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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 June 2007, 11:12 GMT 12:12 UK
What the 90s means to you
Anneka Rice
Challenge Anneka was a hit
The Magazine is compiling a people's history of modern Britain - featuring your written memories and photos. We've done the 1950s, 60s, 70s and 80s. To finish, it's time for the 90s.

It was the decade of the Gulf War, the dotcom boom, New Labour and the death of Princess Diana.

For some of you, the decade did not conjure up one particular memory but a catalogue of different things.

Here is a selection of your thoughts about what best sums up the 90s for you.


1990s = Spice Girls, Britney, Christina, Man Utd dominating English Football, Labours rise to power summed up in three words 'Education, Education, Education!' Power Rangers, The Simpsons and Turtles rocked our TVs. Things were a lot different then!
Sean , Newry, Co Down, Ireland

I remember Blair being elected 'Things can only get better'. How wrong we were. I remember the music, either you liked Oasis or Blur but never both. I remember getting up one morning to watch TV, must have been about 14 at the time and all the channels were covering Diana's death. I remember when The Simpsons came to our shores. I remember Blind Date and Challenge Anneka. I remember the pog phase. I remember Edward Scissorhands, it scared me to death! I remember playing sonic on the Playstation. I remember Absolutely Fabulous.
Louise, Doncaster/England

I'm only 19-years-old but I remember quite a few things from the 1990s. Firstly, the films. The Lion King, GoldenEye, Toy Story, Men In Black and Titanic are just five classics I can remember enjoying. Secondly, the music. Oasis's Definitely Maybe had to be my favourite album of the 90s. Pulp's A Different Class was also extraordinary. Thirdly, the events. I vaguely remember the death of Princess Diana. When my mum found out she cried for most of the day... A personal highlight of the 90s was my holiday to Florida. It's a time I'll never ever forget. I just wish I had a time machine!
Mick Broomhead, Buxton

All night dance parties, cheap air travel, lads mags, techno/house music, the internet, Oasis, snowboarding, Playstation, CD's, Superstar DJs, kite surfing, ecstasy, The Premiership, Tony Hawk, fairtrade, TV chefs make cooking cool! Need I say more - sooo many things in one decade making life better and better and better in the UK. The 90s was the best decade ever when everyone remembered how to have fun once more in a non-violent, 'just for the hell of it' manner. I loved the 90s.
Scott, Stirling

MORE 90s MEMORIES
Hmm, I remember Twin Peaks, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, Stargate SG1, The X Files, Lois and Clark, Babylon 5, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Quantum Leap, Seaquest, Sliders on TV. Also musically All Saints, Black Box, Take That, Oasis, Blur, some guy called Robbie Williams, Betty Boo, The Verve, Sheryl Crow, Shania Twain....other memories, I started to learn belly-dance and play the harp (though the latter got stolen), attended the Wolf 359 sci-fi convention in Blackpool.....I remember the first Gulf War, John Major coming to power, Labour coming into power, Bill Clinton, founding the Berengaria Order of Druids, being ordained as a Priestess in the Fellowship of Isis, attending my first ceremony at Avebury and Stonehenge....
Sarah Rooke, Portsmouth, Hampshire, UK

Our son was born in October 1990, my partner and I had just managed to buy our first house, interest rates were around 13 to 15% very expensive time! Nelson Mandela was finally freed and eventually elected as President of South Africa and I think Walesa became president of Poland. We were married in 1991, church wedding in Wales, wonderful. I think they found a Bronze Age man frozen in the Alps. We had great fun music, the Spice Girls, Right Said Fred. Rap started to come in more as did hip hop. Everyone wanted a prestige car BMW, Merc, Porche, Jag. We then had the problem of negative equity and people all around were handing in their keys to their mortgage companies, very sad. We also had the pension misselling to deal with as well as the endowment policies. Holidays become more affordable as you could book 'online' and get cheap flights, cheap car hire -fantastic. Emails made it so easy to contact family abroad. Booze cruises became the thing to stock up on wine as it became more popular.
D Avery, Bushey

