The times they are a changin’

And to give it a subtitle, “The reason why I’m so damned nostalgic”

I don’t want this blog to constantly be reaching 88 miles per hour and shooting back into the 80s and 90s, but there must be a reason why I go back there so often.

And I’ve discovered, there is – life in 2012 is absolute shit.

I’d love to know if any of my friends on facebook or Twitter or beyond (I don’t think I have any real friends anymore) think that life now is better than it was back then. I obviously don’t think it is, and I shall tell you my reasons forthwith.

1. These things.

Back in the 80s and 90s, the makers of breakfast cereals made our lives more exciting by giving us free stuff. We would dive, head first into a box of rice Krispies (leading to that annoying inevitability of rice krispies all over the bottom of the box, left to go stale and lonely) in the search for the mystery gift (an example above left from Cornflakes). Many times these “gifts” were simply awesome, and in the case of above, surely saved many a life. Other times they were hideous (see below) – I was never a fan of the pencil topper.

If there wasn’t something free inside the cereal then there would be some kind of activity on the back (a cut out and keep Halloween mask perhaps), or you would have to cut out some tokens and send away for your prize. (Like my snap crackle and pop watch above). One of the most commonly heard phrases in the 80s and 90s was “Please allow 28 days for delivery”. A lot of homes in Ireland back then had Rice Krispies bowls.

But not anymore. For some reason, and I don’t even think I want to know what it is, companies no longer give us an added incentive to buy their breakfast cereal. Instead, this is what you get on the back of the box:

Hungry, miserable bastards.

2. Fan Clubs.

When I was a kid I lived my life in the hope of receiving cool stuff in the post (nowadays if the postman passes through our estate and doesn’t come to our door I go out on the piss for the day to celebrate). Membership packs…fact sheets…COOL SCHTUFF!!!! This is what it was all about back in the day. I was a member of a thing called Zodo’s club (which I joined through the Irish Press newspaper) I got a membership card that had my picture on it, and I had a secret password which was printed upside down on the card. I’m not gonna tell you what it was. Ok, it was ZANGA.

I was also a member of the teenage mutant hero turtles fan club. I got loads of stuff from that, including luminous green laces, which I immediately placed on to my air force runners. I don’t think these things exist anymore, but like everything on my blogs, i’m always happy to be proven wrong.

3. These:

(these singles do not, and have never, belonged to me)

Tape and CD singles. Yes there will be people who will talk about record singles etc, but that’s not really my point. Back in the 80s and 90s if you wanted to get hold of a song badly you either had to request it on the radio and hope for the best, try and find it in your local music shop or sing yourself to sleep with the memory of the thing in your head. I remember two pieces of music that stick out from the 90s – one was this song here –

I thought this was the coolest little nugget of a song that I had ever heard! I heard it once on an ad, and then I had to have it. There was no internet to search for the lyrics and then just find it on youtube…I had to relive the thing in my head and then go into music shops and make a tit of myself by trying to sing it. I eventually found it on some compilation album and enjoyed the enormous anti-climax as I listened to it again of realising that it wasn’t half as good as I remembered.

A facebook friend (Anna Jordan come on down) posted up this song the other day:

A song that I had been desperately seeking since I heard it in this film:

There really was no feeling like the time that you found that song that you had been searching months, or even years for. It’s all too easy nowadays, and yes, that’s super fantastic and all, but as Mrs Doyle would say “Maybe I like the misery of making tea!”

Well you know what I mean.

Similar to that subject actually, I remember my sister calling me down from upstairs (where I would be vigorously shaking my joystick, while playing the commodore 64 game Daley Thompson’s decathlon.) and I would find her in a heap on the floor in front of the Television with a refill pad (Remember them fuckers! I don’t even know how to use handwriting anymore to be honest) trying to take down lyrics. I distinctly remember her asking me what was being said here:

I always knew. Cause I was good like that. Unless you asked me what kind of gibberish was being mumbled here:

Christ like…

Nowadays we can just google the lyrics. I’ve never actually googled the lyrics to that REM track because I would prefer not to know. It would just be another part of my childhood, beaten to death by the modern monster.

4. Actually, let’s just expand on 3 for a second.

My brother owned this single, so in essence, I owned this single. Note that there are 4 tracks on there. I could lament about how CD singles used to be good value, but now all I’m lamenting about is that they don’t exist anymore! I have a box of the shagging things and if I brought them to a car boot sale your man would make more use out of the box.

Singles, whatever form they appeared in, gave people a sense of entitlement to the music they were listening to – a sense of ownership even. They would hear it on the radio, decide “that’s the very thing for me” and then they would part with their hard earned cash and buy a hard copy of it. The artists must have felt good to know that the lyrics and music that they wrote were now being purchased by someone who actually cared and appreciated it. And the people who ran the charts were able to measure the sales and there was justification for programmes like top of the pops etc.

Now…now…now we have this:

What the bloody hell is this?

Right now, this is number 3 in the charts. How do they know? I reckon that could be based on 14 legal downloads. It’s getting bad when they’re ripping off songs from the 00s.

