A trip down memory lane: Five of the best (and worst) things about the nineties

The nineties are gone, but they are not forgotten.

It was my golden era.

Coming from the depths of the African jungle, I cut my teeth in British society during this decade. Forget swinging from trees and collecting grasshoppers, I was now making up dance routines in my garage- and I thought I was the bees knees!

And yet, nostalgia is such that when things seem too good to be true, they probably are. And so instead of looking back at this decade with rose tinted glasses, it’s worth laughing about some of the idiosyncrasies about it, too.

The radio pop chart on a Sunday

When you’ve lived in the West African bush for years, your exposure to popular culture is limited, to say the least. I’ve always been a researcher- so as an anthropological exercise (well, actually to try to develop some street cred), I listened religiously to the charts on a Sunday afternoon so I could learn some names of bands and impress my new buddies.

The negatives?

Well, trying to record songs from the radio on an ancient tape recorder is hard work. If you miss the cue, you’re sunk. There’s no second chances.

Also, we were always on the way to church during the top ten, which was less than ideal. Then of course my dad would switch to Classic FM on a whim or turn the engine off when we arrived (I mean, did he not understand how important this was??)- and inevitably I would miss out on who had taken the top spot.

Ah well – I’ve still not figured out the street cred thing anyway.

Inflatable furniture

Anyone else think these were the BEST THING EVER at the time?

I mean, I had a whole suite in my single bedroom. I think I even stretched to a pouffee at one point that I got as a gift in SHOUT magazine. This flexible furniture was great for entertaining friends; that is, until you inevitably got a puncture or leak. Heartbreaking times. Those things weren’t great quality, to be fair.

But do not despair- just in case you thought it was gone forever… inflatable furniture is now making a comeback! We can now all look forward once again to the beautiful plastic fragrances and the comfort of thigh tacky PVC!

Ironing your hair

Frizzy hair? Who needs straighteners? Why not use an actual iron? The pluses… you already have one in the house and they certainly get the hair straight as a die.

My friends and I used to walk to corner shop vainly swinging our long and luscious locks behind us. However, burn marks in the carpet and scars on your face were a hard price to pay- not to mention a few singed ends from time to time.

I think my bestie still has a mark on her floor to tell the tale…

The Spice Girls

I mean, who doesn’t want to get platforms on and dress up as a pop star? The worst thing is, though, when you look nothing like any of them you end up fighting with your friends according to which one you want to be like.

In my head I was most suited to be sweet and pretty baby spice, when in fact I was probably more of a feisty ginger spice at heart. Now, when you look back, it’s amusing to think – how did we spend so much time wondering if we were more Baby, Scary, Posh, Ginger or Sporty… I mean, was it ever really cool to wear an upcycled Union Jack-emblazoned tea towel? Hindsight is a wonderful (and cringeworthy) thing. Especially when you are doing performance to no one – in front of a mirror – on a handmade stage in your garage.

I dare you to get out some of those old videos of you dancing with friends and have a good old laugh at yourself.

10p mix-ups

I remember the good old days when you could actually get ten sweets for ten pence. Forget sleep-deprived, I was severely sweet-deprived in Africa, where the chewy sweets always seemed to taste like soap and the Mars bars smelled of plastic because they had melted and re-hardened so many times. We had tuck shop at boarding school once a month, and the selection was limited.

‘You only ate sweets once a month?’ I hear you gasp in horror.

Yep. Pretty much!

So imagine my delight the first day I saw a pick and mix counter. The joy was unspeakable, the excitement palpable. It wasn’t an anti-climax, either.

Nowadays, you take your ten sweets in a stripey bag, and just because you got to choose them yourself you’re charged a fiver for it. No wonder all the grown ups monopolise the pick and mix carts at weddings. They know a good opportunity when they see one!

Currently trying to think of something bad about 10p mixups actually being 10p…

Nope, nothing.

What do you miss about the nineties? And is it actually as good as you remember? Should we leave it there, or bring it back?

H x

Published by Hilary

Mum of two girls 👩‍👧‍👧 positive inspiration 💡 parenting 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 health 🏃‍♀️ life 💓 faith 📖

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