Gold was out, silver was in. Highlights were out, curtains were in. Kitsch was gone and 'retro' was a growing quirk. We finally understood that ROM and RAM were not a tinny synthesiser backbeat. For us graduates of the mid-90s, which was suddenly almost anyone, career advice was 'what are you interested in?' and not 'how do you want to make a living?' We had missed the boom of the 80s, were just too early to take full advantage of the dot-com era and housing was starting to become out of reach - yet we did come through a bit more level-headed and realistic than the generation before (unless you'd gone off your nut on a rave of course:).
Spencer Payton, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Acid house music, raves, more holidays abroad, death of Leah Betts from taking ecstasy, hot summer of 1995, getting married, Labour coming to power, death of Princess Diana, supermodels known just by their first names - Cindy, Claudia, Linda etc
Jane, Hawarden, Flintshire

The 90s remind me of extremely baggy t-shirts (lilac of course for girls and boys) very, very baggy jogging bottoms tucked into very large slouched socks with the biggest trainers with the largest tongues you could buy with the tongues hanging out ridiculously of course. Oddly it was only trainer tongues that were allowed to "hang out" in the 90s everything else had to be tucked in! Imagine how exciting it was when "bodies" came out, it saved all that time tucking in vast swathes of material into your high-waisted jeans, assuming of course you could do the darn things up! Most nightclub toilets up and down the land were full of drunk females begging for someone to help them do their poppers up.....ewww! Of course if you couldn't do them up the magical new substance called lycra pinged them up round your armpits - good look! Hairspray is another memory, the bigger your fringe quiff/board/disaster the better...until it rained! Also girls hair HAD to be permed or scrunched to within an inch of its life. Benetton jumpers (tucked in) and holographic necklaces (in gold, the more gold the better!) and finally oompaloompa style foundation. Fantastic!? Luckily for me by the end of the 90s I had grown out of this phase into what else... GRUNGE!
Karen, Milton Keynes

What I remember about the 90s, the first Gulf War broke out on my birthday bummer... grunge music... death of Diana such a pity and loss for us all... Tony Blair became prime minister... oh my god, what the world has come to... moving away from England... one day I will be back
Lucy Fowler, Summerville South Carolina, USA originally Mildenhall Suffolk

There was plenty of good times. Met my wife, had the best walk home in the rain ever. Had my kids. Got cable TV and a Playstation. Struggled with money but started to realize that it isn't as important as the 80s made it feel. Despite the hard times recovering from the Thatcher demolition job of British society most of the people I remember where good people who worked hard and loved life. If you look hard enough you can see she didn't destroy everything
Ste, Ontario, Canada

After the heady days of Margaret Thatcher it was a politically rather dull decade. Her successor, that amiable political nonentity John Major, has left no real impact on history, apart from his disastrous rail privatisation. Nevertheless it was a decade that was freer, our lives were less regulated than they have become since, and there was less obsession with dogma and political correctness than is the case now. There was far less immigration. People tended to take more responsibility for their own actions: for example nobody moaned then about getting charged for going overdrawn at the bank, which was correctly accepted as the penalty for failing to manage the account competently. Public services, particularly the transport system, seemed to work better in those days; the railways especially had were better run and more reliable in the last few years of state ownership than they have been over the succeeding years.
James Blair, Buckinghamshire

Hated the 90s. During the Gulf War there was a ban on anything associated with war in the media - even in pop music - Massive Attack had to change their name to Massive. Strange how this wasn't repeated when the Iraq war started. My sister went into the Army and was on standby to go to the former Yugoslavia but fortunately didn't go in the end, but I had friends who went, which was worrying, and they came back different people. Music was awful - hated The Spice Girls and Britpop, and reaction to Princess Diana's death seemed to show the long-lost optimistic mood of the 80s. The Millennium Bug threatened to wipe everything...but didn't, and then there was Tony Blair. I'm glad that decade has past.
Minky, UK

Born in 1992, I was only eight years old when we left the nineties behind but I remember the best parts! Watching Princess Di's funeral on telly, Pulp, multi-coloured jackets, leggings and t-shirts! The Teletubbies, confusing John Snow, news presenter with Jon Major, PM! Good times, good times. This decade has nothing to set it apart from the others - I'm proud to be a nineties baby!
Keira B., Bedfordshire, England

