Spice Girls

Simply the greatest thing to come out of the 90s, the Spice Girls dominated the entertainment industry during the second half of the decade and became the biggest thing on the planet overnight.

They transcended all races, sexes and classes as Posh, Ginger, Sporty, Scary and Baby went about making the world a Spicier place and spreading the message of Girl Power. You couldn’t get away from them, but then again most people didn’t want to either.

The pop princess first began performing together in 1994 and after a couple of years they released their first single “Wannabe”. The catchy tune made a bigger impact on the charts than an Icelandic volcano and Nick Clegg combined and went to number one in 31 countries.

The world went crazy for the fab five, and they had continued chart success with hits such as “Say You’ll Be There”, “Who Do You Think You Are?” and “2 Become 1”, which is probably the filthiest song of all time. Who would have though such smut could come from the seemingly innocent mouth of Baby Spice?

After conquering America the girls then launched the aptly-named “Spiceworld” album. Along with this came their movie which was probably the worst film ever made and the wooden acting from Posh rivalled that of Pinocchio, but we loved it all the same.

By this time I had been sucked in to the hype. The first cassette I ever bought was “Wannabe” which I played it to death and was soon followed by my first CD “Spice Up Your Life”. Whilst Newcastle posters adorned most my room, one wall was dedicated to the girls. I bought Spice Girls lolipopsFunFax and chocolate and loved them.

Everyone had a favourite and mine was Geri. Despite the fact she was ginger people liked her and she was seen as the most outrageous of the group. And then suddenly in 1998 she left the band. I was stunned and I don’t think my fixation on the girls was ever the same.

The remaining four began to change as Posh got involved with Becks, Scary went mental and Mel C struggled with her sexual orientation. After working on equally rubbish solo projects as they moved towards a more R&B style when they combined but the magic was gone and they just faded away towards the end of 2000.

Every year there were rumours about a reunion and it finally happened in 2007. However I was unwilling to stump up £80 of my-hard earned student loan for a ticket and my affection for the girls has dwindled, although I do sometimes have a sly listen to “Spice” from time to time…

Looking back the impact that they made was incredible. Across the globe people enjoyed the infectious songs, the camaraderie between the five and slamming your body down and zigazig-haing on the dancefloor. Ultimately when anyone looks back at the greatest decade of all time it is defined by the Spice Girls.



It has been said that in the future robots will surpass human intelligence and take over the world. If that does happen in years from now, the first evolutional step in that process was the Furby.

Whilst the creepy critter couldn’t actually rise up and overthrow the human race, it did something much worse. They made kids grow affectionate towards them and go crazy to have one of these weird little owl and hamster offspring.

They burst onto the scene in 1998 in the United States and people had to have them, but not just children, grown adults too. Not content with being able to have babies and pets they needed a furry electronic toy in their lives and in the beginning they were selling for well over $100 before they arrived on our shores.

Furbys didn’t do a lot, just muttered their own language Furbish to the user when they interacted with it, or could communicate with fellow Furbys via infrared. They could move their mouth and eyes and would gradually “learn” English as they got older. And the worst thing was you couldn’t turn them off and they wouldn’t shut up unless you removed their batteries as they whined to be fed or played with. High-maintainence or what?

But they became a craze, and my little sister got one for Christmas. All I heard that day was strange noises as the Furby tried to be the centre of attention. Like many others it creeped me out, and a few months later my dog decided to intervene and finish the robot off. However it proceeded to eat my sister’s birthday cake shaped like a Furby rather than the real deal, and received no praise from anyone for its useless attempt at ending the reign of terror.

It wasn’t just the canine community who were sceptical. A myth spread that they could repeat words and phrases said around them and several American intelligence agencies banned them. Seems ironic that they were that bothered about intelligence when two years later they elected an IQ-devoid George Bush as their president.

Fortunately as with all crazes they died out, but as they were an electronic toy they could affectively live on forever. Over the past few years there have been many efforts to rid the world of these pests, such as microwaving them, setting them on fire, attaching them to a rocket or most worryingly death by drill.

With Furbys being relaunched a couple of years ago bigger then before, perhaps this evolution is indeed happening, and I applaud all those geeks on the frontline who are brutally destroying these monsters and thus preventing “iRobot” and “The Terminator” from happening. They may be our only hope.

P.S. If you want to stop cruelty to Furbys, apart from having your head seeing to, head here to adopt one.

Flat Eric

Probably the third biggest yellow star of the decade behind Bart Simpson and the girl who drank too much Sunny Delight, Flat Eric was as fly as the zip on your Levi’s jeans.

The head-popping puppet was created by French music producer/director Mr Oizo and began life as Stephane, a puppet almost identical to Flat Eric but with ears and fixed hands. Stephane appeared in some short films directed by Oizo and developed a small following in France and Britain.

