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Party like it’s 1989 - A throwback to what was going on the year I was born

“Marty! We have to go back!”

I like reflecting, I like looking back, it reminds me of where I’ve come from to get to where I am now. A bit of nostalgia is good for the soul, but be careful, there is a reason why nostalgia and melancholy are often interchangeable.

Aside from a little wistful reminiscence, a throwback to a particular year can be a great way to source new material to write about. You don’t even have to be interested in the following specifics that I’ll mention, it is just an idea to generate more ideas for writing and topics of interest worth exploring. There is bound to be something from an era or epoch of your life that is noteworthy and could be the subject of your next piece of writing. If I had started my website last year I could have tied in a 30-year anniversary theme to the current post as anniversaries and the like are also great sources for writing material.

Let us begin our trip down memory lane…

You don’t even have to be a history buff like me to understand the significance of the fall of the Berlin Wall had on shaping modern society as we know it. The Wall divided Berlin and more generally East and West Germany, but after half a million people protested for five days, the Wall finally crumbled. Communism was dealt another blow with Romanian dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu, disposed as President, and Japan’s longest serving monarch, Emperor Hirohito, also died in 1989.

The scenes at the fall of the Berlin Wall were historic, but the pro-democracy rallies in China produced an equally iconic image as seen above of a single man defying a line of tanks in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.

1989 also marked the tragedy of the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, in which 96 people were killed (and hundreds more injured) when the crash barriers gave way under the enormous pressure of thousands of fans trying to be rushed in before kick-off.

For us that grew up in the 80’s and 90’s, video gaming was just starting to become a popular mainstream activity, and Nintendo launched its original 8-bit handheld gaming console “Game Boy” in 1989 which went on to sell nearly 120 million units worldwide. See, it wasn’t all doom and gloom.

Enough of the history lesson, let’s move onto entertainment.

In the world of music, Michael Jackson was concluding his “Bad” World Tour (which actually started in late 1987) and picked up the inaugural special achievement award from the American Music Awards. Some notable songs from 1989 include “Another Day in Paradise” by Phil Collins (one of my favourite songs), The B52’s “Love Shack”, “Poison” by rock god Alice Cooper, “If I Could Turn Back Time” by Cher (quite appropriate for this post), Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire” and Tone Loc’s “Wild Thing”.

Moving on to the world of film, “Rain Man” won Best Picture at the Oscars as did Dustin Hoffman win Best Actor for his role in it. “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” was the highest grossing film for 1989 (and one of my favourite movies, just quietly). It also was the year of sequels with the second iterations of Lethal Weapon, Ghostbusters and Back to the Future (also appropriate for this week’s entry) being released. Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” also graced our screens for the first time…man, I’m starting to feel old already haha! It was also the year that Meg Ryan had (or should I say, “faked”) the most amazing experience at a delicatessen with Billy Crystal.

Does anyone remember what sort of cars were fresh off the showroom floor in 1989? Unless you’re a bit of a motoring enthusiast like my good self, probably not. Porsche launched its latest 911 model, the 964, which is still highly sort after today and forms the basis for a small Californian company called “Singer” to beautifully “reimagine” the classic 911 for a cool half million dollars (or more). I’ve contemplated selling limbs and kidneys, but I’m still short of money, absolutely incredible cars they are. From something high end to something more affordable to the working man (or woman), Mazda unleashed the iconic MX-5 two-seater open-top sportscar onto the world. It has since gone on to become the best-selling roadster of all time, thanks largely to its front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout, its great handling, balance and being fun to drive, as well as being small, light and relatively inexpensive compared to other sportscars.

Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R production commenced in August, 1989. Source: Unknown.

To end, I’ll conclude with one of my favourite cars, the Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R. Nissan started production on these in late ’89, and they went on to have huge success in motor racing, both locally in Japan and internationally. Nicknamed “Godzilla”, the giant-killer that was the R32 GT-R was a massive hit in Australia (albeit not without its controversy – see Bathurst 1992) and has remained relatively popular ever since. Prices have skyrocketed in the past 5-10 years so I consider owning one a bit of a lost cause now.

As you can see, merely looking back on the year I was born has provided many potential things with which I could write about in further detail as well as affording me a nice recollection of a time gone by.

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Martyn Foster
Martyn Foster
Jun 11, 2020

Yes, Naomi, certainly a lot of significant moments! Probably shaped my interest in history ;)


Jun 10, 2020

What a great idea to go back to the year of your birth for writing ideas! You certainly had some major historical events in your year.

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