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  • Masquerade
    UPDATE: Brilliant news- the jewel still lives on! Contrary to previous beliefs, it has NOT been dismantled, but is now owned and treasured by an anonymous owner who lives in the Far East, in whose family it has become an heirloom. It went on display at the V&A in 2009, and remains as beautiful as it did over 30 years ago. I'm glad it's got a good home at last.
  • Fall of the Berlin Wall
    Not a lot of people realise that the last leader of the USSR was actually Boris Yeltsin and not Gorby- Gorbachev resigned on Christmas Day '91 (OUR Christmas day that is, not the Russian one) but the Soviet Union wasn't wound up until the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve, meaning that Yeltsin was in power for the last week of it's existence. The fall of the Berlin Wall revealed the one good thing that East Germany gave us- the adorable little Trabant car! Available in either 600 or 800cc versions, they were voted Car Of The Year 1989 and there are still quite a lot of them about in Germany, with a devoted following and a fiercely loyal Owner's Club.
  • Lindisfarne
    Still going strong, I believe- they're best remembered for their 1971 hit 'Lady Elaenor'.
  • Mask
    Yes, I remember this one- Cher played his mother. It's a tragic film, in which the young lad dies eventually of his disability. Made in '85, it was overshadowed by the blockbusters that came out the same year like 'Top Gun' and 'Mad Max:Beyond Thunderdome', but was a better film than either of those. Eric Stoltz played the tragic teenager Rocky Dennis, whose mother is a biker and who is accepted without question by her friends and comrades. It's a bit like a 1980s hippie version of 'The Elephant Man', except that the central character receives far more love and compassion than poor old John Merrick did. The title of the film is NOT to be confused with the stupid Disney CGI movie that came out years later- this is REAL cinematography, not computer-generated rubbish.
  • Rain Man
    A superb film, only saw it a few months ago. Cruise plays ruthless and self-centred classic car dealer Charlie Babbitt, with Gloria Golino as his gentle Hispanic girlfriend. After taking delivery of a consignment of Maserati's that he didn't order and knows he can't sell, the frustrated couple are off for a well-earned weekend break to Palm Springs when Charlie gets a call on his carphone to say that his estranged father has died. Not that he cares much- he's been at loggerheads with his Dad for many years and they hated each other. But nonetheless, out of duty they turn back to attend the funeral. Afterwards, the family solicitor informs Charlie that his father's $3million estate has been bequeathed to an unknown benefactor, whose identity he is not at liberty to reveal. Charlie's own inheritance? His father's collection of prize rose-bushes and his classic 1949 Buick Roadmaster convertible- he doesn't even get the family home!! Charlie is furious, but also mystified- who IS this mysterious other person? Circumstances lead him to the local psychiatric institution, where he discovers to his astonishment dwells an older autistic brother Raymond he never knew he had. Raymond is very much a savant- he can do incredibly complex mathematical equations in his head in a matter of seconds and tell the number of matches in a box at a single glance, but at the same time cannot tell left from right or remember the contents of the many books he has read. Charlie takes the opportunity to make off with Raymond in an attempt to persuade him to make over the inheritance to him- but as the threesome journey across America in the old Buick, a bond of understanding and, eventually, love develops between them that in the end makes Charlie a better person and convinces him that money is by no means the most important thing in life.
  • Whitney Houston
    She made a BIG mistake in marrying Bobby Brown, who shamefully abused her and pushed her into the 'drink & drugs' path. That man has a lot to answer for. I first remember hearing her first UK single 'Saving All My Love For You' on a coach journey back to Birmingham from London in November '85; she was level-pegging with Ruby Turner for a no.1 spot. Personally, I think she'dve been better off trying to cut it as a jazz singer- much nicer world to work in, steady job, and better suited to her voice. May she rest in peace.
  • Queen's Silver Jubilee
    I was in my first year of junior school at the time- we were all given fairly cheap souvenir mugs, can't remember what happened to mine. Like virtually all other streets in the UK, we had a massive street party, complete with children's fancy dress competition and a 'best decorated house' contest, which was won by a showy Welsh neighbour called Vera Thompson who won a carriage clock. My sister & I both entered the fancy dress, me as Spiderman and Sis as 'An English Rose' (strictly a tactical choice, as we're all Welsh!!) Anyway, she won her class and received a prize of a geometry set, which I think she still has- I didn't win anything.... Looking back on it, it was all so utterly crass and escapist, when the entire world was falling to bits and society itself looked set to collapse. Thank GOD for The Sex Pistol's 'God Save The Queen' ("there's no future in England's dreaming!") Punk was just a Godsend antidote to all the Royalist sycophancy- the Pistol's song really reached no.1 in the charts, but was deliberately not registered as such by Radio 1 who said it was no.2, refused to play it, and claimed some Rod Stewart number had the top spot instead.

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