Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Incredible Hair of the 80s

There's only one thing I miss about the 80s: no, not the pegged pants, not the clear-soled, multi-colored oxfords, not years of temp work or even the cocaine. It's the impossible hair that defied gravity; the more damaged the better.

We discussed our hair-care secrets throughout the 80s and we discussed them often: over dinner, on first dates, passing by one another on the street. Some of us cut our hair by hanging upside down over a garbage can. Others just kept bleaching until it stuck out from the skull quite naturally. Some kept using multi-colored dyes until their hair resembled half a box of crayons.

What were we driving at with this condominium-shaped hair? There was a recession then too. Jobs were available but they were shitty, low-paying jobs that led not to advancement, but to storage closets and drawers over-stuffed with forgotten files. We found ourselves mopping up bakeries after-hours, cleaning vomit in a bathroom at the Fillmore during a Cramps show, temping at dozens of law firms for eight dollars an hour. We didn't question this for about a decade. Then some of us went to law school. Those were desperate times.

Only our hair was free. Free to freak out the squares, defy all laws of physics and make us laugh. To create a new world of hair possibilities. I say: bring back the ginormous hair of yesteryear, and not a moment too soon! Some inspiration:

Kajagoogoo - Too Shy, live in Japan. In San Francisco, the Richmond District's Clement Street was home to two new-wave shops where neon-hued underwear, army rucksacks and bright red, very pointy-toed boots could be had for cheap. One store featured HUGE, I mean HUGE posters of Kajagoogoo all over the periphery of its walls. I didn't know what Kajagoogoo was (I had to boycott commercial radio for a while during the synth-pop years to preserve my sanity), but I was mesmerized by these guys. See if you are too.

Howard Jones - Things Can Only Get Better. Howard Jones wrote some catchy mofo shit. And as his success grew, his hair could only get bigger.

Thompson Twins - Doctor Doctor. I hated the Thompson Twins on sight. They were uber-serious and too poppy for my blood, but to this day, very memorable hair. And with time comes appreciation, for the hair.

Kid 'N Play - Rollin' with Kid 'N Play. No 80s hair post would be complete without Kid from Kid 'N Play. He committed to the concept of high-top hair on a admirable level. Hat's off to you, Kid.

Siouxsie and the Banshees - The Passenger. So punk-chic, they were intimidating, Siouxsie and the Banshees created a little world of dark pop stylings. I like Siouxsie's short hair here. I had a few similar-lengthed haircuts over the years but I could never get mine to stick up like this. My hair has its own ideas about what it's going to do on a daily basis and I gave in to its whims well before the 80s even hit the scene.

Cocteau Twins - Pink Orange Red. So sensitive, lovely, original and...hairy. Singer Liz Fraser made up her own language, and they played along to a reel-to-reel recorder, but they were slaves to the whims of hair fashion just the same.

1 comment:

mamiel said...

Kid's hair reminds me a little bit of Eraserhead.

We took hair so seriously in the 80's, that we had curling irons that ran on butane so you could curl your hair anyplace, anytime. Seemed like a smart idea at the time......