How dangerous Don’t Try This at Home was. Forget Kangaroo testicle chewing or being buried neck deep in sand and snakes in the jungle. Pffft! Those celebrities don’t know how easy they’ve got it! Don’t Try This at Home was some edge of your seat Saturday night drama that always stopped my pizza half way to my mouth as I watched, wide-eyed, as someone attempted to tightrope walk between two hot air balloons! And there was no Twitter chat hashtag to follow along with the show either, just the sound of my Mum behind a pillow saying ‘STUFF that! I CAN’T watch!’
How nervous you would get knocking on at a friends house to see if they could come out and play. We didn’t have Whatsapp group chats, where we could arrange times and corners, which bikes to bring or if we would try and sneak round to the big kids park. We had to walk up the path, knock on the door and hope that we hadn’t caught them in the middle of their tea! And what was even worse than knocking on?
Phoning your friend's house! Nobody had a mobile phone! Everyone had one number, a landline, a house phone and anyone could answer! It wasn’t until we got into our teens that we might be able to text each other to arrange a time to call to make sure the other person got to the phone before their Mum did. And boy, if your mum got on the phone, why did it always seem like she purposefully stayed on longer than usual when you’d mentioned earlier that you wanted to phone your mate?
The dreaded dial-up. No broadband, no wireless, the Internet came from your landline and if you went online, nobody could phone your house and you couldn’t phone out either! And the noise! That dreaded scratching and squeaking that gave the game away every time you tried to sneak back online after your allotted time was up! OR, if you tried to sneak on and hadn’t realised someone was using the house phone! The murder that dial up caused, I’m surprised any of us don’t still have the phone cords wrapped around our necks!
Point and shoot! You couldn’t check any pictures you’d taken, you just had to line up the viewfinder and hope for the best! Oh, now it’s super cool to take pictures on vintage, screen-less cameras, but back in the day, it was a seriously fine art to get everyone in the shot and standing still! We didn’t have sports mode, or night mode, or any mode! And if you managed to convince your parents to develop a roll of film with the weekly shot, you prayed there were more than one or two usable ones before they rollicked you for wasting money!
Hotels and holidays were booked through word of mouth. You could only be talked into going somewhere, never talked out by reading a zillion reviews online. You took it on faith that the pictures and write ups in paper brochures were true, you booked your trip and always expected the best. If it all went wrong, well, you’d get on with it and complain to your neighbours when you got home!
And when you did go abroad, all the mobile phones went in the safe. With roaming charges more expensive than the holiday itself, nobody was risking coming home to that bill - especially when it came out of your parent's bank account. You’d take your phone with you, but as soon as you checked in, it was switched off and chucked in the safe, never to be looked at until you checked out and headed home!
You would cut out pictures from the Argos or Index catalogue, maybe even the Grattan, and pin them onto a cork board. One day it was your dream home, the next your Christmas list, after that, your ideal Summer wardrobe, or how many outfits you could create with 5 pieces of clothing. This was only shared with friends who came round and had the privilege of being allowed into your bedroom!
Music was played from CDs, one album at a time. A playlist was a poorly recorded mixtape!
A vlog was a shaky camcorder recording of random, unrelated segments of your last trip. Usually involving your mum trying to run out of the shot, voiced over by your dad and you jumping in front of the camera with a song you just had to sing right then and there with your brother crying in the background!
Kids these days, they don’t know what they’re missing!
Until next time,