The wind-down of Woolworths and the subsequent £15,000 ‘last-ever’ bag of flumps, shrimps and cola bottles has got me thinking about the Pic N’ Mix glory days: the nineties.
Woollies is bustling, Curly Wurlys are as long as your arm and Coolio is still cool. Your sister is asking her hairdresser for ‘a Rachael’, your mum is using sticky-back plastic to make you a Tracey Island and your Dad is reading about ‘The Internet’ whatever that might be.
You spend your afternoons watching Art Attack, Zap! with Daisy-Dares-You, Fun House with Pat Sharp and the twins, Goosebumps, Are You Afraid Of The Dark and The Queen’s Nose whilst munching on a combination of Opal Fruits, Nerdz, and Smarties in circular tubes. Otherwise you’re on your rollerblades with your hand in your pocket giving your Tamagotchi a little stroke whilst munching on a combination of Pez, Hubba Bubba and (ONLY if you’re a girl) Lovehearts.
At the school disco, boys are only welcome dressed in Kappa-Snappers and Ellesse Canvases. Even then they must know the Macerena, the entire Fresh Prince rap and be prepared to give a Run DMC headspin a good go. It’s like that, and that’s the way it is. A harem of mini-Spice Girls turn up letting everyone know what they really really want with pigtails, union jack dresses and for those imitating the sporty one, more Kappa-Snappers. Panda Pop’s and Tip-Top’s all the way, not a single of the original alcho-pops; Hooch, Woody’s or Bulldog in sight.
It’s Saturday morning and whilst Oasis and Blur are fighting for number one, you’re fighting for the remote – Live and Kicking with Rugrats and Kenan and Kel vs. SM:TV Live with Wonky Donkey and Pokemon. You have a glass of Sunny Delight with your Pop Tart, before agreeing with your siblings that you’ll play Tekken II on the Playstation until CD:UK.
At the newsagent you grab a few bags of crisps. You’re not fussed – Worcester Sauce, Tomato Ketchup or Cheese and Chive, it doesn’t matter – you’re really after a pog but will settle for lucky blue packet. 50p buys you 50 sweets and £1 – five whole packets of stickers; yeah you’ll have loads of swapsies but the playground will sort that out on Monday morning. Mum’s in the corner trying to remember everyone’s birthdays for tonight’s National Lottery with Anthea Turner and Mystic Meg.
Lunch spirals into chaos when your little brother’s Woody doesn’t wind up. You make things worse by beeming Buzz’s laser into his eyes as he takes a bite of his hamburger. You quickly learn that what goes around comes around as you suck up your chocolate milkshake only to get a brain-freeze. Mum’s demanding a working-Woody as your Dad heads for the car humming Gina-G.
The Hoff and Pammy are running down the beach in tight-red’s as the jacket potato comes out of the oven. Jet, Wolf, Saracen and Lightening are swinging the hoops of hang-tough and climbing the wall as you bash your Kinder Surprise on the table and ‘our Graham’ announces ‘here is your host, miss Cilla Black as your Dad reaches for the remote.
Three hairy kids calling themselves Hanson are bleeting on about Mmmbop, B*Witched are like 4 bulls in a Levis shop, Cleopatra are apparently, comin’ atchya and this just in: everyone needs a bosom for a pillow.
Written by Carl Hemp