Having just read a headline that on New Years Day it will have been 30 years since the start of the 1990`s, wow what a decade for me starting out as a 16 year old into the big wide world I just had to write about my time in that era.
For me the 90s will always be a special era. One where I had some of the best and most carefree times of my life. From finishing my exams at school, heading out into full time work, going out enjoying life every weekend with my friends, travelling around the world, meeting then marrying my wife this decade had it all.
In the summer of 1990 I turned 16. My music choices were changing from listening to the likes of Guns N Roses to The Stone Roses. From “Madchester” to dance music that came out of the “summer of love” in 1988. Living in Manchester at that time you were at the centre of the universe for music, culture and sport with the city leading the way in bands and fashion. From flares, baggy clothing, bucket hats, hairstyles to all night raves whatever Manchester did, the world tried to copy. As one Mancunian band, The Inspiral Carpets had displayed on t-shirts “Cool as fuck” that time really was just that. Little did we know but at that time the Gallagher brothers, Liam and Noel were immersed in this era too working for these bands on tour and would in a few years themselves take the world by storm as Oasis further putting Manchester on the world map.
In 1990 there had been the World Cup in Italy where England heroically made it to the semi final stage losing to West Germany on penalties. Forever remembered for Paul “Gazza” Gascoigne`s tears and New Orders World In Motion song they recorded with the England team for the tournament, those four weeks in the summer of 90 are still fondly remembered by many football fans.
I was travelling around England watching my team, Manchester United in what would become a golden decade. From my first visit to Wembley in the 1990 FA Cup Final to my second visit to Camp Nou in Barcelona in 1999 to see United complete a historic treble by winning the Champions League in extraordinary circumstances in the last three minutes of the game. In between I went all over the country and Europe watching football. For me it was football (playing and watching), music, friendship, alcohol all mixed in a heady time of freedom and adventure.
When you leave school and head out into the “real world” you think at 16 you are worldly wise. I was fortunate to travel alone over to California to visit my older brother and his wife in Sacramento. To travel so far so young and see such amazing places I was blessed to be able to do so. Things could have been very different. I had the opportunity to move over to the States for a year but decided I was too young for that sort of commitment so opted for a three week holiday instead. Fresh out of school and wet behind the ears I was never ready for that sort of commitment, I wanted to enjoy myself first before putting any roots down.
At that early age you just want to have money in your pocket to be able to go out and enjoy yourself. Mortgages, bills, debt, marriage, etc can all wait it is about living in the moment with your friends. I was fortunate to find a job upon returning from America which was around the corner to where I lived with my parents. My journey to become an electrical engineer stated in a small firm that employed around 6-7 people. Here I would meet some great people who had similar passions for sport, music and nightlife. Living at home with no bills meant despite only earning £400 per month all that money was at my disposal to go out every weekend and enjoy myself. To be in regular work that you enjoyed, had money in your pocket and had nothing to tie you down meant that the next few years were an absolute blast.
From going on holidays with my parents I was suddenly going abroad with my friends. At 17 hitting Ibiza then 18 hitting Tenerife. I always remember returning from two drunken weeks in Tenerife sat in the bath at home just thinking to myself I am ruined! Burnt out from two weeks of partying, sun, sand and sex. We were alive but dead from enjoying it all in huge portions.
Suddenly you found yourself out most evenings. You had the energy to be playing football after work a couple of times a week then the weekend began on a Thursday evening out drinking in the pubs and clubs before getting up for work on the Friday. A quick visit home after work to eat and get changed and you were out Friday and all weekend until you finally paused to sleep to be in work on Monday morning where you all shared your stories of the weekend with your work mates. Nowadays I only have the energy for one big night out, never mind four in a row.
By 1993 I had met my future wife although neither of us knew this at this point. Having met in one of the local pubs, we chatted and laughed in our groups for months. It wasn’t until I came home from one of my lads holidays to Tenerife that we started to become more than friends. It was just a natural progression where if we met up then great, if not we would see each other out the next week. All out friends got on and we used to have a good time in the pubs socialising until I plucked up the courage to take things further and thankfully we started “dating”.
As time went on and with her moving down to Nottingham with work, I slowly and unconsciously distanced myself from my friends and I used to travel down to see her every weekend. By this time I had leant to drive and bought my first car, another major achievement at this age and so liberating as you can go anywhere now. I would drive down on Friday evening and set off as late as possible on the Sunday night making sure I spent as long as possible with her, young love!
We eventually married in 1997 and moved into our first home which was a new build back in Manchester only a couple of miles from family but far enough away for peace, quiet and freedom. The next few years were a blast having your own place and all the neighbours were young couples so we all got on really well and socialised together.
So I started the decade as a wet behind the ears 15 year old who was taking exams at school and finished it a married man with a house and responsibilities but still young and daft enough to enjoy life. I would say to my sons to enjoy those years from 16 to mid 20`s before you settle down. Those were some of my best times, care free and liberating. I have loved all of my life and the stages I have gone through without doubt but I will always look back fondly at those times when you step out into the big wide world independently.
Fair to say I love the 90`s.