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What does it all mean?

August 23, 2012 | Scott

Whilst we’d love to be able to unravel the mysteries of the universe and answer the questions that have stumped theologians and science types for years, we’re just not that bright. So instead we can only offer a humble glimpse into the world that is Balcony T-shirts.

To the uninitiated, this site and our products can be a baffling vortex of colours mish-mashed with words; however, scratch beneath the surface and… well it’s pretty much the same to be honest, but just in case you were wondering here’s our take on a few of the words, brands, products and subjects that pop up regularly on the site.

Airline Bag
Insert quip about lost luggage and inept foreign baggage handlers here. Like ALF these were big in the 80’s, but unlike the loveable hairy alien, they’re still very much a feature of modern culture. Perfect for the fashion-conscious woman who just can’t cram enough into a petit handbag; essentially it’s a mid-size shoulder bag.

We literally pity the fool who doesn’t know about the A-Team. This motley crew of renegade ‘soldiers of fortune’ thrilled audiences throughout the ’80s with their explosive mixture of macho bravado and community awareness. Many questions still remain unanswered about the show including:

  1. How did four war veterans manage to fire umpteen rounds of ammo and yet only managed to kill one person throughout the entire run of the show?
  2. Despite being hired hands, they always wound up working for people too poor to pay them, so how did they get by day to day?
  3. Following on from the above, where did they get the money from to buy supplies – which of course included a surplus of watermelons that were required for routine use in a cannon or catapult type device?
  4. How inept are the American military police and, more importantly, how many resources can they throw at Colonel Lynch and Decker in the pursuit of four guys?

For a show that advocated the drugging of people in order to get them to do what you want – mostly via a drink – wanton acts of carnage with little or no regard for human life and of course chain smoking cigars; the A-Team turned out alright.

Aviator Sunglasses
Aviator’s enjoyed a steady stream of popularity from the 1960s onwards; but that all changed when a film depicting homoerotic adventures of volleyball playing pilots was released in 1986, when they became…well, Top Gun. Aviator glasses were the must-have accessories back then and are once again today.

Back to the Future
1985 was a good year for Michael J Fox; not only was he wowing audiences with his basketballing prowess in Teen Wolf, but he also managed to travel back in time with the aid of a modified DeLorean to chat up his mum! Back to the Future is, was and forever will be a piece of film gold.

Calculator Watch
Take one calculator and one watch break them down and re-morph them together in a Terminator style and what do you get? A Casio Calculator Watch, that’s what! Two essentials of ’80s geek culture combined in one convenient package for your wrist. They don’t make them like this any more… although of course they do otherwise wouldn’t have them, but you know.

Canvas Bag
It’s a bag and it’s made out of canvas. What more can we say?

Market leaders in all things technical in years gone by, Casio define the very essence of retro-geek-chic – see Calculator Watch.

Courier Bag
Whilst at university in Delaware, 90s tennis sensation Jim Courier invented a bag that could be worn over the shoulder. Similar to a Messenger Bag, he took the fundamental principle, made it a bit bigger and lent his name to it, thus establishing the ‘Courier Bag’.

Dukes of Hazzard
A Waylon Jennings soundtrack, a Dodge Charger emblazoned with confederate insignia called General Lee and a slightly incestuous sub-plot – it has to be Dukes of Hazzard. Bo, Luke and Daisy managed to stay just on the right side of the law – despite the best efforts of local lawman and primary antagonist Boss Hogg and his equally inept sidekick Rosco – for six years, and are today immortalised in retro pop culture.

Decent tyres, better shoes!

The alien with the glowing finger was part of a long-running list of family favourites by legendary director Steven Spielberg; including Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones and of course Schindler’s List. ET still hasn’t gone home, not in our hearts anyway, he’ll always be around and to make sure he is there are endless reruns and commercial opportunities available to this day.

Flash Gordon 
If you wonder who Ming the Merciless is, jog on! Flash Gordon is the comic book character bought to life through a television series and legendary film of the same name – ‘Gordon’s alive!’  You’d better believe it Blessed!

Flight Bag
Like an Airline Bag, but different.

You couldn’t go anywhere without seeing someone with some Golas back in 1987. Lazarus himself has stated his surprise at the reemergence of this brand as a dominant force in the shoe market; the grandson of founder Keith Gola supposedly invented 1980s nostalgia along with Corey Haim and Tiffany for this very reason, although reports are a little sketchy.

