Sunday 21 July 2019

Liz Kearney: 'Why I'd gladly turn back time to the nineties'

Actors Courteney Cox Arquette (L), Jennifer Aniston (C) and Matthew Perry are shown in a scene from the NBC series
Actors Courteney Cox Arquette (L), Jennifer Aniston (C) and Matthew Perry are shown in a scene from the NBC series "Friends".
'Friends' is celebrating its 25th birthday by becoming the most-streamed-ever TV show, having found a newly devoted audience on Netflix.
Liz Kearney

Liz Kearney

It feels a little like we're in a time machine. Yesterday, newspaper headlines proclaimed the return of the bootcut jean, last seen fraying around the ends as you trailed through a muddy field at Oxegen.

Meanwhile, Dido, the pixie-haired chanteuse behind the 1999 megahit album 'No Angel', which every maudlin teenager knew by heart, is coming out of retirement to go on tour.

And elsewhere, 'Friends' is celebrating its 25th birthday by becoming the most-streamed-ever TV show, having found a newly devoted audience on Netflix.

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Even as I watched the Fyre documentary at the weekend, the most millennial of the millennials interviewed onscreen was wearing a Nirvana T-shirt. It's almost as though the past 20 years never happened.

Now, honestly, nothing could give me more pleasure than rewinding the clock a quarter of a century. Because let's face it, the nineties were the best decade ever, no contest.

And, yes, I know that every generation believes that the decade when they came of age was magic. After all, our parents will never give up their cherished belief that the sixties, with the holy trinity of the Beatles, the Stones and Dylan, were sacrosanct.

But at this particular point in time, amid the horrors of Trump and Brexit, the nineties appear golden in the rear-view mirror.

It was so much easier to be a teenage girl, for a start, in the pre-internet era. With cool Britpop role models like Justine Frischmann or Louise Wener, you could head out on a Friday night dressed down in combats and an Adidas T-shirt, instead of squeezing into the micromini black dress today's teenagers stagger out of discos in.

And you didn't need to spend hours perfecting your Instagram-ready pout. If someone had a camera on a night out, the chances of them being able to afford getting the film developed were remote, and you'd all have finished your Leaving Cert by the time they got round to it anyway.

Pre-Twitter, you were free to sing along to, say, 'Country House' by Blur without stopping to ask if Damon Albarn had checked his white male privilege first.

And you never needed to ask yourself if you were a good feminist, because you reckoned Germaine Greer and your mum had figured all that stuff out back in the seventies.

Today's landscape, with its endless Twitter scraps and gender wars, seems frazzled by comparison.

It's no wonder we'd all welcome a bit of Dido to soothe our post-millennial anxiety.

I'll be buying a ticket just as soon as I've dug out my bootcut jeans.

Son's first step on road to becoming Taoiseach

I was so nervous about our first parent-teacher meeting that I stayed home and sent my husband instead. I'm still scarred by memories of my own teenage years, and watching through the school hall window as my beleaguered parents made the rounds of the staff, being bombarded with less-than-glowing reports of my academic progress.

But if the meetings are tough for the parents, they must be a thousand times worse for teachers. What must the poor souls be thinking as they face 30 sets of anxious mums and dads, all hoping to hear little Johnny is fast on his way to a place in Mensa and a career as a brain surgeon? How do they break it to them that actually, he set fire to the chemistry lab last Tuesday, and thinks the modh coinníollach is a river in Germany?

Fortunately, my son is only in junior infants, so it was easy to focus on the positives; he's making friends and he's getting the hang of holding a pencil. If he keeps this up, I've no doubt he'll be Taoiseach one day.

Irish Independent

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