Monday, 8th March 2021

Six claims about life before the 1990s young people won't believe

DO you want to shock younger people with tales of life in the pre-internet olden days? Here are some things to freak them out with.

You had to buy songs you didn’t like

Otherwise known as ‘albums’, and you always knew there’d be quite a few duds on the LP as you handed over your cash in WHSmith. All were still far better than an iTunes Ed Sheeran playlist, however.

People wrote letters 

Definitely mention this because the texting generation will assume you were sitting in candlelight with a quill pen while wearing a Shakespearean ruff as you wrote a quick letter to your university girlfriend/boyfriend in 1989. 

Pubs were not like now

For vague historical and moral reasons, in the 80s most pubs shut for a couple of hours in the afternoon, with little effect on how much people drank. Food was crisps or a shit ploughman’s lunch, grudgingly served. If you asked for a coffee the barman would look at you as if you’d walked in wearing a spacesuit.

You couldn’t just look up anything instantly

Thanks to Google, it’s easy to look up anything from the opening times of a local garage to the average sperm count of a male velociraptor. Unlike in the olden days, knowledge is far more accessible now, with most people getting their facts from Twitter or the Mail Online.

Car journeys involved no seatbelts and lots of smoking

Seatbelts weren’t compulsory for everyone until 1991, and before then many dads believed they were a slur on their James Hunt-level driving abilities. All cars also had a prominently-positioned ashtray in case you couldn’t make it to the local Kwik Save without smoking 15 Rothmans. 

Penknives were extremely cool

If you’ve grown up with Playstation, it’s hard to grasp how amazing penknives were. Swiss army were the best, obviously, even though you were too young to use the corkscrew and no one has ever used the fish scaler, even the Swiss army.