Bunch of fives: 90s Nostalgia

For people 25 and above the 1990s represents the very pinnacle of popular culture. Too young to own fond memories of the neon glitz and glamour of the 80s, in the 90s today’s twentysomethings did their growing up alongside Bart Simpson and spent the formative years on the Sony Playstation and listening to Brit Pop.

It no particular order, and with no claims to greatness, here are five of the things that made the 90s memorable.


The PlayStation was the must have games system of the decade but the console couldn’t match the sheer collectability of pogs. The game, which consisted on stacking up and knocking over discs of card, became popular enough to become the scourge of teachers up and down the country. It was banned at least twice at my school for causing fights. Walker’s crisps Tazos are often considered their poor relation but were equally as good.

See also: Merlin football stickers

Sister Sister

For kids In the 90s Nickelodeon was the home of good TV and there were dozens of shows that were amazing. Sister Sister sticks out because, even for a programme aimed at young folk, the plot was crazy. Twin sisters separated at birth meet up again at a department store and then move into one big house with their foster parents. And it had a young Marquez Houston in it. Go home Roger!

See also: Clarissa Explains it all, Are you Afraid of the Dark?, Moesha, Saved by the Bell and Galaxy High, Keenan and Kel.

Wham Bars

Apart from pricing, the world of sweets has rarely changed radically in the last twenty years but chew bars in the 10p bracket were king in the 1990s. Who knows what a Wham bar was made of, it was pink and green and pulled teeth out, but my God was it tasty.

See also: Quarterback crisps, Tangy Toms, Refresher bars, Mr Freeze Ice pops.

UK Garage

Every decade has at its music scene and in the late 90s it was garage. Just a few years before Blur, Pulp and Oasis ruled the charts and the best acts are still remembered today. Garage, an interesting hybrid of rap, dance and RnB, was diverse with some God awful songs but also some brilliant music. Sorry by Monsta Boy sticks out as one of the best. Buddha Finger by Reservoir Dogs was probably the worst.

See also: So Solid Crew, Wookie, Sia, DJ Luck and MC Neat.

Spliffy Jeans

Just one of many odd clothing trends in the 90s were Spliffy Jeans. Anyone who was anyone wore them and they were the unofficial uniform of the school disco (at might school anyway!). They were baggy, they were black and they had a blonde rasta throwing up a gang sign on the pocket. Classy!

See also: backward baseball caps, round sunglasses, Global Hypercolour and Ton Sur Ton.


Toon new EPL villains after Hughton sacking

There are clubs that people love, and some that people love to hate. And with the sacking of Chris Hughton, Newcastle United have cemented their place in the second category.

The treatment of Hughton is another chapter in the sad history of a club that has consistently “underachieved” in the eyes of both the fans and the management.

The last time the Toon managed to engender any feelings of warmth was in the mid nineties, when Kevin Keegan’s hugely attacking side swaggered their way into the Premiership, narrowly missing out on the title in 1995/96, blowing a 12 point lead on the way.

Since Keegan’s resignation, the fans, and the management of the club – even after changing hands – have hopelessly overestimated their worth.

No clubs, even giants of English football like Liverpool and Manchester United, have a divine right to win trophies. The frustration of Newcastle United fans is even more baffling considering they have only won four league titles, the last coming in 1927. Liverpool and United have 18 each.

Maybe 1996 ruined Newcastle in the long-term. Since then they have developed a disturbing habit of ditching managers in the pursuit of trophies, rarely giving anyone enough room to deliver the success they crave.

Ruud Gullit, FA Cup winning boss with Chelsea, was given very little time once Alan Shearer started a dressing room mutiny and Bobby Robson was given the boot despite consistent top six finishes and a run in the Champions League.

Sam Allardyce, while not a popular manager, was only given months at the helm with fans demanding attractive football. The same fans would probably settle for winning football today.

Even Glenn Roeder and Kenny Daglish would have reason to grumble over their treatment.

But, as with many other former managers, illusions of grandeur made sealed Hughton’s fate. Despite bringing them back to the Premier League last season he was always doomed. The fans would have always wanted a bigger name. Even if it was Mike Ashley who pulled the trigger on Hughton.

No doubt that Kevin Keegan and Alan Shearer will be the first names called for by the fans. Even Paul Gascoingne wouldn’t be a suprise. After all they understand the Geordie nation. They have the passion

My issues with Bizspeak

Anyone who has read George Orwell’s 1984 will be familiar with newspeak.

In a bid to crush free thinking and creativity the IngSoc party – the government of the dystopian Orwellian future – erase words from the English language to create a stunted charmless functional new lexicon.

Those who are yet to read the novel but have spent anytime working in an office, will still be familiar with Bizspeak.

To sound intelligent businessmen and women invent, twist or change the meaning of existing words to create a corporate langauge of jargon filled unintelligible bollocks which makes normal people curl thier toes in pure cringeworthiness.

The Bizspeak top 5


Meaning two forces working together. Used as team name in The Apprentice every season. The word is not actually new, it’s Ancient Greek, but has been seized by corporates. Usually used just after a merger and right again before most of the new people – who fail to synergise – get the boot.


Apparently when providing a service, it is not only the service itself which is important. It is also the value added by said service. Used by companies who are too crap to provide the service promised in the first place.


Apparently “lets touchbase” is Bizspeak for “let’s have a meeting”. Often said using microphone headsets, grinning stupidly and leaning back in an wheeled office chair. Also has to be said loud enough for the rest of the office to hear. Why touchbase without anyone else knowing?

Moving forward

This one is a staple of salesfolk. Quite why you cannot simply say ‘the future’ when you are selling toner remains a mystery.


