Hanneke du Toit

Check, leathers, gun-toting and roses: the revenge of the 90s

The 80's steadily digressed from gilt to guilt, and the after party in the 90's was nursing the hang-over. Queue grunge, and it's translucent, waif-like sister, heroine chic. Everybody looked like they hadn't slept or showered in months.

A nod to the nineties cult film: stylised violence set in bland suburban landscape – the short film promo for the new album by The Dead Weather.

BLAME IT ON THE ANTI-BOOGIE Dust off your docs, ditch the shampoo and wipe that smile from your face – the 90s are back.

Out dancing with friends a week-end ago, we were served a selection of alternative 90s chart toppers to groove to. The dance floor erupted in spontaneous ensemble-karaoke at the chorus of every “invigorating power ballad”. But something was missing: beats – about 55 of them, every minute. Half way into every song, the predictable, mid-paced tempo became boring. All you could do was to pull harder at your beer and wait for the next track.

A few die-hards always head-bang, but head-banging – that extreme form of nodding in agreement – does not by itself qualify as dancing, at least not in my deeply un-cool opinion. While you might well be able to come as you are, you can’t dance to the 90’s.

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You had me at “Hello World”

The Sinclair ZX81 – with all of 1K of RAM.

The Sinclair ZX81 – with all of 1K of RAM.

What a wonderful 80’s headline. Power. Apparently that’s what everyone was into in the 80’s: power dressing, bouffant power coiffes kept in check by nuclear powered hairspray leaving a sticky film on power padded shoulders. Whether you were an American Psycho-esque inner city slicker with a corner office, or the teenage geek next door screwing around with bits of computer, the cats on Madison avenue figured that power was what you were after. And they were going to offer you that, whether it was actually present in the advertised product, or not. Because the funny thing about the ZX 81 is that it had 1K of RAM – remarkably underpowered even for its time. I’d imagine the guitarist of Kiss could negotiate more functionality out of his instrument (if you count trashing hotel rooms) than a prospective computer geek could extract from this basic little PC with 1 K of RAM. But as it turns out it was not power, but something closer to – dare I say it – love that afforded the ZX 81 its cult following.

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