For whatever reason, I’ve been feeling more nostalgic than usual lately. The ever-dreaded 23 is upon me, and I can’t really get my head around the fact that I’ll be 24 next year. God forbid, 25. I don’t even like thinking about that. Alas, I am getting old(er), but when I look back at my teenage years I feel like some sort of wise, sensible owl. I couldn’t really think of anything else that goes with ‘wise’ except ‘owl’ and ‘Dumbledore’, so I just went with an owl. Dumbledore’s too cool for little old me. I think my favourite part of being in my twenties is being more aware of myself. I have a much better understanding of what you like and what you don’t, simply because I have past experiences to base my preferences on. I’m more comfortable in my own skin than I’ve ever been, and I like me for me, faults and all. Gone are the days where I try to be someone who I’m not.
Drinking in a field with no mobile data.
Back in my day (okay, so like, 2008/09/10… not that long ago) 3G was a foreign concept, yet to dominate the lives of vulnerable youths and really kickstart the social media generation. If I sound about 80, I apologize. Back when I was a teen, in the midst of my field-drinking days, I could easily polish off half a bottle of vodka without gagging once. Clad in leggings, £3 Primark ballerinas, a generic floral top from New Look, a side-fringe the size of Jupiter and an oversized Paul’s Boutique bag, I’d be ready to get smashed on a random patch of grass in the general Grimsby area. Leading the high life, I was. Back then, we wouldn’t be Snapchatting every moment or tagging each other in Instagram posts; all we had was a couple of signal bars to text our Mums that we were staying over at our friend’s (we weren’t). Before Spotify was even created, the Basshunter album would already be downloaded onto our phones, and we’d blast those beatz like there was no tomorrow. And the only memory of those nights would be a few grainy, poor-quality camera phone photos that we couldn’t even remember being taken. Bliss.
Listening to the tapes you got for your birthday.
Way before my Basshunter days, I loved nothing more than waking up on the morning of my birthday or Christmas and unwrapping a fuck-ton of tapes. Ever the cool child, I was the proud owner of Celine Dion’s ‘My Heart Will Go On’, ‘World of Our Own’ by Westlife, ‘C’est la Vie’ by Bewitched, and of course, the entire Spice Girls collection, amongst all the other big 90s hits. There was no ease of Spotify playlists and iPods were a thing of the future; you just had to sit and happily listen to your tape. I was a bit of a weird child, though, and I’d sit for hours listening to ‘My Heart Will Go On’, imagining myself floating on the big door.
Waking up on a Saturday to watch Dick & Dom.
‘Dick n’ Dom in da Bungalow’ truly was a comedic masterpiece. Without fail, I’d be up early every Saturday morning armed with a big bowl of cereal smack bang in front of the TV, purely to see them play ‘Bogies’ in a Bournemouth Uni lecture theatre. To be honest, I have no idea what kids TV these days is like, but I suspect it’s got nothing on Dick n’ Dom, Bernard’s Watch* and Come Outside.
* – I actually Googled the actor who played Bernard and he goes to my uni. Score.
Roaming the aisles of Woolworths.
Ah, Woolies. How you are deeply missed by basically everyone in the country who can remember you and your bangin’ Pick & Mix selection. Every time I’d go into town with my mum, a massive chunk of time was spent walking the aisles of Woolies. Let’s face it – it had basically everything a child could ever need. An impressive toy selection, plus a lifetime supply of sweets and chocolate. My first ever teddy bear, which I still have to this day, was off a shelf in Woolies. So many precious memories.*
* – I’m just glad I wasn’t there when, in the local Woolworths of lovely Grimsby, a man decided to jizz on the Toblerone selection. Yes, that really did happen.
Showing off your mad dance mat skills.
I’m fairly certain that plug-in dance mats are no longer a thing, and I can’t fathom why. They were the best. thing. ever. Getting invited to the girl in your Year 5 class’ sleepover was a whole lot more exciting if you knew she had a dance mat. Dressed to the nines in baby pink combats and a layered Groovy Chick T-shirt with a generous swoosh of roll-on glitter eyeshadow just for effect, you’d turn up at the girl’s house ready to show off your moves. The competition was rife and fierce, and you’d end up hating the girl who could stomp her heart out to Scooter when you just weren’t fast enough. *Sob*
Going to the cinema to watch Angus, Thongs.
Anyone who was a 14-year-old in 2008 will know that this long-awaited adaptation of ‘Angus, Thongs & Full-Frontal Snogging’ caused an absolute frenzy amongst teenage girls. Whether you preferred the absolute sex god that was Robbie or had more of a soft spot for Dave the Laugh or, god forbid, Saliva Boy, (if you had a thing for him, then please rethink your entire life) would result in plenty of heated discussions. Hoards of groups of teenage girls would flood into the cinema to watch the film for the second or third time that week, and yes, I was an eager member of one of these groups. The girls who weren’t inclined towards Dave the Laugh would watch it over and over purely for Robbie and his rendition of ‘Ultraviolet’, but were grossed out when they found out he was going out with a 45-year-old in real life. Every girl would compare herself and her friends to a character, and no-one wanted to be Ellen. (I was Rosie.)