1985: Another year of riots…and Live Aid


1985 saw the miners’ strike end and a mass return to work taking place during March – although the industry never recovered and an entire way of life in the North of England was effectively at an end.

Unfortunately, like 1981, 1985 was another year of major riots in the riot-fuelled  decade that was the 1980s. (NB I won’t dwell on the nationwide riots we are currently experiencing throughout England in this ‘summer of discontent’ in 2011 as the exclusive topic for this series of blog posts is actually the 1980s – however, a clear parallel between the 1980s and current events can certainly be drawn).

Like 1981, 1985 saw riots taking place in Handsworth (Birmingham) and Brixton (London) in September. In October, a notorious riot took place at the Broadwater Farm estate in Tottenham (London) in which a policeman was killed.

The world of football was shocked by two events in 1985. In March a Cup tie between Luton and Millwall ended with a pitch invasion by rival supporters and a pitched battle took place that was officially classified as a ‘riot’. In May there was a tragedy at the Heysel Stadium in Belgium when fans attempting to flee clashes between the supporters of Liverpool and Juventus at the European Cup final were crushed when a stadium wall collapsed – resulting in dozens of deaths and hundreds of injuries.

Two notably good events also occurred in 1985 – both with charitable motives. In July Sir Bob Geldof’s Live Aid music event raised some £50 million for Ethiopian famine relief. In December – on Christmas Day – the first Comic Relief appeal (intended to raise money for good causes through an – on-going – annual TV telethon) was launched.

I didn’t take much notice of the commercial music scene in 1985 as I was still involved in actually playing music as a drummer in the band Secret Purple Monkeys. In 1985 we played a gig at the main Centrepoint shelter for the homeless in London’s Leicester Square – which is also where we used to rehearse (in a basement annexe). In fact, the only album I bought that entire year was Little Creatures by Talking Heads.

The movies of 1985 were largely forgettable – yet more MOR dross from Hollywood dominating the box office charts. However, it is perhaps worth noting that 1985 saw the final incarnation of Roger Moore as James Bond in A View To A Kill. (Growing up I was one of the very few who actually preferred Roger Moore and his raised eyebrow to Sean Connery – although, with hindsight, I now concede that Connery did indeed make a better 007).

There were, however, two films that stood out for me in 85: Nic Roeg’s Insignificance that intriguingly put Marilyn Monroe (engagingly portrayed by Theresa Russell) and Albert Einstein into the same hotel suite and Pale Rider – a more intelligent than average Western featuring one of my all-time fave actors, Clint “Dyin’ ain’t much of a livin’, boy!” Eastwood.

Other events that stood out in 1985? The first ever episodes of the soap Eastenders and Blind Date (Cilla Black’s dating gameshow) hit the UK small screens and, in September, the wreck of the Titanic was finally located.

Anita Dobson as Angie

OK folks, here’s a pic of yours truly in 1985. See you all in 1986 on the next blog post.

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