Monday, 8 September 2008


This is the best advert i've ever seen for a gig, i just feel like an idiot that i got the date wrong and now i won't be playing it. Thanks Ally:

I was talking to a good friend of mine earlier and he invited me to attend an evening of listening to him and another chum play indie choons for the benefit of the new students who will soon swarm in wide-eyed and licky-lipped with anticipation at the prospect of living in our lovely city for the next at least 3 years.

It got me thinking about my younger days and how utterly different it all was for the mid-90's Fresher.
You could get a pinky-brown tenner out of the hole-in-the-wall and get trollied, (it was not called binge-drinking, it was just getting drunk) a kebab and a cab home and still have change. No-one had really heard of the Internet, and email was what you got given at Uni to send lewd messages to friends ending in fnarr fnnar- how hilarious - and your email address was something unmemorable like laug4 or Some people had a computer for Word Processing or a Word Processor (posh electronic typewriter with an lcd display of about 10 characters) but that was the exception. Hey, you could still hand in your first, hurried, clumsy, schoolchild essays in biro and no-one would have batted an eyelid. Laptops and mobile phones were for students who were some or one of these; posh, rich, Italian, mature.

And the cool movies were Pulp Fiction and Goldeneye. Comedy featured Monty Python, Brasseye, Alan Partridge and Bottom videoas. I remember having real difficulty determining whether Blur or Oasis were better and it was cool to be 'from a working class background' - there were no such things as Chavs. Well, there were, but a Chav was like a tramp, really and today's Chavs were Kevs and Sharons. It was cool to be a working class Cockney or Northern Monkey. But you liked American grunge too Nirvana were still popular. In fact, you liked everything, you didn't want to be 'pigeon-holed'. And maybe you liked Take That to be 'ironic' or not! In fact, sarcasm was really cool...NOT! Music was famous because it sold well and had good promo. No-one had been voted in or downloaded. You could get vinyl or c.d or cassette. Not everyone had a CD player and were still content with the ghetto blaster they got for their 15th birthday. And you made mix-tapes for people you liked so they could play it on their Sony Walkman. The feminists (yes there were some) amongst us would have taken mild offence at Walkman.

You asked people their A-level results and an A was pretty impressive because they were a little rarer then. Fresher's bars boasted a pound a pint and the new phenomena of alcoholic lemonade (Two Dogs) and cream soda (Vanilla Shots, anyone?). Kate Moss was a proper model, and a mysterious only slightly accessible goddess of grunge fashion. Girls wore leggings but with baggy tops and slouchy bags. You might wear some tight Levis and a velvet jacket or Adidas ANYTHING because it was still cool. And bunches and cutesy flower hair clips, plaits and tie dye, cow and zebra prints and GAP. Boys - big grandad tops and gingham, preppy shirts with Kickers if they were going out and either Reebok classics or skate wear. Radical.

We drove ROVER Metro's Maestro's and Mini's. We filled them up with unleaded which was about 65-70p per litre. We decorated our rooms with Blur, Pulp, Oasis, Spice Girls, U2 etc posters and lots of plastic sunflowers and yellow and orange and lime green anything. Some of us may have had a poster that if you squinted at it right, would produce a 3d image that leapt out at you in amazing technicolour reality. Your train to Falmer or Brighton campuses slammed its doors and you could hide in the toilets from the ticket man or woman - no barriers, back then. There was no five a day either. You ate Economy food because it made financial sense even be a Veggie for those reasons. We'd just come out of a recession, today's students are probably just coming into one.

There was no Big Brother - that was from a book called 1984 which might have been on your GCSE or A level English reading list. Celebrities, were famous for being an actor, singer, artist. And the majority of new students bonded over big communal viewings of The X Files, at a time when we were still in awe of these things. In the summer you had a choice of about 3 festivals but they didn't really sell out then so it didn't matter. You could smoke inside and complain about the smokers and how just one visit to the pub made you smell of fags. People would be indignant about people blowing smoke over them and smokers would just shrug and tell them to go to the non-smoking area. And closing time was 11, that was it. Maybe you went on afterwards (to go clubbing) but it shut at 2am. In Brighton you went to the Escape, The Richmond, The Gloucester, The Warehouse, The Basement, The Event, The Joint, The Shrine, The Concorde, The Zap. Some of us were very nostaligic about the seventies then, so lava lamps, flares and nights like Charlie's Angels and funk nights at Casablancas were really popular. And not everyone had a tattoo - it was still pretty unusual and alternative then, as were piercings. And if your flat cost £60 per week, that was expensive.

For your hangovers,there were no Starbucks, Costa or Nero's you just had a coffee in a cafe or maybe Puccini's in Brighton. You had burgers or sandwiches but no-one really had panini's. You might save up your Boots points for sandwiches. And Churchill square at this time, was tumble-down shopping precinct with puddles and an overturned shopping trolley. The bus was 70p for a single. The Sainsbury's in Lewes Road was exciting because it had a Travelator! Just like Gladiators (the first time round..)

Politically, we had the Tories to really rail against. But to me, they were just a boring bunch of out-of-touch, grey, hypocritical idiots who were rightly ridiculed in animated satirical programme such as Spitting Image. And some of us would complain about our Daily Mail reading parents, wishing and not expecting that a Labour government could be elected to make things fairer and better.. hmm

You couldn't fly to an overseas destination for less than a few hundred quid either, which made Inter-railing so popular...but you could always get a part-time job in the holidays, that with your overdraft and Student Loan and some help from home and you were ok. Fees were paid for us back then..and you might have left with 3-5k debt including a loan. We were cross that you coudn't sign on in the holidays and automatically get a full grant like those students before us.. We didn't know we were born, did we?

ah well, just some memories.. I will be thinking about all these whilst attending Matt and Dave's night at Hector's House on Monday 8th Sept. I will be the one in the corner, replacing my walkman batteries and insisting that my pint is 99p. Oh well, Oasis have released a new single. No-one told them that it's not 1995 anymore it seems...

Cut Copy - Unforgettable Season

1 comment:

digit:ally said...

i am such an old girl..thank you for indulging me in my nostlagic ramblings x