As we approach the new year, I've been a bit nostalgic. Then, recently I attended a 90s reunion at a nightclub that I basically lived in from 1999-2001, and brought me back to the golden era where boy bands, soother necklaces and platform shoes aways ruled.
1. The Shift
Okay, so when your mam eventually let you go to your first disco, you psyched yourself up for the big night and you prayed to all your Christian Slater posters that you may at long last "get the shift". You were nervous but ready. You cannot be the last one in the group not to have shifted anyone, no way! You got tips from the two most experienced girls in the group. Then there was nothing more to do than just wait. You are happily bopping along to Hanson's 'mmmbop' in your baby doll dress with matching bodysuit underneath when it comes on...the slow set. As you hear the first notes of Celine Dion's 'Think Twice' your heart starts to beat faster, everyone disperses from the dance floor, except the couples. You move to the side of the room with your friends. Then one of the girls' squeals and says "Oh my God, so-and-so is coming over to you!!" while amazingly at the same time does her best ventriloquist impression, her lips don't move from a flat crazed looking smile! "No, he's not!" you declare doing your best impression of modesty, then a tap on the shoulder.
"Will you shift my friend?" He says as he points over at a group of three stringy sweaty boys all in matching Fila jumpers, pushing each other and sniggering. Then, they push him out of the huddle, he's not bad, you think, you nod, he walks over not even a greeting passes when ye get stuck in. It's absolutely horrific and not at all what it looks like when you see Angel and Shane at it in Home and Away, but you go with it until the song ends. Next song up is Weezer's Buddy Holly, you move away from each other faster than a wig in a hurricane and that's that. You did it, you had your first shift and it was disgusting (but if anyone asks it was Oh My God, Ah-ma-zing!).
2. The Fashion & Style
Now I will probably be on my own here but I loved the clothes from the 90's (the early 90s included a lot of sky pants and polo jumpers, thanks to Mam).
Cast your eyes on these beauties!! Huge flares from Nope or Susst were CLASS. Platform shoes in all variations from runners to shoes were so cool. Nike Airs...well what can I say, I was never lucky enough to own a pair until I could buy my own, but I admired them from afar. Knitted tops with stripes and monkeys. Crop tops, especially hanker chief tops were massive with the huge flares.Tartan Flares worn with trainers were also epic. All of the above was bought mostly on our twice yearly shopping trips to Dublin. We all piled on the train (when you could afford to go on the train without having to re-mortgage your house), headed to in no particular order, "No Name", "Hero", "Angel", "Morgan", "Tokyo", "Hairy Legs", "Miss Selfridge" to name but a few.
Midriffs were the thing of the 90s - whatever you wore, trousers or skirts you would wear them with crop tops, the waists were very low, no high waist jeans in those days! Only hipster style trousers, that sat right on your hip bone. Nice. Denim was huge, wearing denim on/with or along denim Ala B*Witched, that was the height of fashion. Even now, there are 30 something girls that feel uncomfortable with the whole double denim revival. It doesn't sit right with us. The bigger the flares, the cooler the person, seeing 16-year-old girls tripping over their flares when there was a bit of a breeze was a normal occurrence in late 1990s Ireland.
I would even go so far as to say we were playing our part in keeping the streets clean, let's face it, wearing those flares in any type of damp weather resulted in wet knees. The boot cut was another popular type of cut. But one thing (that was not cool in any way) was having jeans that were too tight at the ankle, your jeans HAD to go over whatever footwear you had on. So basically if 1999 me saw 2017 me in skinny jeans, she would be mortified. Saying that if 2017 me had 1999 me's figure, I would tie her down and make her put on the skinny jeans! Platform runners were very popular in the mid to late 90s, the Spice Girls were responsible for this trend. The platform shoe was a Godsend to girls like me who were under 5" 3. They were the AV8s of 2017. They also complimented the flared hipsters as you didn't clean as much of the streets that way. The pull away tracksuit bottoms are synonymous with the 90s. I had a pair, but mine had 2 stripes instead of 3! 'Nope' had tracksuit bottoms that were in all different colours with a thick stripe down the leg, they were amazing as they were the first tracksuit bottom with a flare. God, we were cool. I even remember when I was 15 babysitting for the guts of 12 hours for 25 Irish Pounds and being able to buy a pair of royal blue and white tracksuit bottoms!
3. The Makeup
Of course, we didn't have straighteners, fake tan or contouring for a night out. We had Rimmel Heather Shimmer and a Pan Stick. We had one eyeshadow that was usually a really dark Bourjois pot (an all over dark smokey eye was very popular) and a swipe of a brown lipstick and we were good to go!
4. The Hair
Shorter hairstyles were most popular back in the day. Long sleek locks were a BIG no-no. Zigzag partings, thick highlights and choppy layers were just gorgeous! As I mentioned, GHDs were merely a twinkle in the manufacturer's eyes. If you had long hair, an iron and your best friend was your stylist.