With Levi’s struggling during the decade as sales of denim dropped due to the growth of combat trousers, they selected Oizo to produce an advertising campaign around Stephane. After a few alterations by the same company that produced “The Muppets” Flat Eric was born.

The character got his name as the original plan was to have his head run over by a car, but probably after seeing Brian Conley’s career go into freefall due to puppet abuse they decided that Eric would instead be featured on the run from police, along with his friend Angel in a series of ads in 1999.

The real popularity came though when Eric was seen headbanging along to one of Mr Oizo’s songs in the car as he and Angel drove along. The track was called “Flat Beat” and after public it was released as a record and reached number one in March 1999.

Due to the Flat Eric craze, Levi’s even scrapped their “one advert and you’re out” rule and our little yellow friend returned in a series of ads continuing to avoid the police. The campaign worked as sales of Levi’s Sta-Pressed One Crease trousers rocketed and helped the company get back on track.

Following the adverts, and the avalanche of merchandise that inevitably followed, Flat Eric disappeared only appearing on “The Office” as a prop and alongside David Soul in an Auto Trader advert. Further research reveals that he has turned into an alcoholic and drunkenly spends time spinning around in a washing machine.

Even though it looks like Eric has gone off the rails, here’s to hoping that he does indeed make a triumphant return after a spell in rehab like every other celebrity, and returns to being one of the world’s best headbangers alongside Wayne and Garth once again.


Probably the stupidest kids TV show in history. I mean seriously, a bunch of weird characters with antennas and television screens in their bellies, running around a fake landscape with a pet hoover. And people say cannabis should be legalised? Teletubbies began in 1997 and when I first saw it I immediately hated it. After a few months it took off, making Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po huge stars across the nation. How was it educational to kids? They just used to roll around on the floor, being fascinated with windmills and speakers that appeared from the ground and have the worse grasp of speech since Steven Hawking. They used to gorge on Tubby Custard and Tubby Toast, scoffing it down as fast as James Cordon at a free buffet. But I guess this is what toddlers are like, and that is probably why the Teletubbies scare me now just like young kids. Anytime anyone under the age of six is around me, I freeze like Gordon Brown on a live television debate and just don’t know what to do with them. If a burglar appeared in my house dressed as Po I’d end up handing over my valuables. I wasn’t the only one who found the Teletubbies unappealing. Anti-gay groups slammed Tinky Winky as he was purple and carried around a handbag with him at most times. The show’s creators claimed he wasn’t gay but come on, he’s as queer as Alan Carr dancing to the YMCA at Mardi Gras holding a sparkler. I’m sure Alan would have got on well with Noo-Noo, the sucking sensation. If only Dyson could have come up with a vacuum that goes round cleaning stuff itself, and considering the mess that the frightful foursome made he had his work cut out. Then there was the baby who appeared as the Sun, who I’m sure these days must be being treated for a severe case of melanoma. They released a single in December 1997 which reached number one for two weeks and went double platinum. Who would buy such a thing you may ask? Well, I’ll confess that I did, but only to spite my sister who desperately wanted Boyzone to hit top spot in the same week, honest! The show ended production in 2001 but continues to be repeated to this day, and so more and more kids will end up saying “Eh oh!”, spitting their food everywhere and having to say goodbye to people three times, and it is all down to those creepy characters. It just goes to show that nothing good can ever come from the countryside…

Blur v Oasis

The 90s was full of great head to head battles: Major v Blair, Tyson v Holyfield and Lisa Riley against fast food, but one of the most publicised conflicts wouldn’t take place in a sporting arena or the campaign trail but on Radio 1 and “Top of the Pops”.

Britpop was in full swing by 1995 with bands such as Pulp, Ocean Colour Scene, Suede and Cast at the forefront of British music, but the two big names dominating the charts were Blur and Oasis.

Blur had achieved major success with their 1994 album “Parklife” which stayed in the album charts for 90 weeks, and soon after Oasis released “Definitely Maybe” which became the fastest selling debut album in the UK in September 1994. With both bands releasing new albums in 1995 the rivalry would begin.

During the year the two bands had traded insults as their previous mutual respect had dissolved, and noticing an opportunity their two labels decided that they should compete against each other for the number one spot, and so in August 1995 Blur’s “Country House” would go up against the Gallagher brother’s “Roll With It”.

The battle was soon picked up by the press and it became a mini-UK class and regional war between the middle-class Southerners Blur and the working-class Northern lads of Oasis. NME summed it up well at the time when they said:

“in a week where news leaked that Saddam Hussein was preparing nuclear weapons, everyday folks were still getting slaughtered in Bosnia and Mike Tyson was making his comeback, tabloids and broadsheets alike went Britpop crazy.”

With everyone expecting an Oasis win it was actually “Country House” that came out on top, selling 274,000 copies and going straight to the top of the charts, with “Roll With It” entering at number two with 216,000.

