It seems as though modern popular culture is more nostalgic than ever. From constant reboots of TV shows, a fashion re-generation and even throwback-style music, it seems as though we’re living in the midst of 90s culture for the second time – just with mobiles and the internet.
Many aspects of the 90’s have come back into fashion recently, but there are a few things we enjoyed back then, that we weirdly long for even now.
But it is my genuine belief that the best of our human society reached its peak in the year 2000 – modern enough that we weren’t really missing out on too much when it came to technology (mobiles and the internet were in their infancy, but still readily available) but without the cynical climate of fear that seems to permeate in the modern world.
Here are 10 amazing things that we could all do in the 90s that no longer exist:
10.Go to Littlewoods and build your own breakfast
Oh, to be back in Littlewoods to build one of those big fat breakfasts. You could even make a breakfast with up to 7 or 8 different foods…oh what a time to be alive!
9.Go on MSN messenger and chat with our friends
Coming in just before the turn of the century was MSN messenger. As soon as you got back from school, you’d sign in to see who was online, and in many cases, the last question you would get asked at the end of the school day would be: “Will you be on MSN tonight?”
It started off as just a way of making competition against the AOL messenger service, but when AOL went belly-up in the early 2000s, MSN became the firm-favourite messenger for an entire generation. It started off as a fairly simple format, but then it developed with nudges, winks, emoticons and all sorts of nonsense like that. After a while, you could even play bowling and tic tac toe against your friends.
After 15 years, the service was shut down, but by this point, everybody had already moved onto other platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp.
8.Go to the shop and come out with a Push Pop
Who doesn’t remember these delights you used to get in after a hard day at school? I can always remember popping to the shop with my mum and pleading for her to buy me sweets…but in the end, my choice was always a Push Pop!
And of course, who can forget the slogans?! ‘Give life a push’, ‘Isn’t it time you pushed a Push Pop?’ and ‘don’t push ME, push a Push Pop!’. Classic stuff.
7.Go and switch on the dial up modem to connect to the internet
I’m telling you now, you kids don’t know you’re born these days! Instant Wi-Fi connection? Ha! I remember the days when your internet connection was basically powered by potatoes and coal. My generation can also still vividly remember the pain of not having an instant internet connection.
We are the very last generation who remember the internet being a new fad, and also the constraints of dial-up. Oh, and that horrible, ghostly noise it used to make, as though every time you were trying to check your e-mails, you got an emergency broadcast message to alert you that either zombies or nuclear war was coming.
I’ll remind you of a typical scenario we all had to deal with.
You tell your friends at the end of the school day – “I’ll speak to you on MSN later”, and when you get home, what do you find? Your mom on the phone for hours…and hours…and hours…and hours.
Or god forbid if you were trying to organise a night out in the 90s or early 2000s, way back before group chats when you had to make about 50 different phone calls to each and every friend.
Okay, so these days the noise does bring back a sense of nostalgia, but maybe dial-up is where it belongs – in the past.
6.Get a pair of Adidas trackies from JJB Sports
JJB Sports was always the place to go if you wanted sports merch or equipment. Perhaps you wanted to buy shin pads for cricket, a pair of goggles or the Argentina football jersey? JJB Sports was the shop.
It was always really reasonably priced too, considering these days you have to pay upwards of a hundred quid for a football shirt. If you wanted a pair of Adidas trackies, you would go to JJB’s without a second thought.
Unfortunately, bankruptcy sealed the fate of the high-street chain store and it was bought out by Sports Direct in 2012.
5.Go to Woolworths and buy a pick n’ mix
It was one of the great tragedies of the great recession of 2008 when Woolworth’s met its end – in fact, we’re still not over it. The store was a very much cherished and is still a greatly missed part of all of our childhoods – especially the iconic pick n’ mix section.
You could argue that you could get pick n’ mix pretty much anywhere back in those days, but it just wasn’t the same – honestly.
4.Go to TJ Hughes at Christmas
TJ Hughes was always favourite of mine; at Christmas especially. Not only did they do huge breakfasts like Littlewoods, but they sold pretty much any item you could possibly think of when it came to household bits and bobs.
I might be the only one thinking this, but I had no idea TJ Hughes was still going; honestly, I had no idea. I just figured that in the age of the high street which is now crumbling before our very eyes, a middle of the road discount department store would have been the first to go bust – but lo and behold, it has survived thus far.
3.Go to pour your cereal without wondering whether a toy would fall out
I’m not even sure whether this is still a thing, but it was huge back when I was a kid – you would open your cereal to see if a toy would fall out. But then, I guess, it might be a bit of a choking hazard if you really think about out – but us 90’s kids survived!
2.Go to Electronics Boutique
This is one for true 90s kids, and if you’re like me, you’ll have treasured memories of going into Electronic Boutique and picking up the latest PlayStation magazine and finding the demo disc inside.
In 2002, Electronic Boutique was rebranded as Game.
1.Renting a film from Blockbusters
This may not make sense to you, but this is one less-convenient thing that I actually do miss. You might argue that convenience is paramount in the modern world, and in that regard, there is no better time to be alive than now. With Netflix, Amazon and all the of the other online streaming services, we can get thousands, even millions of hours of entertainment at the press of a button.
But it’s all just so charmless, isn’t it? It was none of this ‘Netflix and chill’ stuff.
I’m talking about getting a takeaway, and renting a movie – the proper cosy night in. Going to Blockbusters, having a mooch around, seeing what you fancy and then enjoying a marathon of movies.
Okay, it’s less convenient, I grant you, but somehow, it meant more then. Renting a video was special.
The one thing I loved about Blockbusters in the 90s and early 2000s was the fact that you could rent the new game everybody was raving about and play it over a weekend. Even if you never planned on buying it, it just gave you something to do on a wet weekend. But if you did plan on purchasing it at some stage, it gave you a bit of a taster session.