The hang-over of 1980s big hair, still evident in the early 1990s. Gravesend market's large stock of hideous shell suits. Everyone seemed to wear really dodgy patterned jumpers and sometimes really ornate sequinned ones that my parents call 'Canvey Island jumpers' after where we used to live. The excitement caused by tamagotchis, pogs, Pokemon, and the Spice Girls trading photographs which were all eventually banned from school. Watching Top of the Pops and Live and Kicking every week, replaced later by SM:TV Live which was obviously the best. When Labour came to power in 1997 I read the election manifesto and crossed all my fingers for their victory even though at eight I had little idea of what it was all about! I also remember berating my sister for having no interest in the Northern Ireland peace process as most kids wouldn't. I was quite aware of what was going on in the 1990s but I probably saw it through rose-tinted glasses, political strife seemed far removed from the likes of me.
Amy Sanchez, Kent

The 1990s started with the demise of Margaret Thatcher and the hated poll tax - a good start to the decade! I remember well when John Major became prime minister and his winning the general election in 1992. I liked John Major as he was less strident and aggressive than Thatcher. By 1997 his government had run out of steam and then Tony Blair and Labour took power, winning with a landslide election. The era of political correctness and other insanities had arrived! I remember well Princess Diana, her divorce from Prince Charles and her constant efforts to upstage Charles, at which she was, and continues to be even today, very successful. She was a superb ambassador for Great Britain and her death in 1997 was a real tragedy. I remember the arrival of the CD and the phasing out of vinyl records, then the arrival of the internet and the mobile phone revolution - everybody just had to have one. The 1990s was for me personally a very happy decade.
Gill Price, Risca, South Wales

I got to visit England twice in the 1990s - in 1990 and 1996. On the first visit it was Pizza Land Pizza, coleslaw sans mayonnaise at Bigum's, a redone and less cosy Oxford railway station, West End theatre ("Man of the Moment" and "Shadowlands"), a visit to Haworth on Charlotte Bronte's birth anniversary, the court clothes exhibit at Kensington Palace, sheltering from a hailstorm under a Piccadilly doorway, lunch at the Bear and for dessert a chocolate chip cookie from Safeway in Stratford-on-Avon, made more interesting because Safeway stores used to be here . . . and other memories . . . . In 1996 it was Hobnobs at the Leeds train station, a visit to Haworth the week before my dissertation defence on Charlotte Bronte's novels, coleslaw with mayonnaise at Bigum's (did some American complain?), the last day of Regatta Week at Cowes, more photos at the British Museum, a visit to the Linley Samborne House, more West End theatre ("Dial 'M' For Murder") . . . .
Lisa Cox, Fort Worth, Texas, USA

To me, the 1990s were the most loathsome and cynical decade of all. People talk about the false glitz and rubbish fashions of the 80s, but at least there was still dissent in the air whilst the false glitz was a way of pretending life wasn't rubbish. The 90s was when people stopped protesting and started celebrating the rubbish. Vile, stupid, soul-sapping films like "Trainspotting" and "Reservoir Dogs" and smug, talentless, self-referential bands like Sleeper are my memory of the 90s. The 80s may have introduced free market greed and all the creepy downsides it has, but the 90s was when people started saying, "let's really enjoy being cynical, greedy and stupid." If you want to remember the 90s, think of Chris Evans stamping on a human face. Forever.
Albert Ravey, Douglas Isle of Man

The 1992 and 1997 General Election: Disappointment at one and amazement at the other. The 1997 Welsh Devolution Referendum and 1999 Assembly Election. The celebrations of the millennium. Snow on Christmas Day in 1995
Harry Hayfield, Ffosyffin, Wales

During the 80s I'd been living in Wales, and witnessed first hand the devastating effects that the Miners' Strike had on my local community. Returning to London in 1990, came as a rather severe culture shock for me. This wasn't the London that I'd known and loved back in the 70s. It had changed, many more ethnics, CCTV cameras sprouting up everywhere, and an attitude of "Stuff you, I'm alright". As soon as I was able I found a new place to live away from the dirty, dangerous, and over-crowded streets. For me, the 90s was a time of change, in every respect. I had to find a new job, (difficult), a new home, (difficult), and start a new life at the age of 50. No, sorry, I did not like the 90s one little bit, the politics, the music, the attitude, all jarred me into feeling like "Dropping Out" for the second time in my life. (Which, to a degree I did, and still have). Since my retirement, I have been spending time wondering just how we could have got things so badly wrong. Still looking for the answer.
Sandie Seward, Basildon. U.K.

