memories of the ’80s – Up to Here by The Tragically Hip

Hard-rocking and memorable songs, in 1989 The Tragically Hip was the first choice for radio airplay because of their debut full-length album Up to Here.

In 1988, the band had created a self-titled EP, and toured extensively to promote and work to get the attention for a record deal.

After appearing at the CMJ Festival in New York City, the band drew the attention of MCA, leading an A&R rep from MCA to attend the Toronto Music Awards to see the band perform in December 1988 and sign them.

The band travelled to Memphis to record the album with producer Don Smith, with Gord Downie, Rob Baker, Gord Sinclair, Johnny Fay and Paul Langlois collaborating on writing and playing all tracks. In September 1989 the album was released, with its first single, Blow at High Dough.

The song and album received heavy airplay on Canadian radio stations, paired with the band’s extensive touring, gaining fans from coast to coast.

Following the first single, the next single New Orleans is Sinking became another live favourite, with the band doing extended versions, debuting new songs and showing off the band’s skills in improvisation.

The album did well on the Canadian charts, and made it on to the Billboard Hot 200 album charts in 1990, although the US market didn’t embrace the band at the time as much as Canada.

The band was awarded the Most Promising Artist Award at the Juno Awards in 1990 and the album Up to Here was honoured with diamond status at the time for selling over a million copies.

As one of the band’s most beloved albums, its first two singles, Blow at High Dough and New Orleans is Sinking, are still mainstays of Canadian radio airplay.




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The letter wall

Testing the creativity of the letter creation in Barcelona’s side streets:

Barcelona letter wall

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memories of the ’70s – Off the Wall by Michael Jackson

A smiling adult African American male with a black afro, wearing a black tuxedo, white shirt, and a black bow tie. Both of his thumbs are hooked into his pants pockets with his palms and fingers facing forward and splayed out. The sides of his jacket are tucked behind his hands as he leans back slightly, giving a playful, casual touch to his formal look. Behind him there is a brown brick wall and to the side of his head are "MICHAEL JACKSON" in yellow chalk writing and "OFF THE WALL" in white chalk writing. "JACKSON" and "WALL" are separately underlined.In summer 1979, Michael Jackson made his fifth studio album, and started the next part of his solo career with Epic Records and the release of Off The Wall.

Jackson had left his previous label Motown, and had finished making The Wiz with Quincy Jones. As a result, Jones produced the album in December 1978.

Wanting to make a change, Jackson focused on themes of loneliness, escapism, hedonism and romance, mixing funk, pop, soul, jazz, soft rock and disco sounds into the album.

Jackson worked with several collaborators on this album including Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Carole Bayer Sager, David Foster and Rod Temperton, as well as had his brother Randy play percussion. Although Jackson didn’t write all the songs, he did three of the singles, including the first single, Don’t Stop Until You Get Enough.

Released in August 1979, the album was received by fans with open arms, gaining praise for his maturity and his movement away from his Motown years, and positive reviews from Rolling Stone and the Village Voice.

The album was an award winner – winning multiple awards at the American Music Awards, the Billboard Music Awards and a Grammy Award for Best Male R&B performance for Don’t Stop Until You Get Enough.

Jackson became the first solo artist to have four singles from the same album peak in the Billboard Hot 100 top 10. Overall the album released five singles including Rock With You, Get on the Floor, She’s Out of My Life,

One of the best selling albums of all time, Off The Wall has been certified platinum multiple times in Australia, Canada, Mexico, Germany, New Zealand, Italy, Japan, and eight times platinum in the United States. It is one of Jackson’s best-selling albums, only second to Thriller.


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Its Monday – and in Barcelona, perhaps this is the place to go….

Barcelona bollocks

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Montreal’s Chinatown

The colourful mural that greets visitors to Montreal’s Chinatown:

Mtl Chinatown mural

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Key West style

A restaurant entrance in Key West – a decidedly different kind of sign:

Key West sign

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memories of the ’80s – TV show board games

In the 1980s, board games were still popular, as was the inspiration to create them based on your favourite television and radio shows of the day.

In 1982, the daytime soap opera General Hospital has been on the air for almost 20 years, a staple of ABC Television.

But because of the storyline of two key characters, the infamous duo of Luke and Laura, interest in the show had skyrocketed in 1981.

As a result, ABC TV worked with Cardinal Games to launch The Game of General Hospital, a board game where 2, 4 or even 10 players could pick their favourite GH character and try to survive the machinations of what could happen to them on the board. The winner was the character who made it to the end of the board.

Another ’80s favourite, Knight Rider, which debuted in 1982 0n NBC TV was another hit for producer Glen A. Larson, and had every fan wanting their own KITT car to solve the mysteries with David Hasselhoff.

For kids aged 7+, Knight Rider: A High Speed Adventure game, was released in 1982 from Parker Brothers, was a four player game, which each player trying to clear up Trouble Spots around the board, and survive the Chicken Challenges. The player who has cleared the most spots and won the most bonus money wins the game.

For a decidedly different board game (and one that is gender-specific) is Sweet Valley High. The series of books was a successful young adult series for young women, but translated to a board game was an odd choice.

Published by Milton Bradley in 1988, the Sweet Valley High game, for 8+, two to four players, goes like this: each player moves around the board in search of their missing, lost or late boyfriends and the items needed for their date night.

The player who finds the boy and the accessories wins!

And not to be left out, adults could also have fun with a board game. In 1980, Dr. Ruth Westheimer had started working with NYC radio station WYNY with a weekly show sharing her advice on sexual matters.

In 1985, Victory Games published the Dr Ruth’s Game of Good Sex, created with the good doctor.

Four to eight players, aged 18+, and usually as couples, go around the board, answering questions from Dr. Ruth about their sexual awareness and earning Arousal Points with visits to Dr. Ruth’s Sex Clinic.

The winner is the one who gains the most points, but the key is learning! (and perhaps putting info into practise).

Four random games of the decade are examples of how board games can be used in so many different ways to promote another part of pop culture.


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