9 Reasons the 90's Was The Greatest Decade…Ever
At the risk of sounding like the old guy who shouts at children and refuses to hand back a football after it grazes my fence, I’ve compiled a list of items that any generation of children born in the late nineties or later will never be able to fully appreciate.
Well what do you expect? I turned 30 this year, it was inevitable that I would eventually start compiling lists, and occasionally shaking my fist in frustration while writing them.
9. Grabbing the last copy in the video shop on the day of release.
Not too long ago, when the internet was nothing more than a burden on your mother’s telephone line, and a stream was something you tried to avoid your dog jumping into or your friends pushing you into, rental video shops reigned supreme.
Yes boys and girls, at one point you had to actually leave the house to rent a movie, but what a feeling when you walked in knowing the movie you had coveted for six months was finally to be held in your grasp.
Something even more beautiful could occur though, sometimes, just sometimes, you would grab the last in store copy. It felt like the stars had aligned for a brief moment, allowing you the Machiavellian satisfaction of knowing that no one else who came in searching for celluloid treasure would go home happy that night.
A modern comparison?
Binging a Netflix box-set on day of release?
Pah, doesn’t even come close.
8. Buying a CD or Cassette single
Look I wouldn’t say Gnarls Barkley single-handedly destroyed the act of buying CD singles, but history will dictate that the Danger Mouse and Cee Lo Green single ‘Crazy’ was the first to reach No1 on digital downloads alone.
This one act almost certainly destroyed the enjoyment of queuing in John Menzies to ensure Mr Blobby reached Christmas No.1, or picking a side in the infamous Blur vs Oasis single battle, holding your CD or cassette tape aloft in the HMV queue, safe in the knowledge that your one sale might shift the balance of power in the fiercely fought contest. (I still think Oasis were robbed).
Nowadays does anyone even buy singles anymore, what’s the point when you can listen to them a million times on You Tube, Spotify etc? (Or use other more nefarious and devious methods to attain ownership of new songs.)
7. The Top 40 Charts Actually Being Relevant
Although I’m sure it’s lovely to achieve a no.1 chart song, it no longer holds the power it once did. With X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent and The Voice (maybe not The Voice), a No.1 can literally be brainwashed into the minds of the viewing public, regardless of the quality of the track on offer. Getting to No.1 used to be something to cherish, and the track almost always got there on merit alone (and an enormous amount of pleading by the artist on various shows across various channels).
Who can forget Bryan Adams’ “Everything I Do I Do It For You” staying at the top of the charts for sixteen weeks, selling fifteen million singles in the process, (oh and each one bought in a shop). Pretty much guaranteeing Bryan his near 30 year career in the industry, and forever a place in our hearts.
Nowadays a no.1 would be lucky to guarantee the singer, dinner and bus fare back to obscurity.
6. A Premier on Television
Fair enough you might have had to wait four years, but discovering the psychological horror movie your parents forbade you from watching was premiering on terrestrial television, and you had not only a television, but also a recordable video player in your room. Clear the schedule people, Friday night was going to be a late one.
Followed by immediate terrifying regrets thirty minutes in, and having to secretly sleep with the lights on and with plastic bed sheets for the rest of your life.
Nowadays? The internet provides young people with beheadings, maimings and the aftermaths of all manner of real life atrocities, each one a mere mouse click away. Poor Freddie Krueger can’t even get a look in.
6. A Cheeky Bit of Nudity on TV
Remember the illicit thrill of watching a programme that started pre watershed, but more importantly finished post watershed, and in the second half unleashed violence, a cheeky nipple, bra and pants or a steamed up shower scene?
This would inevitably prompt 8 trillion complaints from concerned adults, who believed young people were immediately at risk of becoming sex crazed violent criminals, and who thought about nothing but sex 25 hours a day.
Nowadays, the most popular programmes are sold on the basis of nudity and violence, the majority of pop stars sing about sex in almost every video whilst writhing around wearing less clothes than some people wear in the shower.
5. Disposable Cameras on Holiday
The halcyon days of old when cameras and photos were considered a luxury and only really needed for special occasions and to look back and laugh at holiday photos.
The genuine thrill of going on holiday with a few disposable cameras, and capturing some candid but mostly embarrassing photos. By the end of the holiday no-one could remember what moments had been captured, and what moments had escaped, to be forgotten for all eternity.
Nowadays, people post so many photos on Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook that it feels like you are literally there on holiday with them. Like a creepy voyeur, looking at intimate sunset photos of that guy and girl you met once at a random party.
In the past the only person you had to worry about was the Boots photo developer and whether they had made secondary copies to blackmail you and your friends in the near future.
Now it’s pretty much everybody with a social media account and any form of mobile.
4. The Very Real Fear of Missing a Series Finale
In days gone past, there was a very real possibility that you could watch an entire series, week by week, hour by hour, wracking up the tension until it seemed the entire country was sitting down to watch the series finale (Dream Team on Sky One) but because of some unforeseen situation (visiting relatives), you instead missed the ‘event of the year’.
Unless you were lucky, and managed to catch the repeat broadcast at an entirely ungodly hour, would be doomed forever, unaware who lived, died, who sacrificed and who triumphed against all odds. Shattering your loyalty and dedication to the programme in the process.
You could always borrow somebody’s Dad’s skeezy video tape, and risk it cutting off, one third of the way through after he changed the channel to catch the last twenty minutes of Robot Wars.
Nowadays? Catch Up, Online, Playback, need I say more? You could even watch it saved on your mobile phone, on a train, travelling in Honolulu if you’re completely desperate.
3. Eating Food Without The Necessity of Photographic Evidence
Ah yes, imagine a time when you didn’t visually document your eating patterns to the entire world. Newer generations will never understand the pleasure of simply sitting down to eat and enjoy their meal while it’s still warm in the middle.
Nowadays, Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat are riddled with people who have never sat down to their meal still warm from the oven, as a circumstance of them spending more time attempting to get a ‘great Instagram angle’ than the amount of time they spent actually preparing the meal.
2. Making ‘Reality’ Friends Over Virtual Ones
It seems that I apparently hold a grudge against social media, (Oh no, I actually have became an old man) but it used to be more important to have actual friends, whose door you would chap with the sole intention of running about outside and climbing trees. Can you ever imagine a group of naughties born teenagers going off to discover their own Goonies style adventure? Or to actually revel in getting dirty, after scoring the winner at a game of 17 a side in your local park?
Nowadays, they’d be unable to kick their legs above knee height on account of their skinny jeans, be unable to fill the pitch because they have no friends in reality, but don’t worry they’ve got 655 virtual friends on Facebook. I mean why go outside when you can check out what new haircut Justin Bieber has just unveiled… and what’s ‘The Goonies’?
1. A World Without Mobile Phones
The Horror, but yes. There used to be a time when you had to plead to use the house phone, whilst running the risk of another family member secretly listening in to your phone call and knowing all your secrets.
In all fairness a world without mobile phones is almost unthinkable in modern times, and the benefits it has brought to mankind are all but infinite, but seeing a ten year old child with ownership of an actual mobile phone is just weird.
Nowadays there’s a genuine term called nomophobia offered by the psychologists Bianchi and Philips, who say that people can suffer psychological anxiety, self confidence issues and bouts of depression as a result of withdrawal symptoms when they are unable to use their phone.
Unsure of what it looks like? Watch a late nineties/ early naughties child’s behaviour when they realise their phone is about to run out of battery, and they’ve no way of charging it.
So there you have it folks, what are your thoughts? Have I missed anything off the list? Let me know.