Saturday Night Retro

It’s a special Friday night edition of the ‘Saturday Night Retro’ !

Back in November and December of 1985 I spent my first two months overseas in The United Kingdom at my first active duty Air Force permanent duty station. As a newly-assigned Airman I lived in one of the old post World War 2 era dormitories on base – rambler style with centralized community bathrooms. In other words you had to leave your room and walk down the hallway to use the toilet, take a shower, shave, wash your hands, and brush your teeth. There was no plumbing within the actual dorm rooms.

In the military a ‘day room’ is essentially a community living room with assorted furniture and a television. Our ‘day room’ in our particular dorm was damaged / unusable / off-limits, so we ‘dorm rats’ gathered together and took over an adjacent dorm’s day room. We met nightly after work to hang out, eat junk food, smoke cigarettes, drink beer (not me), watch British television, play Uno, and pretty much party like it was 1985 (sometimes all night long). Those are some of the greatest memories of my entire military career – from nearly 25 years ago. One of the biggest mistakes that I made early on was to buy my own television set for my dorm room because once I did that I unintentionally removed myself from that day room camaraderie. A few months later I went back over there, and it was never the same as it once was during those first two months. All of my old buddies had moved on – just as I had done.

One of the great Thursday night traditions that began in that day room and continued on during the entire time that I lived in the U.K. (the next two years) was watching “Top Of The Pops” on BBC-1. It aired weekly for over 40 years, and it was essentially their version of our “American Bandstand”. Here’s how a mid-December 1985 episode started at 7 PM GMT. It was one of those episodes that I watched alongside my day room buddies. On that week’s show Amazulu (an all-female British pop band) were in the Top 20 with their vivacious hit at the time “Don’t You Just Know It”.