80’s Nostalgia: Things we’d consider Strange today

Kids today just don’t get it… the 80’s was different!

Looking back, some things would be considered odd if done today. So why not, for nostalgia’s sake, go over some of the stuff I remember… it’s funny, just how much the world has changed in my own lifetime.

Before we start, please subscribe!

Here’s my Top-10, 80’s nostalgia, memories:

1. Boom Boxes (80’s nostalgia)

80's nostalgia: Picture of 80s man with a boom box on shoulder
80’s Boom box. Attribution – Alan Light

Ah, the Classic Boom-Box. In the 80’s, FULL STERIO blaring directly into your ear hole, was the only way a true connoisseur would listen to music. Unlike the miniature iPods of today, you didn’t need space in your pocket or bag, because a Boom-Box sat quite comfortably, on your shoulder.

2. Pizza Hut (80’s nostalgia)

80s Nostalgia Puzza Hut
A Pizza Hut restaurant. Attribution

Pizza Hut was a very different thing in the 1980’s and 90’s… they were like a proper family restaurant. The whole family would go and get served deep-panned pizzas in real, pipping hot, skillets. It was tasty stuff, and smelled awesome too. When we were lucky enough to go ourselves, we had to dress-up. Because it was an event. -Not Church dress-up mind you, but still, not MacDonald’s causals either.

3. Smoking Indoors (80’s nostalgia)

80s Nostalgia Smoking Indoors
Image of woman smoking indoors

All I wanna say on this is, smoking indoors was a normal, everyday, thing. It was a normal thing to walk into a shop, or venue and to be greeted by a wall of smoke. And everything was stained with smoke, cigarette butts were littered all over the place, and Singles were available to purchase from all good corner stores. Even after a delicious meal, one could draw their favourite brand and light up, there and then, in the middle of the restaurant!

4. Phone on the Wall (80’s nostalgia)

Phone Wire Wall
Home phone with wire

Yes, phones used to be attached to wires, and the wires had to be plugged into a socket. That was the entire logic of the world in the 1980’s. How else would you send the voice noises? TV remote controls were kids, sitting on the floor in front of their parents. Don’t ask me how the TV signal worked, because it doesn’t matter… wasn’t reliable anyway, all we watched all day was flickering. All I know is, if you wanted to talk to somebody while not in their presence, you needed to tell them to be next to a phone, which was always attached to a wall, somewhere.

5. Markets & High Streets (80’s nostalgia)

80s Nostalgia Markets and High Streets
Market stalls

I know you can get everything online nowadays, but in the 80’s the Market was the place to go, for food and other items, from all over the world. None tested to local standards, but that’s what made it affordable. Markets were a weekly activity for most families and it was where we always bought fruit and veg. It was the reason we all had Velcro wallets and wore bum-bags/fanny-packs; to keep our money safe when literally stuck in the crowd. The Stall keepers were vibrant and passionate, and cared -even if only trying to “flog” you something. Whereas nowadays, many Sales Assistants get paid a wage and really couldn’t care less about what they sold (I too was once a Sales Assistant, and speak with some authority on the matter).

Related: The Art of becoming a Cynic…

6. Video Shops (Blockbusters)

1980's video store photo
80’s Video Store. Attribution – David Wilson

Renting a video was one of the best things to do in the 1980’s and 90’s. It was wonderful. We would walk around the Video store, musing over some random VHS tape we knew nothing about, just because we liked the photo on the cover, or we liked the Star. Most rentals were just pot-luck (without internet reviews). Sometimes, we’d pay 3.99 for the latest big-budget movie. But either way, 3 things were guaranteed: 1. Somebody would have to work the video-tracker to reduce flickering 2. We’d have to endure the sound of the tape being stretched in the machine, and 3. We’d have to rewind the tape or risk being fined.