A skill-set is always discussed when a new person joins a firm and simply means skills, or in most cases, the number of lies told on a CV. “His/her skill set is in synergy with what we need at this company, after we touched base last week we had to offer them the job due to their value add”.

Now Roo has to win back the fans

Days of speculation over the future of Wayne Rooney have finally come to an end. But the outcome was one that few would have predicted.

Many journalists, who are likely to feel rather silly now, had tipped the United forward for a sensational cross-Manchester move to arch rivals City.

Although Sir Alex Ferguson may be relieved that his main striker has decided to stay at Old Trafford the fans are unlikely to feel the same – at least at first.

Football fans, by their very nature, are notoriously fickle and the feedback on the messageboards, twitter feeds and blogs over the past week have been telling.

As soon as Rooney seemed destined to depart he became a greedy, overrated, overweight scouser, which is a far cry from the player United fans had put on the same pedestal as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

Moreover, many fans will be disgusted by the way in which the striker seemingly held the club to increase his already astronomical salary onto another stratosphere.

As long as Rooney’s terrible form continues there will be a question mark over both his true ability and his commitment to the club.

However, his real status on the red side of Manchester will only become clear when his form picks up again – then we will see how United fans really feel about their talisman.

On second thoughts: Other famous transfer u-turns

Sol Campbell

Big Sol, former Notts County, Spurs and Arsenal defender famously irked the Gunners faithful by letting his contract run down to play football abroad. Campbell only made it as far as the South Coast and ended up at Portsmouth.

David Unsworth

Defender Unsworth was labelled the “biggest clot in football” by then Aston Villa manager John Gregory after deciding we wanted to join Everton just days after signing for the Villains.

Robbie Keane

The Irish forward, who never seems to settle at any club joined Liverpool in July 2008 from Spurs for a fee of almost £20m. By January has back on the bench at White Hart Lane.

Bunch of fives: Five things that ruin Facebook

Using Facebook is like the social networking equivalent of meeting an ex after a messy break-up. Parts of it are so good you wondered how you ever lived without it, but most of it makes you wonder why you ever fancied it in the first place.

The Facebook break-up

Breaking up with someone on the phone is bad, breaking up with someone via text is worse, breaking up with someone on Facebook is unforgiveable.

The cry for attention

Leigh Jackson is… having the worst day ever.

Who cares? If you need to vent go and call a friend. Having 30 people replying to status updates to check on your sanity won’t make you feel any better. Having no-one reply is fail.

Unusual friend requests

I never spoke to you in high school. Why would I speak to you now?

Shit games

Vampire bite, Bear Hug, Farmville… the list is endless! Play shit games in your time, without sending me endless wall posts with top scores.

The Facebook poke

If you can’t be bothered to exercise your fingers and type someone a message reconsider your friendship.

World Cup Special: 18 Tournaments, 18 Moments – Italy 1990

World in motion

The 1990 World Cup in Ital is roundly criticised by pundits as being one of the most dour tournaments ever.

However, for the fans of my generation- as our first true taste of the greatest international competition – the tournament has an air of the exotic and retains its romance even to this day.

Amid the draws and defensive football of Italia ’90 there are still so many instances of magic.

There is the performance of Cameroon, who finally put Africa on the football map, unlucky losers in the quarter-final against England but propelled by the dancing Roger Milla they stunned a number of top teams – including Argentina in the group phase.

Despite not winning a single game in normal time throughout the tournament. The Republic of Ireland bundled their way into quarter-finals only to lose to hosts Italy.

Maradona produced another moment of brilliance, his mazy run and clinical threaded pass allowing Claudio Cannigia to score the only goal in the round of 16 game against Brazil.

And then there was England.

Under Bobby Robson, hammered by the press in the run-up to the tournament, England, once they gathered momentum, actually began to look like a football team.

Failing to impress in the groups, England built up steam with David Platt’s fantastic volley against Belgium and Gary Linker’s two penalties (including dives) against Cameroon before eventually losing to the Germans on penalties.

The run produced many unforgettable moments, Paul Gascoigne’s tears in the semi final, Chris Waddle’s penalty miss, which brought the journey to the end, and Bobby Robson’s dance down the touchline.

And for that summer, to the soundtrack of New Order’s World in Motion, a technically gifted England side finally made a nation believe.

World Cup Special: 18 Tournaments, 18 Moments – Sweden 1958

The first glimpse of genius

The World Cup is not only the place where dreams come true (unless your English), it is the place where stars are born.

Michael Owen came to the fore 1998, Roberto Baggio built his legend in 1994 but it was Pele in 1958 that had the most shine of all.

The Brazilian, just 17 at the time of the first round game against USSR in Sweden, became the youngest player to appear in the tournament.

And the teenager, instrumental in securing the World Cup for his country, produced an astonishing display showing maturity way beyond his years.

Pele scored a stunning hat-trick against France in the semi-final and scored the trademark goal of the tournament against Sweden in the final. The goal – a delicious lob over an onrushing defender followed by a thumping volley – was the first of two and helped Brazil to a 5-2 win.

And from there his stock continued to rise, the Brazilian going on to appear at a further three World Cups, perhaps saving his best for the 1970 tournament where his attempted lob against Czechoslovakia and the outrageous dummy against Uruguay are among two of the greatest goals never scored.

While it is open for debate whether he is the best player in the history of the game – Johan Cruyff, Diego Maradonna and Franz Beckenbauer could all stake thier claim for that mantle – his effect on football is unrivalled.

With Pele reaching his peak at the same time football became a television spectacle he became the game’s first true global superstar.

And his record of 77 goals in 92 games in the gold shirt certainly speaks for itself.