The first half of the 90s I spent working and trying to keep my job as the recession was biting hard and people were finding their houses were worth a lot less than they'd paid because of rising mortgages. The Balkans went to war and we all watched with dropped jaws the first hi-tech Gulf war. In 92 Norman Lamont devalued the pound and George Soros allegedly earned himself $1.1billion from our reserves(Black Wednesday).
Peter Smolenski, Walton-on-Thames

The 90s were a mixed lot, finding a new job, with Oxford University, as a computer operator (still there in 2007). Towards the end of the 90s, Dad's ill-health, which meant Mum caring for him, numerous hospital visits and carers in the home, respite care to give Mum a break. The family purchasing the home from the council under right-to-buy scheme, council didn't have the money to pay for double glazing/new boiler etc, (house new in 1976). Mum and Dad's contribution maximum council credits, (council flats since 1962), mine, taking a mortgage for the rest of the amount. For the amount of 35,000. Paid for all the 'renovations' council couldn't afford. The age of financial planners mapping our lives, promising the earth, but delivering far short of expectations, PEPs being too efficient and replaced with ISA, and then limits being placed because people saved too much tax.
Colin Bartlett, Abingdon, Oxfordshire

I left school in 1990 - and got my first job straight away! As it was a YTS (Youth Training Scheme), the pay was paltry (30 a week - a pittance even back then). However, going home with my first wage packet at the end of the week was great! I didn't have to rely on my dad for pocket money any more. I remember the flares and platform boots of the 1970s being in fashion again. I was the proud owner of five pairs of black flares and a pair of boots with 3-inch block heels. I thought I looked SO cool! 1990 also saw the end of Thatcherism and the beginning of the Conservative downfall that would bring Labour into power seven years later. I remember my mum saying "This country's in for a rude awakening!" She was right!
LH, Tyne & Wear, UK

Gerald Ratner-"Crap". House Parties. Raves. Gazzas plastic breasts. Twin Peaks. Adios Robert Maxwell. This Life. Beavis and Butthead. Nelson Mandela free. Terry Waite free. The "Chunnel". Gulf War I. Mr Blobby. Bryan bloody Adams. Did I mention raves? Sega V Sony. Poll tax riots. Trainspotting. Ab Fab. Girl Power. Euro '96. Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barrels. OJ Simpson. The Simpsons. South Park. Ali G. Leeds United League Champions. Furbies. Adios Diana. Nessun Dorma. ERM & Black Wednesday. Conservative General Election Win. Bill & Monica. Dunblane. And a load of other stuff that I cannot remember.....Very much like any other decade in that it brings us tears & laughter, confusion & understanding, war & peace, but in its own very different way.
Anon,

They were absolutely terrible, Greed, greed, greed and the destruction of old fashioned British values forever. The music was rubbish apart from Oasis and The Cult and people who once stood together have stabbed each other in the back time and again in a struggle to survive this terrible country we all used to love. The clamour to stay on the merry-go-round is sickening to watch and stress levels are through the roof. Ferral gangs roam our streets and foreigners take our jobs as greedy weasely bosses do nothing but pull up the ladder behind them. That was the 90s and its legacy.
Tom Smith, Cardiff

I loved the 90s and have been waiting for you to get to this decade for weeks! The 90s for me were about being a teenager and "finding myself". I loved the music and the whole party atmosphere I found myself in. So many sad things happened in the 90s, the death of Princess Di and my dad and so many happy things the births of Brooklyn (and brand?) Beckham ;-) and my daughter!...They'll always be my wonder years and I'll be retelling stories to my kids about the 90s for many years to come like my Mum tells me about the 60s and 70s!!
Michelle Abbasipour, Bristol, UK

