Final Thoughts From 1986

Recently, many of you have been writing about how music has kept you going in these troubling and uncertain times. It has been the same for me. However, as I have been posting about all the great music which came about in 1986, it has reminded me how music got me through the end of that year. As the year was closing out, I was attending university in London. During the Christmas break, most of the other students went home, leaving me pretty much on my own except for a couple of friends. I couldn’t do much because I was going through financial hardship at the time due to the Veteran’s Administration refusing to give me my veteran’s educational benefits stating the course I was pursuing in London wasn’t approved. It even went as far as for me to declare that I hated America. This was against a backdrop of a small but vocal minority of British students who believed the myth that all American students were filthy rich. Needless to say, I was at a very low point in my life but fortunately, I had music to soothe the pain.

It’s a McDonald’s now but in 1986, this place was a great Friday night heavy metal club.

Every Friday night, we would go to a club called Oscar’s in a part of London known as Newbury Park. As you can see, it’s a McDonald’s now but back then, all the metalheads in the area would go there to headbang away. There was even a guy who was the splitting image of Ozzy who used to go there. Another common occurrence was during the guitar solos, everyone on the dance floor would stop headbanging and form a big pile up in the middle of the floor. Yes, to the average observer, it all looked very homo-erotic but no one cared. It is also where I got the attention of the woman I would marry six months later when I went sliding across the floor on my knees and started playing air guitar on her leg. Oh, we were already acquainted by then but I thought it was a good way of making a grand gesture. Ah, the memories! I did happen to go to that McDonald’s in 1998 and while the inside might have changed, I could still see Oscar’s in my mind.

Before I went to London in that summer, there were two songs from 1986 which have always stuck in my mind. Both were related to the Cold War and East-West tensions. First, I’m surprised no one has asked why I didn’t include Sting’s debut album, “Dream of the Blue Turtles.” Basically, it was because I wasn’t impressed the songs I did hear on it and was convinced that like other artists I accused of doing so, he had sold out and became a Top 40 singer. However, the single “Russians” has always stuck in my mind. Likewise for Elton John. I really liked his early 1970s material but thought the same of Elton come the 1980s. It didn’t help that a video for one of his songs brought back a lot of painful memories for me. Anyhow, while it’s not a rocker, the lyrics to his 1986 single, “Nikita,” has also stuck in my mind. Probably because I was very politically aware at the time.

Beki Bondage

Back to London, what I loved about the city in 1986 was that somewhere, at some pub or club, there would be a heavy metal or hard rock band playing. One I mention quite a bit in “Rock and Roll Children” was a pub called “The Wellington” in the Shepherd’s Bush part of the city. I saw some great bands there, including the band who I became friends with, Torque Show. However, one November evening in 1986, I attended a benefit gig to raise money to fight drug addiction in young people, a worthy cause. Opening was an Iron Maiden influenced band called Elixir and there was an band made up from musicians from around the city, which included Lisa Dominique on vocals and on bass was a musician who appeared on the popular UK soap opera “East Enders.” Closing out the night was a band called Beki and the Bombshells, led by Beki Bondage. They were described as a punk/metal crossover but they ended the evening very well.

Well, that concludes the tour of 1986. You know, at one point, I thought I would never get through the year as there were so many great albums. Maybe in one case, it was a very good thing for me at the time because music can help you forget your troubles even if it’s only for a brief moment. One final note, I hear that The Wellington is now either a Burger King or KFC.

Next post: Rock Dudes Who Look Like Chicks

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46 Responses to “Final Thoughts From 1986”

  1. Great post mate!

    Liked by 4 people

  2. That was a brilliant read. I know what you mean about still seeing the venue in your mind when inside a building that used to be a legendary night spot. The pub I saw Paul Di’Anno, Pearl Jam, Gun, Thunder, The Wildhearts and so many other bands is now a fast food joint too.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Great post and glad to see you make it through with the power of music leading the way.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Sting’s debut has Fortress Around Your Heart which is pretty great IMO.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Really felt this one. I remember Lisa Dominique – Kerrrang! used to flaunt her ‘talents’ in their pages almost every other week at one point.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I’m sorry you went through those troubles with the Veteran’s Administration, but I’m glad music was able to get you through that difficult time. That heavy metal club sounds awesome, I wonder why they changed it to a McDonalds.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Buffyboo Says:

    Oh yes, Oscar’s. What fun was had there. That young woman is still your friend 35 years later. Friends forged in the crucible of Oscar’s are friends for life. X

    Liked by 1 person

  8. ah Oscars………:-), like many thinks from that time of my life now gone. One of my favourite pubs in Woolwich is now a Co-Op !!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Right on. I love Dream Of The Blue Turtles. I feel like Sting still had cache then, and on the next couple of records. Maybe after Ten Summoners Tales was when he went off the rails into it. I love Nikita too. How could anyone not?

    I was 12 in 1986, so this tour has been an education. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Superb post. What we would have done to get us through some of those tough times without our music? And for live venues turned into fast food joints or knocked down to make way for flats and offices… always sad to see.

    Liked by 2 people

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