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I Grew Up 80s is bringing an Aladdin’s Cave of 80s treasures to The Atkinson in Southport from Saturday, 13th November to 19 March, 2022.
Enjoy rare childhood toys and games from the era such as Cabbage Patch dolls, Care Bears, Smurfs, Gremlins, and a Rubix Cube; an Atari computer console and games and a Nintendo Game and Watch, movie posters featuring the likes of E.T.; Athena movie posters such as the instantly recognisable L’Enfant; Ghostbusters, Police Academy and The Lost Boys; classic BMX bikes; 80s music; album covers from artists such as Madonna, Michael Jackson and Southport’s very own Marc Almond in Soft Cell.
Bring along your 50p coins and you could play iconic games such as Space Invaders, Pac Man or Donkey Kong on a classic arcade machine.
Or sit back in an 80’s themed living room, complete with classic TV shows, furniture, colourful wallpaper, and an old-fashioned TV.
The display will even feature old-fashioned food and drink, with bottles such as Corona Dandelion & Burdock, and sweets and chocolates such as a Lion bar – ‘still only 13p!’ – ; Peanut Treets, Opal Fruits, a Texan bar and a Marathon bar (the proper name, before someone inexplicably renamed it Snickers).
Over 200 treasures will take visitors on a misty-eyed journey from BMX to Betamax, Dirty Dancing to Donkey Kong, Thompson Twins to Transformers. It’s less ‘Back To The Future’, and more back to the past. It’ll be an excellent adventure.
The I Grew Up 80s has already become a huge talking point in the region, something which is only set to grow. Make sure you take a Ferris Bueller’s day off to head down there.
Expect lots of comments such as ‘do you remember when we had one of these’ as younger visitors look on in bafflement at objects such as a Betamax video recorder or a heavy old TV with a tiny screen.
All of us who grew up during the era will express our shock and disbelief that it has now been four decades since the 80s.
The exhibition has been made possible by passionate collector of all things 80’s, Matt Fox, who Southport people will recognise after he curated the superb Star Wars-themed May The Toys Be With You exhibition in 2016.
“Some people say that collecting is a disease, and exhibiting is the only cure! That is definitely true. One in the three people in the UK will admit to collecting things. I guess I take it a lot further than most people!
“The last time I was at The Atkinson was with my Star Wars exhibition in 2016. It is lovely to be back here again. I am rather fond of Southport. This is a touring exhibition, but this visit to Southport will be the first time that this has been seen in the North West.”
“We are excited about taking people back to their childhoods in the 80s, it is going to be a great exhibition for both adults and children. Much of the time, when the media looks back on the 80s, they focus on things like Margaret Thatcher, the Falklands War or Yuppies! This exhibition though is all about childhood memories, and what we all enjoyed when we were kids. When you see 80’s stuff it is always very colourful, and very creative. What I have done is to find objects in mint condition, I wanted them to look exactly like they would have done at the time. It really helps to bring the memories back when people see them.
“With nostalgia, people have become so used to just seeing objects on Instagram, and seeing things as just images. Most of the things in the exhibition bring real joy to people. One of the exhibits is a Cabbage Patch Kid, they were extremely popular. Recently we have seen footage of people fighting over goods in shops on Black Friday, but back in the 80s we saw the Cabbage Patch riots, with people fighting over them in shops! It was the first time we had seen anything like that.”
The movie posters on show at The Atkinson will bring back some great memories, with favourites such as: The Goonies, Ghostbusters, Raiders of The Lost Ark, Trading Places, Dirty Dancing, Footloose, Police Academy, The Lost Boys, The Terminator, A Nightmare On Elm Street.
Another movie poster from the 80’s shows Escape From New York, set in the futuristic time of 1997!
The galleries at the Atkinson are wall-to-wall with amazing treasures from years gone by. As a collector, Matt Fox appears as a man who has everything.
But there are still a couple of collectable holy grails out there which he is eager to find – and from everything from the 80’s, they may surprise you what they are.
He said: “I have an Etsy ‘saved search’ for Um Bongo, and Five Alive!
“I can’t find them anywhere!
“Good condition food and drink from the 1980’s is not easy to come by.”
If you have either tucked away in the back of your cupboard or tucked away in your loft, please give Matt a shout!
People are also being asked to submit their own photos of the 80’s, which may play a starring role in the exhibition.
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