Laserquest Flasher explained..........
Come with me, if you will, on a journey back in time. Back, in fact, to 1989. Here we go – twinkly, winkly music and wibbly wobbly screen wipe. There – are we all here safe and sound? Good. So – the Laserquest Flasher story, eh?
It’s 1989. I’m not quite out of my teens. The charts were full of Kylie, London Boys and Debbie Gibson. Madonna was causing controversy with Like a Prayer and Anneka Rice was flitting all over the country in a helicopter directed by hapless contestants desperate to find the clues and ‘stop the clock!’
Fashion was.......eclectic. On the day in question I was dressed in a crisp white blouse with shoulder pads so wide that, from behind, I probably looked like an armchair. This was teamed with a tight black mini-skirt and four-inch white stilettos. Classy. In my head I looked like the model in the first picture below. I thought I looked like the dog’s bollocks. In reality, I probably looked more like a tramp’s breakfast but, hey, this was 1989. We all looked weird.
The day at work had gone OK. Boring as usual and I was clock-watching, waiting to go home. Five o’clock rolled round and I headed out of the door. To my surprise, my boyfriend at the time (not HOTH – sorry to disappoint everyone!) was waiting for me outside with a bunch of his mates from where he worked. He didn’t usually meet me after work, so this was new. ‘We’re going Laserquest’ he announced. Fair enough, I thought, I can call my mates and meet them somewhere. ‘No,’ he said ‘We’re ALL going to Laserquest’. Nothing was going to change his mind on this. Oh. Poo.
For the uninitiated, Laserquest is a game where you run around with body armour covered in sensors and people shoot at you with laser beams in (toy) guns. If your sensor is hit by someone else’s laser, they score a point, you get a point against you. It’s played in near pitch-dark with UV lights on to navigate by. It sort of resembled the second picture inside. All funky and futuristic. I’m assured it’s great fun. SBOTH loves it.
The snag is, as I’m sure you know, that white clothing GLOWS under UV lights. It is practically visible from space. And there I was, in a pure white blouse and white stilettos. As soon as I set foot in the place I lit up like a sodding Christmas tree. It was like turning on a giant torch. Sort of like the guy in the third picture. In short, an absolute perfect victim.
Seemingly as one, practically the entire pack of participants turned and started shooting at me. I couldn’t have been a better target if I’d had a giant cross painted on my back and a bull’s eye on my forehead. The ‘pew, pew, pew’ of all the guns firing in my direction and the bleeping of my sensors registering hits filled my ears. It was like ‘Running Man’ meets ‘Platoon’.
‘Sod this’ I thought and made a break for the exit. Now, let me tell you, HOLLYWOOD LIES!!! It is not possible to sprint like Usain Bolt in drag while wearing four inch heels and a mini skirt. It’s barely possible to get anything more than a trot. A determined tortoise could have overtaken me.
Then, suddenly, at the top of a slope, I lost my footing. My treacherous heels skidded out from underneath me and I slammed down on my back. Winded, I slid helplessly from top to bottom of the slope. My skirt, short to begin with, slid with me. But it slid UP. All the way up around my waist, exposing my lacy underwear and (I am cringing at the memory) my stockings and suspenders to everyone in the immediate vicinity.
I briefly toyed with the idea of pretending I was unconscious but instead struggled to my feet amidst cat-calls and wolf-whistles, trying to rearrange my clothes and restore some dignity. My face was burning with embarrassment – you could have cooked bacon on it. My blouse was covered in dirt and muck, my stockings laddered. I handed back my Laserquest gear without making eye contact with the sniggering bloke behind the counter and stalked out of the place, head held high.
I walked out to an explosion of cheers, applause and laughter. I looked up to where people were pointing. To my utter horror I noticed TV cameras were broadcasting footage of games currently being played to the queue outside and the rest of a very busy Manchester street. Everyone, everyone, had seen me crash, smash and most of all – spectacularly flash. Something like fifty or so (although it seemed at the time like half of the city) had watched as I made a complete fool of myself and shown them what my mother had told me never to show in public. I was mortified. Not even waiting for my boyfriend and his gang of goons I tottered off, face glowing, and hailed a cab home, pretending that nothing had happened. He was not happy that I had ‘shown him up’ but frankly, I couldn’t have cared less what he thought. I’m just happy ‘You’ve Been Framed’ wasn’t on telly at the time.
I have never, ever set foot in Laserquest since. SBOTH has had two parties there but even the thought of it makes me shudder. I think I may have PTLQFS (post-traumatic Laserquest Flasher Syndrome). Though, to be fair, most people who saw me unmentionables have probably got it as well. I could claim that I never wore outfits like that again but I’d be lying. The following day I was probably in chinos, stripy t-shirt and a gold-buttoned blazer. Come on, this was the eighties! The decade that taste forgot. Well, forgot me, anyway.
Later days, people!