Late last night my mind took me on a trip down memory lane. It was a pleasant trip but one that would have been far better appreciated if it hadn’t kept me awake until 4 am this morning. A few days ago I was chatting with friends about an old tv series called ‘This life’ and as a result I decided I would rewatch it. A few episodes in and I am hooked. Some of the acting is a little over done whilst other characters are a bit wooden but the writing is brilliant and I am a real sucker for nostalgia. The little things made me laugh, like the fact the characters are not all glued to their, as yet not made, smartphones. When they get bored they don’t have social media to entertain them, they have to find other ways to stimulate themselves. Some play cards, whilst others read but much more shocking than all that, these fictional characters actually talk to each other, like a lot and face to face too!
Watching the series brought back a whole host of memories of my childhood and growing up the annoying youngest brother to my big bro and sis. Much of the 90s was spent seeking their approval and trying to gain their attention. I must have driven them crazy at times but I hung on their every word as a kid and made heros of them and their friends. It can’t have been easy for them having me hanging around all the time but they put up with me for the most part.
This is definitely the nostalgia speaking but everything was better back then, well it was in my head anyway! There seemed to be a feeling of hope everywhere as if anything could be achieved if you took your opportunities. The tunes were amazing and remain to this day the cornerstone of my musical taste. There was the club scene which I was desperate to be savvy about due to my brothers love for all things house and clubs, then there was britpop which was so much more than Oasis vs Blur.
Back then I used to think my parents were so strict which is pretty hilarious now when I think about it. They didn’t own a house so much as a youth club! If it wasn’t flooded with my brother and sister’s friends then it would almost certainly be full of mine, although it must be said my friends and I were usually busy kicking a ball around in the garden. I would walk around a lot of the time with my collar turned up like my hero Eric Cantona. I was completely in awe of this guy and when the enigmatic Frenchman retired I was equally devastated. To help ease the pain my Gran bought me a video entitled ‘Au revoir Cantona’. I must have watched that VHS everyday for a year and I’m pretty sure I wore it out. It covered his entire United career and a little bit of what went before. After Eric came Becks. I wanted to be him and let’s face it who wouldn’t? He was the new face of football and a talented one at that. If all that wasn’t enough the good looking wonder boy was going out with a Spice girl! Whether people like to admit it or not it was cool to go it with a Spice girl back then. I remember being insanely jealous of one particular friend (who I won’t name and shame) after they had the famous Beckham foils put through their hair, my fuzzy mess would never allow for that. I can vividly remember knocking long balls to my mates up the rec imitating that famous snap of the foot and left arm wave he would produce before every cross or free-kick. The so called class of 92 brought home the idea that anything could be achieved back then and never more so than when they won the treble.
Even the England football team played some good stuff at times in the 90s and this is when they gave me the first of many heart breaks. I would love to say these memories stem from Italia 90 but I was only 4 and although I can remember palpable disappointment I’d be lying if I said I understood why the country was in mourning. No, due to incompetence the England football team weren’t good enough to qualify for another tournament until World Cup 98. In between that though they were hosts for Euro 96 and my memories of that tournament still send shivers down my spine. Thanks to the Lightning Seeds and Baddiel and Skinner there was a real expectation and hope that football indeed might be coming home. We played some great football but the obvious highlights are Gazza and the dentist chair alongside the demolition of the Dutch. That Sheringham lay off to Alan Shearer remains to this day the best pass I’ve ever seen a footballer in an England shirt produce. Beating Spain in the quarter finals is still England’s last penalty shootout triumph. The less said about Gazza’s size nines, Southgate and Muller the better. They always say the first time is the worst and I don’t mind telling you how hard I cried after losing to Germany in the semis.
Outside of music and football there was the fashion or lack there of it. I find it both painful and funny to look back on photos from that decade. I, along with friends and family, must have thought I looked good. Either that or I just didn’t care! Some of it has reared its ugly head again today but it does serve to make me smile.
I suppose it could be worse. It could be the 80s!!