Vol. 38 - Everything I Know About Life Is Because Of 90s Pop Culture
Happy Sunday, everyone. I hope you are all doing well, wherever you may be in the world. The first draft of this week’s newsletter started on a flight. The Wi-Fi wasn’t working (of course), and neither were the charging ports. It’s amazing how productive one becomes when stuck in a flying tin can for hours, with nowhere to go and no external influences to distract, except for a stewardess occasionally asking if I would like anything to drink. Inspiration for the first part of today’s issue had struck a few hours before whilst in the car at an ungodly hour on my way to T5. I will never understand how or why inspiration can come in the most unlikely places, but I’m grateful for it. Anyway, I had the small seed of an idea triggered by a very brief feeling in said car, so I sat with my laptop and let it unravel from there. As a result, today’s issue doesn’t have any coherent structure (not to say that it usually does, but I like to think I tentatively link subtopics rather than just one long stream of consciousness). Still, the beauty of writing is that it’s not prescriptive, and I can honestly say it’s been freeing to write without overthinking. So, let’s go back to where today’s issue began as a small fleeting idea in the back of a Peugeot 5008, two weeks ago.
I was on my way to the airport when ‘She’s The One’ by Robbie Williams started playing in the car. For those who might not know who Robbie is, he was in a very famous 90’s boyband in the UK called ‘Take That’. He eventually did a Harry Styles, went solo, and with a few drugs and highly publicised personal issues in the mix, he became synonymous with a certain period of time in British culture. Every British wedding is still subjected to a mass singalong of his belter that is ‘Angels’. Hearing that song unexpectedly in the car took me back to my early childhood. A time when our romcoms were at their peak (thank you, Richard Curtis), our music and their accompanying videos were legendary, and the macarena was a staple at every school disco. Of course, there are no such things as coincidences. The night before, I had started to watch the Beckham documentary, which only thrust me further into my previously hazy memories of that time period — one that I would consider to be culturally iconic. As a result, I’ve found myself newly intrigued and inspired by a snapshot in time that was previously just a fond and comforting memory. As a ‘93 baby, the late 90’s and early 2000’s were my formative years. A time of innocence and simplicity before I became a fully formed teenager and developed a strong sense of identity and self. I had never considered how much the culture of that time impacted me, as childhood memories can often be reduced to the friends you had, toys you played with and maybe the oddly specific and somewhat traumatic school memory. Most people I speak to seem to have memory loss from 3 to 9 years old; even when looking at photos of themselves, they struggle to remember the circumstances surrounding said photo. There are also huge gaps in my memory from those early years; however, should a song play from that period of time, I will most likely know all of the lyrics and the obscure band it was by (and sometimes even the accompanying dance moves). I could reference album covers, film scenes, and TV shows that hadn’t crossed my path in over 20 years. I even remember magazine covers and the accompanying headlined referencing significant pop culture moments of the time.
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