1982: Why flamethrowers were invented

The best thing about setting fire to these bad boys is that I bet they were highly flammable.    Bit of a design flaw really.  After a couple of wine coolers guests could get pretty careless with their cigarettes in the 1980s.

“Covered with imported top quality printed cotton fabric.”  Imported from where?  What exactly is this a pattern of?  Decomposition?

“Smart floral colours over buoyant foam mattress.”  “Buoyant” is not an adjective I usually associate with furniture: “It’s f*&king ugly, but it floats well.”  Looking at these beds is bringing back a furniture memory.  I’m pretty sure we had a couple of two-seaters in deep chocolate with diagonal lines of silvery stuff.  These were comfortable neither as couches or beds.  As couches they felt like you were sitting on three buoyant slabs of foam like a slightly overweight cherry on a mound of trembling jelly. As a bed you came to realise that cheap foam folded directly out onto the floor only had so much flotation, and by around midnight you would wake at the bottom of a foam pool – as it were – to find that your body had sunk through the mattress and settled on the concrete floor beneath.

Points of interest:

  • $600 really seems like too much money
  • Elegant?
  • Is Denver really this bad?  Denver should complain.

Never mind.  If the guests have it bad, the hosts can’t take the high road in the master bedroom.

Which leads me to reflect on the bed I grew up sleeping on.

So much to be distracted by in this photo.  I can report that the panda dog thing had incredibly soft fur, and that my mother still has the Pink Panther stuffed in a cupboard somewhere.

What we are meant to be focusing on is the bed.  You can just catch a glimpse of the yellow steel bed head.  It was a yellow tubular steel bed frame with sort of canvas covers on the ends that had pockets on them to put books in.  It was pretty cool frankly.  Less cool is the fact that my back is nowadays a basket case and the bed probably had something to do with it.  My bed had a roll-away bed underneath it.  I remember one day – after sleeping on this bed for about ten years – taking the roll-away bed out and then getting back on my bed.  The effect was somewhat alarming.  For support my bed had a kind of chain link fence strung between the metal bed frame and joined to it by  springs.  On top of that was what I now suspect was a Para foam mattress.  I discovered on that fateful day that if you took the roll-away bed out the mesh of springs and metal links actually sank pretty much to the floor if you were in the bed.  This meant, I concluded, that I was actually sleeping on the roll-away bed underneath my bed whenever I was in my bed, and that if the roll-away bed were removed I was essentially sleeping on a hammock that touched the floor.  Which tended to suggest that my bed didn’t have particularly good back support.  Being a teenage boy I filed this information away in the part of my brain labelled “interesting but unimportant”, pushed the roll-away bed back, and carried on sleeping on it for another five years.

Before we go, let’s think about floor coverings.

Style.  Such an interesting use of the word.  Maybe a splash of orange juice would enliven the colour palette.

Looking back over these photos I have to conclude that (a) my mother had pretty good taste in beds: my bed might have been slowly crippling me but it looked good and this is what fashion does: cripples beautifully, and (b) there was a reason why incredibly bright colours, pastels and neon were so popular by the mid 80s.  It was like every teenager growing up in their parents’ brown foam house with grey floors and tasseled bed spreads left suburbia and erupted into a riot of garish colour and synthesisers.

Speaking of synthesisers, the charts in November of 1982 were fricken awesome.

8 thoughts on “1982: Why flamethrowers were invented”

  1. Brilliant, as always… love the styles (or lack, thereof)… and I have to say… “this is what fashion does: cripples beautifully” – never a truer word spoken! (or written, in this case :P)

  2. Good morning. Thank you. I sense that I am returning to my trashy 80s roots after a tiring few months. I shall see you soon over at lastsong.

  3. My parents had one of those stupid para rubber foam fold out chairs. Stupid bloody thing it was and it had the most hideous floral cover. Seeing those old ads brought back the horrible memories of it. I wonder what happenned to it now thinking about it. Long gone, probably to the tip many years ago. I was’nt aroudn by the time I had my kids and that was over 20 years ago now, but it was when I got married in 1983. I think it went when I was living overseas in 1987. Oh well, Mum could never resist a cute idea, even it the reality was not that pracitcal. I vivdly remember never being able to sit on it properly, I always ended falling off it. Even the family cat gave up on it as a viable resting place. That say is all really.

  4. I walk past the Salvation Army every day and I would say that at lest 50% of all Para fold out sofas end up covertly dumped outside their door at night.

  5. In the early ’80s, my grandfather bought the top Para couch. It was a very flimsy construction, but being a practical sort, he removed the cover, reinforced the frame, bought a sewing machine and sewed new upholstery and covers in a stronger fabric. It was a good, solid couch.

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