Dramatic weather, DM boots in fashion, football fever, landline phone calls, streaming hayfever… during the last week I have been successfully transported back to a simpler time in my life – the 90’s – when the anticipation and expectation of the future meant that every moment of the present was lived in a heightened state of exhilaration….or so it feels with hindsight.
When I look back at my teenage years there is a sepia tinged haze, as if I’ve been using the Hipstamatic App in my mind to create the memories. One of the first images that comes to mind is of me actually skipping through a field of buttercups with a boyfriend…as if that ever happened! I know for a fact that I was actually quite miserable for most of my teenage years, but somehow the Pollyanna in me has taken over and redefined that decade as one of joy and hope. I think on balance it probably was, so am happy to go with this interpretation… as long as I can recognise the pain and difficulty that was surely there, if not actually than surely in a hormonal teenage angsty way…all that longing to grow up and desire to remain a child was so confusing!
If I think about how I viewed the world it horrifies me how naïve I was while doing such worldly things in my quest to become a woman. For example, here are three things which I strongly believed:
- That men and women had equal opportunities in all aspects of life.
- That there could never be another war, that genocide couldn’t ever happen again. (we learnt about history at school but not current affairs so I had no idea these things were actually happening as I sat in class)
- That we had invented everything we could possibly need in the world so there was no point in inventing new things and technology would not advance much further.
Can you believe what a moron I was? Sometimes though I would love to still believe these things, if only for a moment. This is why a return to 90’s sensibilities has been a welcome distraction this week.
I promised myself I wouldn’t go on about ‘pickpocketgate’, but from the initial gut-wrenching feeling of anger and failure having lost every contact I’ve ever had in 2.5 seconds, I have now reached a state of transcendental acceptance about said loss and feel grateful to have had the opportunity to let it all go. My current date is not scared to use the phone. He has called me a few times for a chat this week, on the landline, and there is something so ‘normal’ about answering the phone and not knowing who it’s going to be, and then just having a chat about nothing in particular. I know this is hardly a revelation, but when you are so used to being connected you are just, well, connected, and there is nothing you can do about it so having a chat often feels like a chore. Not having a phone has also meant that I haven’t been able to bail on appointments with a single text like I might have done in the past – you make an arrangement and you have to be there, you can’t even be late, I like the finality of that.
I also realised this week that I have been essentially recycling the same favourite outfit for twenty years. Flowery dress and heavy boots is my staple go-to look. It was only when I caught classic teen rebellion flick ‘Pump Up The Volume’ at the weekend, in which Christian Slater plays a late night radio DJ who fake masturbates to his listeners (really), that I noticed I had copied Samantha Mathis’ character’s look and have never looked back, or, clearly, forward. Not an easy thing to admit, but fortunately fashion does return, and DM’s are back…if only I hadn’t chucked those amazing bottle green ones.
When you spend at least 40 hours a week in an office for years you start to forget the power and beauty of the weather, especially in London where it is usually bland. Back in the 90’s though I saw so much more of it. Much of it was spent outside on the Upper school playing field in the wind and the rain, knees knocking together and knuckles barely able to grip the enormous hockey stick. I stood there on the left wing singing ‘More Than Words’ under my breath, fantasising about the novels I would write and how it was ok to be tortured in this way because one day I would use it for inspiration. Then, one day, the ball suddenly appeared at my feet and I had no choice but to run with it…as I heard the crowd and my teammates going wild, I reached the goal and swinging with all my might took a shot… GOAL!!!!! Only it wasn’t. When I looked up to bask in the glory my teammates were just walking away shaking their heads. Oh yes, I had scored a spectacular own goal. As you can imagine that was the end of my sporting career, but I do miss the weather those forced games sessions subjected us to, time to get out of London more often.
When I was living in it, I thought the 90’s was a nothing decade. There was no fashion or music to define us (of course there was, I just couldn’t see it because I was it) and the disenfranchised youth really had nothing to be disenfranchised about. But now I recognise that was the beauty of it. Compared to the world today it was innocent, and in 20 years time the world today will seem innocent to the grown ups of the future, that’s just the way it goes. So be it.
I had a joke about Southgate taking a penalty (remember Euro ’96?) to end on, but sadly times have not changed that much and the England team have bowed out already so the joke might be in poor taste. Instead I’ll leave you with a link to THE song of the 90’s which still has a tinge of rebellion to it, compared to the manufactured music of today.*
*Gawd – I knew I couldn’t finish this post without sounding like a grumpy old woman saying ‘wasn’t like this in my day’, sorry!