7. Flares & Hand-Me-downs

Picture of flares, bell bottoms
A lady in fashionable Flares/Bell Bottoms. Attribution – Mike Powell

I know every generation wears hand-me-downs, but when the decade before your birth was the 1970’s, hand-me-downs take on a whole new meaning. I wore 70’s Flares most of my Primary School days, and it wasn’t fun, or cool.

8. Tape Cassettes (80’s nostalgia)

photo of a cassette tape

I used to record my favourite songs from the radio onto Tape cassette, to later enjoy at my leisure. But recording a song from the radio in the 1980’s meant: 1. Having a tape ready to record in the deck 2. Listening to the radio station until your song was played 3. Holding your fingers over the RECORD/PLAY buttons near the end of each song -because the next song could be yours. And lastly, 4. Hoping the DJ doesn’t mess it all up by chatting over the beginning, or ending, of the song… It took a lot of patience.

9. The Nintendo NES

80s Nostalgia Nintendo NES
Nintendo NES console

I didn’t have a NES because we couldn’t afford one. But some of my friends did… or should I say, some kids in my class who I be-friended, once I realised they had a NES, did! I remember playing Double Dragon at a friend’s house. No longer did I have to imagine my toy soldiers fighting; now a computer could do that for me. It’s a trend which continued for the rest of my life.

10. Your Mum…

A photo of mum holding childs hand

It seems nowadays, people can say whatever they want. And being the grumpy old cynic I am, I’m not a fan. But back in my day, one simple phrase could start something:


I remember, you could push sooo far, and everything would be cool until someone got carried away and said, “Your Mum”.

The inevitable response was, “My mum?, MY MUM? Don’t talk about MY MUM!” as eyes turned red and headwear came off.

“Your Mum”, was the final diss/cuss, but also the greatest response to nearly anything.

And it didn’t matter how good or bad a mother actually was, for her honour to be defended at all costs.

80’s nostalgia Top 10

What else from the 80’s would kids today just not understand? Let me know in the comments below. And, don’t forget to subscribe!

80's nostalgia Kids Today Wont Understand

Copyright: oldcynic.com
Images used byway of review / critic – Further copyright accounted for with images where required

Similar Posts


  1. A-Team! GI Joe! Airwolf! McGyver! High-cut V-shape Bikinis! Puffy hair! 80s Pop music! Action movies with real action stars, not today’s weaklings! Horror movies with real special effects, not some obviously fake CGI blood! Atari 2600 and Commodore 65! Dungeons and Dragons! And people being proud of their country and flag, unlike today…

  2. The 80’s was a glorious time!
    Great pop culture including some of the best movies, music, TV shows, and toys of all time. The 80’s were the birthplace of so many things that have become part in our lives: Personal computers, dial up modems, cell phones, but also a lot other things I remember… Bulletin Board Systems, Emoji (as text), walkman, mix tapes, MTV, handwritten notes, Rubik’s Cube, The Joy of Painting by Bob Ross, arcade games like pac-man. I would like to mention two specific days that live on forever in my memories – The Challenger disaster and the fall of Berlin Wall.

    1. I do remember the Berlin Wall coming down; google says it was on 9th Nov 1989. The 80’s had great innovation, but was also a harsh time to live, as social and global conflicts were the backdrop to real visible pollution from big cars, big business, and hair spray 🙂 .

      Thanks for stopping by

  3. If I could choose any year to be born, it’d have to be 1968. Sadly I was born is 2006. When I read your post, I already knew all of that. It reminded me of how privileged I am to have known about those things. When I was younger, I used to go out and rent movies at the local Family Video store every weekend. Until it was shut down. Currently, I so badly want to feel like it’s the 80s, that I use a 1984 model TV, a rotary phone, cassettes in a Walkman or boom box, and I’m getting a car from the 70s soon. I really only use my smart phone to help with my 80s fashion wear, or to find music.

    1. Wow, that’s commitment. I tried to resist the march forward when Smart-Phones arrived. It was a shock to the system, giving up so much freedom for a little convenience. Well, here we are. The future didn’t turn out as expected, so it’s fun to remember the good things about the past. Thanks for stopping by!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.