Remembering the Fast Times of the Canadian 80’s


I looked at a newspaper clipping today that featured the 80’s rock band “Platinum Blonde” from Toronto and smiled. I began to have flashbacks of one of my favourite eras- the 80’s. I remembered my “big hair” that contained so much hairspray I must have busted a hole in the ozone layer. I saw Platinum Blonde at least 6 times and thought guys were really pretty in those days. I loved their feminine clothing and the way they looked like a modern day Victorian swashbuckler. Some days when I think of the past I can’t help but head bang and throw devil fingers in the air while I play air guitar in memory of the hair bands that once were.

It was the time of Trivial Pursuit, Boom Boxes and Baby on Board signs. I wore shoulder pads that could also be used as a bullet proof vest, bodysuits and  wore Flashdance bottoms as my regular clothing. My motto was that if I had to pay good money for underwear then I was going to wear it as clothing, which I did. Nothing was sacred and as former customer Lee Aaron sang, “I was the Metal Queen.”

Canadian bands like Darby Mills & The Headpins and Holly Woods from Toronto were competing with the male bands and evening up the score. They did not wear brands like Ocean Pacific, Guess, Jordache, or Esprit. These women could rock with the best of them and the once Phallic guitar solos belonging to the axe wielding male metal heads now also belonged to the ladies.Because no one was using Spandex, my clothing was featured in Flare Magazine and Jo-Anne and Caryl Citron of the cool Cat’s Cradle store in Toronto carried my MC Hammer influenced designs. With my crimped hair and my side ponytail life was good, as I danced to the tunes of Flock of Seagulls while celebrities saved farms and tried to Feed the World.

Movies like Flashdance, Footloose and Desperately Seeking Susan made me want to dance while Ferris Bueller, or anything from John Hughes made me smile. “Heathers” had hope for beating the bullies that were somewhere “Lost in America”. Madonna ruled my world and I loved the teenage Patrick Dempsey movies because “hot girls were just in love” with him and it held hope for the nerds.

I owned 4 Swatch Watches and ripped my pantyhose to wear under Lycra leggings. Leggings had me at the word ‘hello’ and in the late 90’s my oldest son looked at me shook his head and said,

“Mum, the 80’s are over!”

Hanging my head still wearing a big hair bow I shook my rubber bracelets and sighed,

“I just wanted to ‘feel it again’.”

I mixed up my TV viewing with lovable ALF, Kids in the Hall and SCTV. John Candy was my hero and I laughingly told Catherine O’Hara when she visited my store one day that I wanted to bear his children. People suddenly wanted to ‘take off to the great white north’ and Geddy Lee from Rush made it okay for me to say ‘eh’ to my American friends. Beauty eh?

I wore my black Ray Bans even though life was sunny and full of “pretty things.”  It seems now that the 80’s was the last decade where everybody felt totally optimistic about their future. “Isn’t that special?” No Future now! “Like gag me with a spoon” with today’s bleak look on life. We wore sunglasses at night.

“It was better to look good than to feel good.” “Nothing but Champagne wishes and caviar dreams” from Robin Leech and “Totally Tubular” songs from Valley Girls. Nobody “pitied the fool” that asked “where’s the beef” and screamed “You look mahhhvellous!!”

Now I still wear my “Sunglasses at Night”  so I can keep track of the 80’s visions in my eyes and dodge the lighting from those patio lanterns! HAPPY CANADA DAY!!

A few of my designs from the late 80’s in Flare Magazine and Linda in her pink bodysuit and huge padded shoulder in her store Flash Cadilac. Buy Linda Secaspina’s Books— Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac and 5 others on Amazon or Amazon Canada or Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street in Carleton Place

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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