Nostalgia be Craze-y!
Do you know your Bulbasaur from your Beedrill? Your Charmander from your Clefairy? Do you even care?
Possibly not. But if you’ve succumbed to the craze that swept the smartphone world this summer, (hmmm… that would be me!) then you’ll know I’m talking about Pokemon Go.
From toddlers to pensioners, players avidly stared at their screens in the hope of capturing a virtual monster. However, the tech may have progressed but crazes are nothing new – we little humans love to indulge in pointless collections and activities for no other reason than our friends are doing it (FOMO anyone?)
So join me now as I look back through rose-tinted nostalgia specs and revisit some of the crazes of my 80s and 90s youth, whether I wore it, played it or collected it…
PLAYGROUND: POGS AND TAZOS
I’ll fully admit that although I had some POGS, I never really understood what I should do with them. The thing is, in my neck of the planet, POG meant someone dirty and smelly, therefore chucking a little disc of plastic in someone’s direction was either some misguided declaration of love (you know how backwards teenage boys can be in being forward!) or actually… you were being told to get a bath!
But judging by this website and the subsequent instructions of various slamming techniques, merely collecting them and periodically shouting, ‘Play for keeps’ at random points in the playground does not an expert make.
Haylee craze rating: 1/5
Honorable mentions – Spokey Dokes, those little discs of rubber that popped and flew in the air, bouncy balls and Koosh balls.
FASHION: SHELL SUITS
Oh the shame of admitting this was once my favourite item of clothing! My lilac, grey and white mix of synthetic leisure wear made me feel cool, made me feel (cough) athletic, made me look… bloody awful!
If you didn’t own a shell suit, you might as well not have existed at my high school. Thinking back, we could have been the answer to greener energy – I’m sure a small group could generate enough static electricity to power a major city! The swishy, scratchy sound of multiple wearers could be heard from afar and this day-to-evening garment could be easily jazzed up with a neon bum bag. When our grandparents started wearing them for comfort, some of us began seeing the error in our fashion fixation…
Haylee craze rating: 3/5
Honourable mentions – bum bags, reversible sweatshirts, jelly shoes / bags, Chino skirts and braces (suspenders for you US folk!)
TOYS: TROLL DOLLS
Sometimes, just like fashion, crazes resurface time and again. When a neon version of the Troll Dolls came out in my childhood, my mum eagerly bought me them, spurred on by a nostalgic love of her own collection from years previous.
They were so ugly they were cute – you could braid, twizzle or simply brush their hair into a gravity defying peak. They had characters and co-ordinating clothing and for the most part they were tiny enough to fit in your pocket – which meant you could play with them under the desk in class!
I loved my row of trolls on the windowsill and it seems they’re back again, this time on the big screen. But CGI animation will never be the same as rubbing that day-glo nylon hair against your cheek…
Haylee craze rating: 5/5
Honourable mentions: Beanie Babies, Cabbage Patch Kids, Popples.
POP(BAND) CULTURE: GROLSCH BOTTLE TOPS
Ah, the 80s were a beautiful time for fashion – said no one ever! Along with shell suits, bum bags, shoulder pads and big hair, teenagers scavenged bins at the back of pubs in the hope of finding the most treasured of all accessories – the Grolsch bottle top.
Inspired by the (lack of) fashion sense by brothers Matt and Luke Goss of the band Bros, their groupies would dutifully attach these items to their clunky shoes and clack around to prove devotion to the clan.
Mine always fell off… I think I taped them on at one point. Sexy.
Haylee craze rating: 2/5
Honourable mentions: Lace fingerless gloves and bangles, frilly white ‘pirate’ shirts and military, bandanas and denim.
ACCESSORIES: MOOD RINGS
My aura is askew, my chakra all to pot and everyone knows it because my jewellery is glowing an ominous shade of black.
Pfft! What a loads of old bobbins! Yet I believed every word and many a lunchtime was spent seeing how our fingers would react to the hot prefect that walked by or what we really thought of that mean girl who owned the place, in some weird lie detector game.
Several would try to cheat the system, insisting they could control the colours with the power of their mind but based on them working from changes in temperature, the average sweaty teenager didn’t stand a chance. And heaven forbid your ring turn dark blue when handing out books for the teacher – cue a chorus of ‘Mr. Cornelius and ___ sitting in a tree, K.I.S.S.I.N.G’!
Haylee craze rating: 3/5
Honourable mentions: Friendship bracelets, scrunchies, leg warmers, neon bobbles.
GAMING: CARD WARS
The 80s and 90s were rife with battles over small pieces of cards or sticker books that had to be filled. Over the monotonous drone of, ‘Got, got, need…’ repeated like a mantra on a daily basis, children would bond, break and come to physical blows because someone had not carried out a swap correctly.
Parents and teachers tried to ban their existence, prompting back alley deals to take place that would rival those of Mafia drug lords – robberies occurred, attacks were a constant threat and that was just the seven year olds! It was a dark time…
My weapons of choice were Garbage Pail Kids – a parody of Cabbage Patch Kids that were nowhere near as sweet. Whether it was because I was disgruntled with not owning a CPK or whether it’s because I’m slightly warped anyway, these completely un-PC, twisted little beings captured my attention. I liked the rhyming names, the play on words, the creepy-ass images… I’m sure they wouldn’t be allowed to be sold to kids these days!