Worn mostly on the head, hats provide warmth and limited protection from a variety of airborne objects.

Falls firmly into the ‘so bad, they’re cool’ bracket; had brief popularity in the summer of ’86 but were largely confined to laboratories and maths lectures.

Have you hugged one yet? It’s got a bad reputation of late, but if it’s good enough for Rocky then its good enough for us…saying that he also wore a pork pie hat. Warm, comfortable and there’s a hood on there too for good measure, the ultimate jumper!

Single handedly made people think twice about getting in the water, even Southsea was no longer safe. It spawned the classic line ‘we’re gonna need a bigger boat’ along with a legacy that has ensured its part in popular culture for years to come.

Karate Kid
‘Wax on, wax off’, Mr. Miyagi – Legend! If star Ralph Macchio could be famous for doing just one film, it would be the Karate Kid; lucky really.

Knight Rider
The Godfather of Cheese, now known simply as The Hoff, made his name in this believable drama about a crime fighter and his talking car KITT. It might have finished in 1986, but we’ll love it forever more.

Littlest Hobo
‘There’s a voice, keeps on calling me…’, rubbish show, great theme tune, truly an inspiration to us all.

Magnum P.I.
Making moustaches cool since 1980, Magnum P.I. was the crime fighting Navy Seal who drove a Ferrari 308 GTS around the streets of Honolulu; is that cool enough for you?

Messenger Bag
A simple shoulder bag, big enough to carry all your messages in.

Miami Vice
Fast boats, fast cars and fast women, Miami Vice had the lot! Full of 80s ‘style’, from the rolled up jacket sleeves to the slicked back hair, Crocket and Tubbs fought crime and looked good, damn good!

An essential part of any school kids’ P.E. kit, the plimsole has emerged as a contemporary canvas favourite.

Regular Cut T-Shirt
It’s a T-shirt that has been cut to a regular style.

Just because it’s old, doesn’t mean that it ain’t cool, that’s the retro way.

Two straps or one, the rucksack is an icon of fashion and design. Perfect for packed lunches, a can of Tizer and an A4 folder, it’s got practicality on its side too.

Shopper Bag
Look cool and be green when you go shopping with the cleverly named ‘Shopper Bag’. Some supermarkets will even give you points for not nicking their plastic bags, so these things pay for themselves!

Shoulder Bag
If you need us to explain this to you, then you probably need to go and have a word with yourself.

Smokey & the Bandit 
Burt Reynolds in a Pontiac Trans-Am, if that isn’t cool then I really don’t know what is. Add to that a drawn out police chase, a trailer load of beer and laughs-a-plenty, and you’re looking at a classic celluloid caper.

Back in the day sweatbands were essential sportswear fashion. Whether strapped around your head  a la John McEnroe  or covering your wrists, if you dared to try any physical exercise without these on you would be labeled a social leper – as true today as it was then.

Track Suit
The transition from the athletics track to the street was swift and thorough for these jackets. Made from the finest artificial materials, their popularity shocked an entire nation, as did the resulting static.

Popularised in the 19th century among the sailors aboard Tea-clipper vessels, ‘T-shirts’ managed to make their way on to dry land, where they soon became a firm fashion favourite. Although the design was adapted, the sleeves shortened and the dysentery almost entirely removed, it still managed to find popularity for decades to come.

Vintage Cut
Back in the day when the only ‘fast food’ you could get was from Wimpy, people were a lot thinner. Always eager to capitalise, clothing manufacturers soon realised that excess fabric was a bad thing, so t-shirts became smaller. When binge drinking was invented in 1995 we moved towards a regular cut shirt, just as the Americans had done before us when the Big Mac was launched. Thanks to the credit crunch, many people are too poor to eat, therefore the vintage cut is back with a vengeance. It looks good too.

Wayfarer Sunglasses
For that quintessential Buddy Holly or Roy Orbison look, then Wayfarer sunglasses are an absolute must. Featuring thick classically styled rims, which thanks to the wonders of modern technology, are available in a variety of sizes and colours – crazy.

Weird Science
Another 80’s movie classic, proving that messing with genetics in order to create the perfect woman just isn’t all that clever. What will those geeks think of next?

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