Sunday, May 3, 2009

Audrey's 80s Party

Well, it has been a week now since my lovely wife's 80s-themed 40th birthday party, and I miss it terribly. First of all, not everyone who wanted to come could make it due to limitations of time or geography, but most importantly, everyone who did make it seemed to have a great time.

Many of those in attendance appeared in period dress, which lent an even greater air of festivity to the occasion. I think Best Effort has to go to Heather Pitts, who jokingly told her hairdresser, "I'm going to an 80s party, d'you want to, like, crimp my hair?" The stylist thereupon, by all accounts, lost her mind, and Heather ended up with a 'propah' high 80s 'do, complete with color and yes, glitter. And to those who might think her husband Jeff is opting out, it is true that for much of the 80s he did in fact look just like this.

My sister turned out to be the driving force behind a lot of what made the party a success. First of all, she and my wife spent the better part of two days (in 1-2 hour increments) scouring Value Village for vintage items, which was neat because since I don't play the VLTs, the sensation of going broke $5 at a time was a new experience for me. But there is no arguing with the results, as you can see. She also managed to obtain something like 300 80s videos on 2 DVDs from a friend of hers, which really helped set the mood for the party. And the best part was not all the great videos that you remember from the time, it's the one-hit wonders and obscurities that you've practically forgotten about. (Donnie Iris anyone? How about Peter Schilling, whose 'Major Tom (Coming Home)' has been recently covered and featured in a freakin' Oldsmobile ad?) I am glad to discover that my dislike of Culture Club was not, in fact, thinly veiled homophobia, but a genuine distaste for their music, but watching Doug and the Slugs was a little bittersweet, given the circumstances of his death just a few years back.

Veronica was most successful at nailing the 'off the shoulder' look so prevalent at the time, while the highlight of her husband Brian's ensemble was the Edmonton Oilers Stanley Cup Champions shirt with a mere FOUR cups on it! I forget how long he had been waiting for the opportunity for this garment to show its worth, but I am certainly glad he did, and happy to aid in his validation; a glorious day for male packrats everywhere.

I have to say, though, for the y-chromosone set, the high water mark was unquestionably set by Pete, who not only rocked the Don Johnson look with stubble, aviator shades, no socks and a snappy sport coat, but a current issue (!) pink sport shirt and skinny white leather tie. Damned hard act to follow, so I am glad I didn't try too hard... It is also worth mentioning that Pete did his best to keep his drinking themed up with the Bartender's Root Beer he mixed up for many of us. That said, it was good not to mention it too loudly the following morning. (Forget the hooch, ain't none of us old-timers can process all that sugar the way we once did!)

Even our girls got a chance to get into it, and I think they did pretty well, especially considering that they have never even seen a John Hughes movie. Just think, if this party was even a couple of years later, we'd probably be getting mercilessly mocked by a tweenaged Fenya (doubtlessly cheered on by some West Coaster who will remain nameless) on her own blog...nah, probably not, actually. At any rate, Fenya spent most of the evening hanging around listening to the adults reminisce and checking out the music videos, which left me scrambling for the remote at one point as I had no idea which version of the video for 'Girls On Film' by Duran Duran was beginning to play, and that video was responsible for the spontaneous commencement of my puberty when I first saw it at age 14. (


Huh? Oh, sorry, went somewhere else for a moment there... The party! Yes, a great time. And there was cake. And after the cake we played a guys versus gals round of Totally 80s Trivial Pursuit, which I cannot recommend highly enough. Perhaps this is because it was one of the most highly contested and competitive games of TP I have ever played, with both teams having all 6 pies and criss-crossing the center of the board several times before Jeff won it for the dudes with an NFL question. (Big shout out to Brian for keeping us in the game with "Hurricane" Helen Kelesi for the sports pie though!) But while winning is always nice, the goodly amount of Canadian content (especially for a game invented in Canada) (in the 80s, no less...dang this theme is strong, huh?)makes it a winner, as do the tubular colours and graphics and themed playing pieces of a Care Bear, CD, microcomputer and Mead Trapper Keeper binder (!).

Cake, games, drinks, fashions, videos; all great, but what makes it a party are the friends who come, and Audrey and I are fully aware of how lucky we are in this regard. Thanks to everyone who came, I think you can count on revisiting the 80s again at some point in the future!


  1. Sylvia and I are even sorrier we missed this. Pete and Heather's outfits are awesome!

  2. Wow, what a great party! Thanks for all the pictures and a quick walk down memory lane. Sorry we missed it!

  3. Kel & I wish we could've been there. Kelly because she's a good person and loves you guys. Me because I wanted an excuse to go buy an Iron Maiden t-shirt. west-coast-he-who-must-not-be-named

  4. I totally thought that was how Pete was going to play it, right down to the Maiden t-shirt. He said something about his current haircut not matching. Plus, many of us still dress exactly like that on the weekends, so it is hardly distinct. If you had retrieved the "Number of the Beast" shirt I remember from LCHS though...

  5. best..sniff..damn..sniff...t-shirt...sniff..EVER! Waaaaahhhhhhh.