5. The Music
So we had a mixed bag of music in the 90s. In the early 90s, you had dance music, a lot of it. The Shamen, Ultra Nate, Dr. Alban, 2 Unlimited and the list goes on. Boy bands were massive, Boyzone, Take That, Westlife, NSync, Backstreet Boys, East 17, the early 90s saw New Kids on the Block, 5ive, Blue, Hanson, Boyz to Men and All for One are just a few of the groups I can remember. I wasn't into boy bands back then, but try and stop me getting to the dance floor when the 5ive Mega mix comes on and I will hurt you! Brit pop and Indie ruled the charts in the 90s.
I was obsessed with Damon Albarn. Oasis were the idols of every teenage boy who wasn't into Metallica and Nirvana. After the Spice Girls broke the mould, more girl bands formed, All Saints, Sugababes, Atomic Kitten, Eternal, B*Witched, En Vogue, Destiny's Child and TLC. Personally, I loved All Saints edginess and of course, the fact they wore tight vest tops with massive combats were a plus. I loved dance from the late 90s, basically anything that went on a Cream or Ministry of Sound Album.
Top of the Pops on a Thursday night, the Top 30 with Larry Gogan and the Beatbox with Dave Fanning was how we got to hear these songs. Those of us who were lucky enough to have MTV watched Hitlist UK. SM:TV and CD:UK
6. TV and Movies
We didn't have smartphones, WI-FI, Netflix or YouTube in the 90s. We didn't even have DVDs yet! When we wanted to see a new movie at home, we went to the new release section in the Video Shop (yes, we had to physically go to a shop and rent films) Back then, they were officially called films by the way. We rented it, if it was in. We went home to enjoy, Scream, Sleepers or The Craft and guess what? It may have needed to be re-wound. We had to sit and wait while the WHOLE ENTIRE FILM rewound to the start...then we had to forward on the trailers and piracy warning.
In the 90s, we had lots of disaster blockbusters like Titanic, Armageddon, Independence Day, Dante's Peak, River Wild, Daylight. Then there was the Brad Pitt movies, Sleepers, Meet Joe Black, Seven, Fight Club, Interview with a Vampire, Legends of the Fall, 12 Monkeys, Devils Own, A River Runs Through It and True Romance. Of course, the most popular movies of this era was the teen horror sequel. The most popular (and the first) was Scream. The excitement when a new Scream was released in the cinema! Who can forget the Blair Witch Project? This movie caused people to hyperventilate before they even started watching it! FYI, it's shite! Final Destination was a clever movie, you literally watched everything you did after leaving the cinema and in those days I had to walk home, with no mobile...once again, after the second one it ran it's course. The early 90s produced Freddie Kruger movies. More gore than scare, but I loved them when I was about 12 or 13 years old! I would not watch them now if you paid me!
We were huge Friends fans. In our day we got to watch weekly brand new Friends, we had to wait for 7 days to find out what was going to happen after Ross said Rachel's name, would Joey ever forgive Chandler for kissing Kathy...a whole 7 days! No previews, no spoilers no watch before anyone else on a dodgy US website. We had one TV in our house and my parents were obsessed with the soaps and hourly updates of the news, so I rarely got to watch TV after 6pm so, for this reason, I never kept up to date with Dawson and Joey, Buffy and Angel, Beverly Hills 90210, Party of Five, My So-Called Life and so on, BUT give me ten minutes with the girls the next day during history and I was all caught up!
Sister Sister, Keenan and Kell, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air these shows were the embodiment of my teenage years! My hands down favourite was Only Fools and Horses. Some of my guilty pleasures from the early 90s were Fr. Dowling Mysteries and Minder!
7. Weird 90s Things
Like every generation, there were fads and trends that we had to have, no more so than then in the 90s. Tamagotchis were one of the weirdest crazes. We spent months of our young lives trying to keep a digital pet alive, while their real-life pets were ignored. I would love to know how many of these little things were confiscated by teachers during these years! Apparently, they are making a comeback. There were those plastic soothers that I can only imagine were a throwback from the early 90s rave scene, but for 12-year-old girls they were THE thing to display on a rope around your neck...the brighter the better. Mood rings were another huge fad, again I would believe this came from the My Girl movies. Everyone sold them. Yes, they made your finger go green but when it went black you had something tangible to show your parents how depressed they were actually making you...no drama like!
Plastic chokers would be worn all the time, with tracksuits or dresses, the more you layered on, the cooler you were. Butterfly clips all over your head were class, if you could get someone to put in corn rolls along with them, you were the actual image of a 1990s teenager! Basically, anything with a smiley face or ying-yang symbol worn somewhere on your body was accepted. Both boys and girls were never allowed wear a collar down, it must have been worn up and layered with further collars, also worn up. If you wore a hoodie, you pulled the collar underneath it up, that was very cool. Anything from the body shop drenched all over your skin was a must, especially White Musk and their fruity lip balms. Glints and hint of a tint and sun in were our first foray with hair colouring
So that's what the 90s meant to me! From fashion to TV, Films to Boys and everything in between! There is no doubt I'm missing some major 90s moments or things, let me know what you remember from back in the day? I am still in denial that it was 20 years ago!