However the Manchester lads would have the last laugh as their album “(What’s The Story?) Morning Glory” trounced their rival’s “The Great Escape” and became the third best selling album in UK music history.

Whilst neither song was either group’s finest piece of work, the battle helped put British music well and truly back on the map. The feud between the two has seemingly ended and coupled with the break-up of Oasis last year it seems unlikely that round two will ever happen.

Then again, if Rage Against The Machine can get to number one, Simon Cowell is actually straight and Jedward can get not one but two record deals, I suppose we shouldn’t take anything for granted anymore in the music business.

Sega Mega Drive

The Sega Mega Drive is to games consoles in the 90s as George Best was to football 30 year previously. Video gaming and football were obviously around before them but once they appeared on the scene the future would change forever.

The best piece of black plastic since Michael Jackson, the Mega Drive revived Sega’s fortunes in the marketplace and with some cracking games released during its eight year production its popularity lasts until today.

After the Sega Master System had been overtaken by the Super Nintendo in the late 80s, Sega realised that they had to produce a 16 bit fourth generation console to keep up. It was launched in North America as the Sega Genesis but when it arrived on our shores in November 1990 the Mega Drive was born.

The Mega Drive II followed soon after with a few tweaks making it the best console around. Add-ons would follow such as the Mega CD but even when Sega developed the Sega Saturn in 1998 it was still outsold by its older brother which went on to sell 29 million units worldwide.

With its simple design there was very little that could go wrong, but if it started playing up a simple blow into the port to force any dust out was more than necessary. However there was a glitch where if you gave it a good kick whilst you were getting destroyed on a game it would freeze, ending any torture early.

And there were plenty of classic games to play on it once you’d plugged it in and heard the classic Segaaaaa noise. I am still partial to a few games of World Cup Italia 90 and as mentioned elsewhere in this blog still bash buttons on Sonic the Hedgehog which was a worldwide smash hit.

Micro Machines was another favourite of mine due to the fact that you could plug an extra couple of controllers into the cartridge itself for four player gaming. Streets Of Rage was also a cool platform game, and I used to love messing around on Tazmania and Dizzy The Egg too.

Whilst all my mates are purring over their fancy PS3s or Xbox 360s, I still can’t resist the urge to set up my Mega Drive from time to time and kick some virtual ass on Street Fighter, safe in the knowledge that I’m playing the coolest console ever for a few hours. Well, dust permitting anyway…

Pat Sharp

The man with the worst mullet in the history of television, Pat Sharp appeared on both our TV screens and through our ghettoblaster radios throughout the late 80s and early 90s, but it will be his career in kids entertainment that he’s best remembered for.

After beginning his career on Radio 1, Radio Mercury and Capital FM he presented “Top of the Pops” before landing the best job on telly. If anyone asked you if you wanted to present a show featuring go karts, fireworks and a pair of gorgeous twins how could you turn that down?

“Fun House” began in 1989 and ran for 10 years on CITV and as its theme tune said it was a whole lot of fun with prizes to be won, and where you had to use your body and your brain if you want to play the game, It was such a hit that up to eight million people would watch it each week.

Contestants would go through three gunge-filled challenges and answered questions to gain extra points before the Fun Kart grand-prix, where they would take it in turns to drive around the track at a ridiculously slow speed and grab ribbons. The winners would then go into the Funhouse at the end where they could win cool prizes.

I can’t remember a kid not enjoying “Fun House” and even though the cheerleader twins called Melanie and Martina seemed to be only able to count to five they were as popular as Pat himself. He still claims to this day that he never enjoyed a bit of a ménage-trios in the ball pool with them but c’mon Pat your not fooling anyone!

Sharp’s success on the show led to him presenting a Saturday morning show called “What’s Up Doc” that featured Warner Brothers cartoons such as “The Animaniacs”, as well as new bands including Take That and East 17.

After then hosting a kids quiz show titled “Hang On!” where they could actually win decent prizes such as a holiday, Sharp’s presenting days ended after “Fun House” was pulled in 1999. He returned to radio and currently works at Heart 103 in Cambridge.

He tried unsuccessfully to re-make an adult version of “Fun House” a few years ago featuring Club 18-30 style games, but it was rejected by ITV which annoys me. If smut-filled drivel like “Loose Women” can be broadcast why can’t a revamped classic? I’d much rather seen the twins still looking great in their 40s rather than some aging old slappers talking crap and struggling to get a bloke.

Pat featured on Channel 4’s “The Games” and “X Factor – Battle of the Stars” in recent years, however his place in 90s nostalgia is secured with the wackiest, zaniest kids show ever, and he certainly put the fun back into everyone’s houses right through the decade.

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About me

Hi I'm Jonny, creator of this blog. Like most people in my generation, I feel that the 90s were indeed an epic decade and this is my tribute to all the things that made it great!