Furbies are selling out, the hottest ticket in town is the Spice Girls musical and we’re all dressing like the Fresh Prince Of Bel Air. Yes, the ’90s are back. But should we be pleased? Two writers argue it out…
Clockwise from top left: Blur, Friends, Liam Gallagher and Robbie Williams, Dawson’s Creek, a Furby, Mr Blobby, The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air, Scary Spice, a Smirnoff Mule
Says Isabel Mohan, 31
When I heard we were in the midst of a ’90s revival, I was confused – because I never really left the decade that brought us This Life, Tamagotchis and Whigfield. How can enough time have passed for it to be cool again? Surely that would mean I’m in my early 30s…? Oh.
It’s true though, I love the ’90s, and it’s not just a fad. Everyone else might be jumping on the bandwagon now, dressing like an extra from The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air and buying a Furby for Christmas, but for me this is a lifestyle.
Most of the music on my iPod (if only I still had a Discman) is by bands whose fame peaked in 1996 – The Bluetones, Shed Seven, Kula Shaker. Also, to this day my favourite TV shows of all time are Dawson’s Creek, My So-Called Life, Friends and, um, Sabrina, The Teenage Witch.
With my flared cords and Pulp T-shirt, I thought I was too cool for the Spice Girls, but I adored their shoes. It saddens me that, these days, Buffalo boots are a fashion no-no. Why?! They have all the advantages of skyscraper heels but are as comfy as trainers. I’m proud to admit I lived in mine until about 2003.
My social life began in the mid-to-late ’90s. Therefore, try as I might to sip on an oh-so-sophisticated red wine, what I really want is an alcopop, ideally a Smirnoff Mule, but sadly you can’t buy them very easily any more. If there’s genuinely a ’90s revival, someone should remedy that immediately.
The thing that makes me most nostalgic about the ’90s, though, is the way we communicated. Like everyone, I’m a Facebook addict, but it’s a poor substitute for my enormous network of pen pals. Getting a new email just can’t compete with the buzz that came whenever the postman delivered me a pile of colourful letters. In possibly the most ’90s turn of events of all, I actually met my best friend through the Blur fan club pen pal page in 1995.
Just before the decade was over – in September 1999 – I sent my first text message, to my first proper boyfriend. So I didn’t have much experience of the dating game in the ’90s, but I’d imagine it was less fraught than the perils of dating in the digital age. Waiting by the phone was a bit tedious, sure, but no bigger a waste of time than stalking exes on Facebook or analysing the number of kisses on a text. That is exhausting.
And the things I don’t miss? Mr Blobby, joss sticks and John Major. The ’90s can keep those. The rest, I’ll be sticking with until I’m in my 90s.
Clockwise from top left: Raphael from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Big Breakfast, a Marathon bar, The Bodyguard, a Tamagotchi,Pulp Fiction, that Wonderbra ad,Whigfield, a young Becks, Teletubbies, Pop-Tarts, Right Said Fred, George Bush Senior with John Major, Ghost, Titanic
Says Anna Hart, 32
The ’90s being back pains me for two reasons: first, I’m far from done with the fun-loving trashy decadence of the ’80s (batwing sleeves! Bright blouses! Fierce hair!). Second, well, the ’90s were rubbish. Hear me out: there are some things I love – Dr Martens boots, Blur, Friends – but the reason we hold them dear is because they were tiny islands of good taste and quality in a vast sea of rubbish.
Don’t talk to me about Britpop. Remember The Urban Cookie Collective, Right Said Fred, Shania Twain and the 10 long weeks when Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You dominated (ruined) The Chart Show? The Bluetones only had a hit because we were starved of good music.
And don’t bother bringing up My So-Called Life, when we were mainly stuck watching Noel’s House Party, That’s Life! and Fort Boyard. In the ’90s, being a celebrity looked embarrassing.
As for the ’90s fashion revival… do we really want to go down that road again? OK, combat boots and Converse trainers made a nice alternative to heels, but have we honestly forgotten about shell suits, pinstripe Kookai skirts, ditchwater-dull slip dresses and the tyranny of Fruit Of The Loom sweatshirts? It was seriously difficult to look good in the ’90s. Make-up was minimal, hair was limp or (shudder) undercut, and we all smelled like Impulse, Lynx or CK One.
I was a grunge kid, because ripped combat shirts, green hair, tartan trousers and DM boots were the only things I could find that weren’t drab and boring. And I’m glad I was a teenager back then, because teenagers are the only people who can pull off grunge.
And have we all forgotten what the ’90s felt like? For starters, we had John Major and George Bush Senior on the news every night – two of the most uninspiring politicians in history. Computers were joyless, giant-sized infuriating devices, rather than the sexy, whizzy gadgets we all now own. We ate Pop-Tarts, Pot Noodles and Chicken Tonight, and only posh people had heard of pesto. If we wanted to speak to a friend/hot guy on the phone, we had to risk speaking to their mum/brother/flatmate first. Nice old pubs had been converted into disgusting strobe-lit “style bars” (they’ve since been re-converted, at great expense, back into old pubs, with more expensive food – aka gastropubs).
I’m all for a little bit of ’90s nostalgia, but we need to admit that we’ve done a serious Photoshop job on our memories.
- Tell us what you think on Twitter #FabMag90s