. Ten years and I get a bus pass like Sir Mick!)
    I got 5 quid for writing a piece for a thing called Disc and Music Echo when I was 15, and spent the money on Piper at the Gates of Dawn and the single, Time Seller, by the Spencer Davis Group.
    Piper was without doubt, the weirdest music I had so far heard in my life.
    I was hooked.
    But when the luddite hippie of La Honda bought me Dark side of the Moon for my 21st…

    Well we spent the afternoon on the Trent Embankment playing frisbee and high on mescaline, bought the album in Selectadisc, went home and put it on.

    In our expanded state, the album sounded like Booker T and the MGs.
    What the fuck has happened to all the experimental stuff?
    These are just songs!
    And not funny quirky ones like Syds

    I’ve got a bike
    you can ride it if you like etc

    But dull worthy ponderous ones like the WALL.
    But they sold better than ever, so well done there!

  • Sunfish

    Jerry was one of the most intellegent and articulate musicians I ever met (and given what I do, have met quite a few)
    Yet he ends up like that! Sad.

    We lose Jerry Garcia and keep Dave Mustaine? WTFO?

    Or, as Denis Leary expressed it, “Stevie Ray Vaughn is dead, and we can’t get Jon Bon Jovi into a helicopter?”

    But dull worthy ponderous ones like the WALL.
    But they sold better than ever, so well done there!

    I didn’t think of The Wall as being an album. It was more of a story to me, just set to music.

  • Midwesterner

    Perhaps I was reading in more than was there. Or maybe missing things that were there.

    The line that stamped my ticket on The Wall, was:

    “Hey! Teacher! Leave them kids alone!”

    “We don’t need no education.”

    “Education” clearly meant ‘indoctrination’. as is born out by the next sentence:

    “We don’t need no thought control.”

    No dark sarcasm in the classroom.

    Teacher leave those kids alone.

    Even though I didn’t know the alternatives, I knew I was being force fed doctrine. And in many cases, being fed by people who revelled in the arbitrary exercise of authority.

    When it first came out, it was almost too fresh in mind to listen to.

  • Can we keep Bon Jovi please? He is so cute!

    Mid, I guess I was lucky in that I haven’t experienced much indoctrination at school. Media was always full of it, but not school. As to The Wall, it’s just one example of why art and propaganda don’t mix well, even when it’s propaganda for something with which one agrees. For example, Dylan is a genius when it comes to love songs, but his political songs were crap, musically speaking.

  • RAB

    Oops here I go again!

    Dylan was a brilliant songwriter
    but a lousy singer and musician.

    His music was much better delivered by almost anyone else but him.Especially the Byrds and Hendrix.

    If you want a real class act who could write better lyrics and far better music than Dylan,
    then Joni Mitchell is the one to go for! (I am deadly serious about this!)
    I have seen him half a dozen times too, and he has been desultory insulting crap five times out of six.

    I know what you mean Mid, but if pop music ever changed anything (love it though I do), then Country Joes, Feel like I’m Fixin to die, would have stopped the Vietnam War.
    It didn’t.

    As to Bon Jovi, I’m with Dennis Leary.

    Get on the fuckin chopper!