As for one item in the show that might handily summarize Fox’s entire conception of the decade, he nodded to 1985’s Raleigh Vektar, a high-tech bike that, he said, was the product of two dual manias: BMX culture, amped up by E.T.; and the ubiquity of personal computers, in tandem with the popularity of TV shows like Knight Rider. “Throw all of those disparate elements into the mix and it results in the Raleigh Vektar,” he explained. “It’s a BMX bike with an onboard computer, styled with the sort of heroically angular retro-futurist look that could only come from ’80s design.” Kids could check their stats on the red LED control panels, or “unleash a flurry of arcade-style sound-effects as they cruised along.”
Fox is still a proud defender of 1980s youth culture. “I think the creativity and also the naïve innocence of ’80s culture is something that is worth appreciating,” he reflected. “By the ’90s, it felt like companies and managers were becoming a little too ‘clued up’ on how to do things.” He points to data gathering like market research and audience demographics, which he said became “slickly honed” the following decade. “The output that filtered out through the corporate gatekeepers grew safer and more homogenous,” Fox said. Fast-forward to the 21st century, when social-media ads are micro-targeted to your individual tastes, and it’s no wonder that Fox, and countless others, are wistful for the “unbridled creativity” of the late, great 1980s.