Recently, I uploaded an album to my Facebook page of some photos I found of my brother and I in the 1990s. I don’t have a scanner, so here are a selection of those photos that best represent the decade of Spice Girl fever, Diggit, hair scrunchies and CITV’s heyday.
I actually quite like the glare and the dodgy quality unique to photos of photos. I like the fact we grew up in the last few years before the prevalence of digital cameras. These days, everything is taken, stored and edited digitally. I bet there are lots of five-year olds now who don’t have a single hard copy of a photo of themselves.
Every year, my mum would make us a string of letters spelling out ‘September 199X’ for whatever year it was we went back to school, and stood us in front of it for a photo opportunity. Infant school saw my brother Liam and I in a fetching vivid red.
I have a scarf a lot like this picnic rug. Picnics seem a lot more 90s than they do 00s. We went on lots of picnics. When we went to farms or for days out to castles or stately homes, we would always take a homemade picnic. I’m not sure people do so much of that these days.
Christmas is a very prevalent theme in our 90s photo albums. My mum has always been a Christmas fanatic. I’m not sure donning Father Christmas hats can salvage the fact we are in dungarees and an American Football sweatshirt. My brother has never seen an American football game to my knowledge, and I have never been a hillbilly.
Contrary to what this picture might suggest, I was a massive bookworm as a child. In my year one report, my teacher wrote that I had told her I wanted to be a librarian. I don’t know why I said that. I used to write stories and read them to my class. What a precocious little gnat.
I can also honestly say I don’t think I ever wanted to be a nurse. In my red box resided some wound dressing, medical tape, plasters, plastic forceps and a giant plastic syringe. My brother, on the other hand, very much wants to own a boat. I would rather own a boat than be a nurse.
I hated this hairstyle at the time and I hate it now. It was probably cut in against my will, but as a child you just go along with these things. I still hate having short hair. I’ve always been a big fan of bubbles. Sometimes my brother and I would fill the bathroom sink with water and Johnson’s baby bath and play with toy boats and a toy penguin that whistled when it came into contact with water. The bubbles were the best bit though.
I don’t know why I look quite so possessed here. My lilac tracksuit may well be the cause.
My grandma knitted us lots of jumpers and cardigans when we were little. This is one of her creations. I wanted to learn to knit for a bit but I’m too impatient. My grandma always told us to show our teeth when we smiled, so the vast majority of our 90s photos show us with these alarmingly enthusiastic, pageant-esque parodies of faces.
I do not profess to be any kind of photo-journalist; not least because I didn’t take any of these photos. But I like the fact that normal life can be documented so successfully through photos. It’s a shame cameras weren’t around for all of history. Imagine seeing a caveman playing dress-up, or a dinosaur celebrating his fourth birthday. The 1990s was quite the decade, no?