5. Phones.

I have blurred out the faces to protect the innocent (either that or they’re going to die in 7 days). This is a picture I took in a pub a few weeks ago… Ok, I can hear the cries already “You F*$KING HYPOCRITE”…

Yes, I agree with you 100% – I can’t keep the bloody iphone out of my hand…I need help, and I assure you, it’s forthcoming. But come on, this is a lovely couple who have come to a pub and uttered about 5 words to each other in an hour and a half. I don’t like this, I have been a part of it, and I don’t like it. We should talk to each other in pubs. Talking is brilliant. I love it. I may leave my phone at home when I go out next time. See if it catches on. Except, i know that this will be the one time that I will be abducted and left for dead in a forest. Damn me and my rants, only for ya I’d have Google maps and whatsapp now. Or facebook.

Darren Skelton has checked in at “A shallow grave” in “the comeragh Mountains” with no others.

Yes, mobile phones are the mutts nutts, but, remember ringing your friend on the house phone and saying things like this:

“Was that your father that answered?”

“Yeah why?”

“i’m mortified, I thought it was your brother…they sound exactly the same”

“And…what did you say…”

“I told him he had a nice arse in the jeans he was wearing yesterday”

“well that explains why he had the stupid grin on your face. What ya want anyway?”

“Goin to flo motion tonight?”

“Nah, we’re going to Preachers girl”

I obviously didn’t have a conversation like that but I’m sure one of you had something like it.

The sound of the phone ringing was cool and exciting. The sound of the post man delivering a letter was also a bit deadly. All these things are now redundant.

Christ, the amount of times I spent hanging around a phone box waiting for someone to ring me at 6pm on the dot…

6. Football

Yes, SKY have revolutionised football. Yes, I can now see my team play every match they’re involved in, even in training and the reserves. But the thing is, I really don’t want to.

Remember this:

I really looked forward to the big match on a sunday with the incomparable Brian Moore in the commentary box. And for the midweek games I actually enjoyed listening to 5 live and then watching the games later that night.

Yes, it’s great to see all the games, but the phrase spoilt for choice was made for this scenario. The game is not better for the saturation. It’s decidedly worse. Back in the 60s-90s the game had characters. Now it has idiots like Mario Ballotelli. I blame sky for him. I blame SKY for everything really.

7. Porn.

I’ll finish with this. This is a semi serious topic, but because it’s me talking about it, it will descend into heresy fairly quickly.

Porn is everywhere now. You could be searching for a seemingly innocent thing on the internet now and only to be ambushed by flesh and forced to close the curtains to finish what the littlewoods catalogue started. But it never used to be that easy.

Back in the 80s and 90s, the lads of my age now (that is the early 30s folk), had to find their titillation in the strangest of places. Here are some examples:

For some reason in the 90s we had access to a german channel called SAT 1. In Mount Sion, and all over waterford at the time, if you talked about “the german channel”, people would know exactly what you meant. Every saturday night it would show the filthiest, hairiest, largest nipple based soft porn that a man could find. It usually did the trick.

The other nugget from the 80s and 90s was something fantastic by the name of:

It came on after the super channel and it would play songs into the early hours. And teenage boys would sit there with their trousers half open waiting for songs like this to appear:



About deisesupes

Creative Writer, part time journalist, part time Graphic Design enthusiast.
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12 Responses to The times they are a changin’

  1. Eamonn says:

    Ha ha! Good memories there. Remember Twinkle “Hello” on Lifestyle Satellite Jukebox? Or Sabrina – Boys on Superchannel? Online music has destroyed my favourite pastime of browsing through record shops hunting down that elusive track. Now you just log into iTunes and voila – there it is.

  2. deisesupes says:

    Haha, Eamonn, “hello hello”, was originally the first song I was going to put up but, I couldn’t recall the band name (not being in the fan club like you were) haha. I do remember them though! Pure, fantastic, filth!

  3. Eamonn says:

    Here’s the two videos:

  4. Eamonn says:

    He he! Yeah, utter filth. I remember a woman wanting Sat 1 withdrawn on a Saturday night because of “porn” (you’d see more in the Peppermint Grove).

  5. Eamonn says:

    PS keep the Waterford shots coming – they really are fantastic!

  6. Wayne says:

    Always hated when you’d tape a song on the raido and then the bloody DJ would start talking before the song ended. I’ve loads of ‘Wayne’s mix’ tapes that I can’t bear to throw out – they took so much feckin’ time to compile at the time.

  7. James says:

    That Sabrina is 44 now and still looks hot, ( ) Ah the memories of all the above were great. Great Blog Darren. 🙂

  8. Louise says:

    You just brightened up my otherwise shitty day!!

  9. Rowena says:

    Ah the effort of rewinding the cassette tape time and time again so one could hear what the bloody hell the lyrics were! Loved it!

    Himself mentioned ‘Eurotrash’ as being his choice of porn back in the day hahaha!

  10. jim says:

    remember the sunday afternoon programme — something USA with Vincent Hanley , we thought it was so cool, watching music vidoes and links from vinny talking in various parts of the USA.
    There were no Chinese take away, no Indian, no pizza, a treat to get fish & chips from the local chipper.

    • Eamonn Bolger says:

      MTUSA! With fab Vinnie. Good times. And those mix tapes. Larry Gogan saved me a fortune with the Irish top 30. Rarely spoke over anything.

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