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1980s, General Society vs Interviewee

In: Historical Events

Submitted By theepinicity
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After interviewing Ian, my neighbour, I have come to the conclusion that most of his views agree with those of the general public, from his taste in music to his love of sport. He pretty much filled in the role of the “Ordinary Australian” of the 80’s.
The first impression you have of Ian is his absolute passion for sports. The interview itself was allocated at a convenient time slot for him, so that he would not miss his Seven o’clock football match on Television. He particularly loved, and still does, love his cricket, but enjoys watching more or less any form of sport on the television-a habit that he has not strayed from for a long time, a habit he has maintained throughout the 1980’s.
Australians has always been a sport-loving nation. For a country with a relatively small population, Australian athletes fared extremely well on the international scale. In this decade, coverage of Sport on TV evolved in leaps and bounds. The quality of TV had improved, and as a result, there was a great surge of popularity in the 80s for television. Ian, it seems, was no exception to the increase in television views (particularly the sporting channels).
The 80’s was the time of Madonna and Michael Jackson; these two artists were extremely popular and presented a new style of music. Australian Music gained confidence in the 1980’s, and developed a distinct “Australian Rock” sound. The band Midnight Oil was popular, as was the internationally renowned INXS, who received Grammy nominations, MTV awards, and many top ten hits in the US and the UK.
Ian, like most of the general public, was a great fan of Madonna and Michael Jackson. He was also a fan of Australian bands like INXS, AC/DC and Skyhooks. His tastes in music were rather mainstream, and conformed to what was popular during the decade.
The release of CDs in 1982 revolutionised the way records could be produced; vinyl records had almost been completely replaced by CDs by the end of the decade. Initially, the compact disc was, upon release, a luxury far beyond the reach economically for most Australians, but, like all technological gadgets, the price eventually was reduced, and by the mid 80’s most people had access to a CD player. The sound produced from a CD was a great improvement compared to the scratchy and crackly music a vinyl produced.

When Ian was questioned on his judgment of the quality of the CD opposed to the quality of the vinyl record, he described the CD quality as “dynamic”, “fabulous” and “amazing”. In short, he was very much in wonderment of the sheer superiority in the sound a Compact Disk produced, much like his fellow Australians. He also commented on the price being an obstacle, as did most of the Australian public; the average hourly wage was between $2.50 to $5.00, and most CDs were around $15 dollars each. He recalls buying a CD when they first came out however, as a hotel owner, he was financially better off than some Australians in the 80’s.
The hole in the ozone was discovered in 1985. When Ian was informed of this, he simply shrugged, and stated that most people at that stage dismissed this off as a myth, probably due to the fact that they weren’t all too aware of the consequences of such a hole. His attitude upon answering the particular question clearly indicated the he wasn’t all too concerned about the environment issue at the time either.
Despite the lack of awareness of the hole in the Ozone Layer, most people by the 1980’s were becoming more environmentally conscious. The Damming of the Franklin River caused much controversy and intense protests. The protests against the damming of the Franklin River is regarded as one of Australia’s most successful environmental protests. Support against the damming of the Franklin river was huge.
Like most of the population at the time, Ian was against the damming of the river, particularly the logging in the forests.
The Bicentennial celebrations drew large crowds at Sydney harbour, watching a re-enactment of the arrival of the first fleet. Ian recalled the great weather conditions that day (“Great Harbour”), but admitted to being more interested in the bicentennial test cricket than anything else.
On the same day, the Aborigines held a large “Invasion day protest”. According to Ian, Aborigines had a very bad reputation, and most stereotypes portrayed them as lazy, drunk, and disrespectful to the law. The public was largely unsupportive of this aboriginal protest.
When asked to share his views on the day, Ian appeared not to take sides in opinion, although he did seem to lean toward the supportive side. He understood the reason behind the aboriginal dissatisfaction on the day, say that they “got here first”.
The general public wasn’t particularly against aboriginal rights in the 1980’s, however. Most, if not all, Australians were more or less supportive of the return of Uluru to the indigenous owners of the land. Like the rest of Australia, Ian was highly supportive of this event.
Asian Immigration was also big in the 1980s. Many Asian, particularly Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants opened up in Australia during the time period. Like with many Australians, Chinese food became a constantly, and increasingly available option in the Australian diet, and he recalls eating Chinese often, once a week. Drink driving by the 80s had already become a problem, and Random Breath Testing was introduced on the 17th of December 1982. Like today, according to Ian, it was extremely unpopular, and many referred to it as a “slur to their social behaviour”. He owned a hotel at the time, and commented on the dramatic changes in drinking habits, and the way it affected the hotel industry, and wasn’t too fond of being pulled over to have his breath tested randomly.
Black Monday affected many Australians when stock markets around the word crashed. Australia’s stock markets plummeted(41.8%), as many thousands of Australians lost significant amounts of money.
Ian was not affected by the stock market crash, but can recall a few acquaintances that he knew lost their homes because of the raise in interest rates. Many Australians lost their jobs, but even more had to sell their homes.
Ian experienced his eighties the way that most average Australians from that age would have. He loved his sport, listened and appreciated the mainstream music of the time, generally supportive of the aborigines, against the damming of the Franklin River, he was part of the “general public” crowd, as he seemed to share similar opinions on most things. There was not much to “contrast” his beliefs in the 1980s to, as he seems to fit into the crowd of “Ordinary Australians”.…...

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