Started off brilliantly - just turned 21. Enjoying a great rave party, having the time of my life, working hard. Labour actually won an election!!! But then disaster struck - as I turned 30 I began to lose my hair and Tony Blair - "ever get the feeling you've been cheated"
T Rafique, London, UK

The 90's saw the rise of Political Correctness, another ghastly import from America, and we saw, mercifully briefly, the contortions of language necessary to prevent calling a spade a shovel. The 90's also saw the final demise of truth and honesty in politics and its replacement by spin and soundbite. The final nail was hammered in in May 1997. The Economist had a headline along the lines of the Tories deserved to lose the forthcoming election but Labour didn't deserve to win it. That was my own feeling exactly. I was away working on election day so didn't get to vote but I'd have been at a loss to have voted for any of the main parties. No one could believe the size of the Labour victory. We were all supposed to be more caring in the 90s but I saw no real evidence of this. The world still seemed to get ruder and bad manners continued its inexorable spread. The 90s were the decade of dumming down on a grand scale - we even celebrated the new millenium one year early because explaining to people that a century starts with a 'one' was too much to expect. We celebrated anyway with a small street party. I do remember it was bloody cold! We all watched with horror as the Millenium Dome became a shrine to some vision of Britain totally unknown to most of us. That soon became apparent in the ensuing financial disaster. There did seem a lot of misplaced optimism throughout the 90s - I could never quite work out why we were supposed to feel so good - because it wasn't the 80s anymore as far as I could tell. I found it to be a decade of real hard work with little to commend it. The distances between us all continued to grow despite all the nonsense that was written and spoken, then and now.
Mac Eddey, Beaminster

The best thing about the 1990s was that after the faux "new man" sophistication of the 1980s it was a decade when it was officially ok to be a proper bloke again. Fantasy football and Men Behaving Badly on the TV, Oasis on the radio, Euro 96 and Gazza scoring "that goal" against Scotland. Loaded magazine best captured the mood of having a bit of pocket money, and being into women, beer and football. Yes it was all done with an ironic wink and none of us really meant it (honest !) but it was a great decade to be a young working class male.
Matt Munro, Bristol, UK

To me the 1990s were in many ways a slightly disjointed decade. It started off with Italia 90 and the euphoria around Gazza and the England team. There was the terrible recession when lots of people lost their jobs and their homes - no one was spared, including the previously immune professional middle classes. Then there was John Major who, let's not forget, ran the country for seven years and his tired Conservatives. Followed by the euphoria of Blair and New Labour. In terms of music there was some great stuff from the likes of Nirvana, Oasis, Blur and the Britpop movement.
Steve, Woking then, London now

I turned 18 as the 80s became the 90s. The hangover left by the last decade was about to kick in. Everything got a little gloomier. Durannie pop slipped away with the last of the yuppie champagne to be replaced by the dirgy cold of Nirvana's grunge. Frankie wasn't Saying Very Much Any More. What relevance had Britpop when Belfast was still tearing itself apart? And when they got bored of tearing Belfast apart, they turned on Warrington; Manchester; the Docklands. Would it never end? Well...maybe... Oklahoma, Columbine, the LA Riots...who needs Belfast when you have America? Suddenly computers were starting to appear in people's homes... and we were only just getting used to CDs. Hannibal fall in love with Clarice, while Scully fell in love with Mulder. Spielberg unleashed the dinosaurs - we were gobsmacked. Then he showed us Oskar Schindler and we were humbled. Hanks singlehandedly took Normandy Beach; Arnie singlehandedly took on the world. And the last of the real rock stars, Freddie Mercury - Gawd bless you, ma'am - left with nothing more than a press statement the night before. It couldn't REALLY just be six years since you stole the show at Live Aid. Always leave them wanting more, eh Fred? Margaret got knifed by her own. John arrived. John got knifed by his own and the electorate. Tony arrived. Things can only get better, he promised. Somewhere down the road from where I live, Tony felt the hand of history on his shoulder. And you know what? He might just have pulled it off...
Paul, Northern Ireland





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