sweets in 1990s

A day in the life in 1993

I wake up and run downstairs. My body is pure energy – sparks fly from my fingertips and lazers shoot from my eyes. I skid into the living room and turn on our rented TV-VHS combi. The Big Breakfast is on and I watch Zig and Zag with a massive bowl of Frosties. They’re not my favourite cereals – they’re not even actually that grrreat! – I only picked them because they came with a free neon spoke for my BMX. 

Once I’m done splashing milk all down my Count Duckula PJs, I change into my school joggers and my special T-shirt that changes colour depending on my body temperature. I put on my Clarks and my mum hands me my lunchbox. Thick brittle bright yellow Bluebird plastic with a lush Lion-O, sword drawn and ready, on the front – Thundercats ho! I know exactly what’s in it: a Penguin chocolate bar, haslet sandwiches, a packet of Tangy Toms and a flask full of squash that despite looking indestructible like the detonator of a nuclear bomb from a Bond film (by the way I love James Bond, Roger Moore is my most favoritest), it’s guaranteed to leak and soak all my sandwiches by lunchtime. 

I shove some Monsters in My Pocket into my pocket along with some broken biscuits from the big cardboard box in the treats cupboard. I will eat these on the short walk to school. 

At school, I read The Outsiders by S.E Hinton and help build a robot. I also write a poem about Victorians. 

At break, a girl runs over to me giggling and places a fortune telling fish in my hand. The transparent red fish curls up into a tight spiral in my palm. 

After consulting her notes and the mood ring that glows on her index finger, she tells me that it’s over between us. I hadn’t realised we were even going out, but that doesn’t stop the colour of my T-shirt quickly changing around my now broken heart. I call her frigid – whatever the hell that means – and run off to play What’s the time, Mr Wolf? 

It seems everyone is telling fortunes today. The posh girl with the American dad (actually Canadian) is taking appointments behind the bin with her Magic 8 ball. A consultation costs a Push Pop – and you only ever get one question and three goes at getting the right answer. 

I much prefer the homemade paper fortune tellers. Pick a number.  Pick a colour. Pick a number. Pick a colour. And it always says ‘you smell like poo’. At least you know exactly where you’re at. 

I try to climb the rope in P.E and fail for like the trillionth time. I decide to do skipping instead, but instantly trip and headbutt the hobby horse – a beast from the last century made from some hardwood, probably now extinct. They write me up in the accident book, again.

At lunch, I play Super Cars Top Trumps and marbles until Pete, the weird kid, forces me to intersect the fingers of my closed palms with his closed palms. He unpeels his clammy hands and then closes them again, he tells me to do the same and to look at the fanny. I decide that fannys look strange and that Pete is definitely not my friend. 

In the afternoon, I carry on my project about Egyptians. A few of us sneak off to the toilets together and play the paper towel game. You get a paper towel, soak it in water and then scrunch it up and throw it as hard as you can at the ceiling. Whoever’s stays up there the longest wins. 

After school, I go to the sweet shop and buy ten pence worth of Blackjacks and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle bubblegum complete with free transfer tattoo for five pence. I get home and put the transfer on my cheek, pressing it with a hot flannel until I feel my skin itch with its acceptance.  

There are still thirty seven hours left of the day, so I head outside to play football in the street. Some of the kids go off to play knock and run, but I’d much rather practice my skills. 

Pilchard pizza, strawberry angel delight and then one hour of Commodore 64 before bed. The game I want to play takes 46 minutes to load. I play it until I hear the knock from downstairs that signals bedtime. I read Hardy Boys with a torch until the rechargeable batteries run out.  


Read more retro thoughts about slow Sundays as a kid.

Photo by Eva Wilcock on Unsplash

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Tom Spooner

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