We’re back on a blog tour this week, and this time we’re taking a look at What a Way to Go by Julia Forster. This is Julia’s debut novel, set in the wonderful 80s (are we allowed to look back at them with nostalgia yet??) and I’ll be telling you more about it in a review soon.
For my stop on the tour, and given Julia’s obvious love for the 80s, I wanted to ask her the top five things from 1988 that she would like to see brought back. Apart from the clothes, obviously… they’ve been back and gone again, thankfully!
Here is her fabulous reply:
What a brilliant question! I have been pondering it a-plenty. Here are five things I wish I could bring back from 1988….
1. The Flumps
The Flumps were pint-sized balls of fluff, dressed up in hats, scarfs and bows then filmed in stop-frame animation. Posie, Perkin, Pootle and mother, father and grandfather Flump were the most benign characters on television in the late eighties. While grandfather Flump napped, tended to his allotment or played his flumpet, and mother and father Flump were busy doing housework, the child Flumps had little adventures around the house and garden. This is soporific television at its best. The favourite episode to fall asleep to in our house is ‘Moon Shot’, where the three kiddy Flumps make a rocket out of cardboard and Pootle travels to the moon.
I’m aware I may risk sounding like a little bit of a Luddite, but I am rather sad to see the demise of these hand-held toys. In What a Way to Go, I show Harper looking through her View-Master at pictures of Paris; in the pre-internet age, this was one of the analogue ways in which we educated ourselves about the three-dimensional wider world. Some View-Masters were also scenes from stories, revealing themselves like a storyboard of stills from a film. It was down to us children to fill in the gaps and build the narrative in our mind’s eye.
3. Maypole Dancing
Dancing around the maypole on May Day was a well-worn tradition in the village I grew up in. There is something magical about this ancient custom, in which children hold a coloured ribbon and dance around a pole in an intricate way to weave a beautiful pattern, before dancing in reverse to unwind the display. Is it just me, or is Maypole dancing in decline?
4. Dot Matrix Printer Paper
In one continuous loop, held together with perforated edges like loo roll, dot matrix printer paper held the potential for hours of endless fun. Not only could you draw a very long picture or type on it like Jack Kerouac, you could also tear off the perforated edges and then use the holey slips of paper as templates through which you could colour a series of perfect circles. The only limit with dot matrix paper was your imagination.
5. Hilary Whitney
Please can we bring Hilary Whitney back to life? She’s a character from the 1988 film Beaches starring Barbara Hershey as Hilary, an heiress and lawyer, and Bette Midler as her best friend and cabaret performer. Along with Annie, A Chorus Line and Back to the Future, I must have watched this film over a hundred times as a child. It still gets me every time. Forget Bridesmaids, this film about female friendship and jealousy, failure and success is touching and truly tear-jerking.
I completely agree with this last one! Beaches is an amazing film – but can I also add Mannequin to the list??
Huge thanks to Julia for taking the time to think about this question, What a Way to Go is published by Atlantic Books and is available now for £12.99 Paperback.