After hearing the surprising news that cassette tapes are making a comeback, I thought I’d share my list of 10 ways that life was different in 1990. I compiled it during the research for my novel, Crossing Live, but it might just contain some pointers to the next retro craze.
10 ways that life was different in 1990
- The internet as we know it didn’t exist. That really needs saying again. There was almost no internet. And the few specialists who accessed it used dial-up modems. Remember the sound they made during the handshake? If you want to see a great video of the 1990s NBC Today show team struggling to understand what the internet is, click here.
- Mobile phones were still a novelty and they certainly weren’t smart. Text messages weren’t in regular use on mobile phones until well into the 90s.
- We got our news from television, radio and newspapers. If you missed it, you missed it. There was no seeing it again on social media.
- Books came from bookshops, or from a library.
- Music collections came in the form of records, cassettes and CDs. You taped records or borrowed them. And you bought them in record stores.
- Apple’s computer was still called a Macintosh. It hadn’t yet been shortened to Mac. Windows 3.1 was still in development.
- Going off grid was something everyone did every day. There was no need for a digital detox. All you had to do was take the telephone off the hook or plug in an answering machine.
- Workplaces were technologically much simpler. Computers existed, but they weren’t on everyone’s desk. Email hardly existed and few people took their work home with them.
- People smoked everywhere, even in restaurants.
- Cameras had rolls of film in them. Being limited to 24 or 36 shots really concentrated the mind. There was a real excitement and often utter disappointment when the holiday prints came back from developing.
There are endless other ways that life was different in 1990. If I’ve left your favourite memory from life in 1990 off the list, please let me know.