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12 things almost every teenager in Southampton experienced during the 1990s
LIFE these days may be dominated by rent, mortgages, jobs and children, but there was a simplier time - and hopefully these will jog your memories of easier days!
Here are 12 things Southampton teenagers did in the 1990s, but if you have any more, feel free to share them in the comments section below the article and share the nostalgia with other readers.
1. Meet the world and his wife outside Maccy D's.
The old McDonald's restaurant in Above Bar.
There were plenty of places in Southampton to go, but without fail, every single secondary schoolchild arranged to meet their mates outside McDonald's on Above Bar. In the days before texting and mobiles, it was an easy spot - and a cheeky cheeseburger in case you didn't have time for breakfast as you didn't wake up until 2pm and had to run for the bus. You may even remember the statue of Ronald McDonald encased in glass. At least you could always get a seat upstairs.
As you got older, you may have been more considered about your meeting spot, so opted to meet outside HMV, to show everyone how serious you were about your music.
Getting to grips with Daytona USA at Sega Park in Southampton
Bright flashing lights, exciting sounds - Sega Park was basically a breeding ground for all the short attention spans we're blighted with these days. Yes, you were too young to drive, but why not impress your mates with your amazing powerslides on Daytona USA, show them what a hero you were by taking out all the square robbers on Virtua Cop or show off your dance moves on the thing with the flashing lights on the floor?
3. Hung around outside a jewellery shop building up courage to get a piercing
You wanted one but needed some convincing that it wasn't going to hurt
Claire's Accessories in the Marlands was a favourite spot for this. The girls piled in to get someone to shoot a gun through the top part of their ear or belly button, whilst the boys (be they boyfriends or wannabe boyfriends) hung around outside, desperately trying to walk the tightrope of being interested in what the girl was doing and at the same time trying to look cool in front of any mates who happened to be walking by on their way to All:Sports to look at Nike Air Max trainers or something.
After getting a piercing, many decided to hang out beside the cheap earring stall in the middle of the shopping centre, while secretly hoping their new piercing wouldn't get infected like that girl-everyone-hated-at-school's belly button did.
4. Travelled through time at Ocean Village
Canute's Pavilion at Ocean Village. Everything you ever wanted.
The Victorian and Edwardian Penny Arcade at Canute's Pavillion in Ocean Village was a glimpse of the past; you could convert your penny into a souvenir, win mini Dairy Milks or even race minature horses by turning very creaky wheels as vast as your little arms would go. It was essentially Sega Park without the Sega.
If you wanted something a bit more hi-tech, you could go shoot your mates in the face with a laser gun at Quasar, just a few doors down. It was covered in neon colours and UV lights, bringing that futuristic space station feel to the old docks, just with more chipboard.
You probably remember Quasar being a lot cooler than this.
5. Got Woken up by a massive bear (or man made of sweets)
Bertie Bassett at Southampton Balloon Festival
Once a year, the air would be filled with hot air balloons, from the massive Rupert the Bear or the huge Bertie Bassett. The unmistakable sound of the balloon being pumped full of air woke up many a child on a Sunday morning, before they staggered to the window to see what was going on. You were always sure they were going to hit that huge tree over the road, but they somehow never did.
6. Got wet and wild in full view of everyone
The flumes at Centre 2000 in Southampton
When taking the plunge, it was customary to swim down to the windows in Centre 2000 to wave at passers-by, as well as flying down the flumes that went outside the building - especially the super fast Hydro Whip. If you were really brave (or trying to pretend you were really brave) you could even try and tackle the diving boards.
Sadly, the centre closed not that long into the decade, leaving the rather more serene options of Bitterne Leisure Centre and Oaklands - their more serene flumes didn't quite have the same excitement factor as Centre 2000. If you could get your mum to give you a lift though, you could always venture out to the edge of civilisation to Romsey Rapids...
7. Held on for dear life
The Bucking Bronco at Way Out West
Ocean Village really did have it all. Victorian games, laser guns, ice cream and even a Bucking Bronco. Way Out West may have been a bar but during the day it was solely the preserve of teenagers who were certain they could do better on the bucking bronco than their mates. It may not have been expensive, but the bar must have made a fortune from all the change that went flying as unassuming patrons realised they probably should have emptied their pockets before they were humiliated by the mechanical bull with an attitude problem and demonic eyes.
8. Failed a slam dunk at the basketball court in JJB.
A basketball. Photos of JJB in 1990's Southampton are surprsingly hard to come by.
Admittedly, no-one had any intention of ever actually buying anything in there, but the sportier kids were always making use of the free basketball court inside JJB down at WestQuay. While you were waiting to get on the court, you could always look through the vast array of Reebok Classics or the various football shirts - before being annoyed that they didn't sell any Saints ones. At least they had a Southampton FC flag that was the same size as your house.
9. Felt the Power
Boyzone at Power in the Park in 1996
One Sunday every year, Southampton became a musical mecca - if you liked Let Loose or Peter Andre, that is. Power in the Park was massive for a few years. Who can forget the highlights of Boyzone's backing track skipping or Sash! getting to to the stage after his set had finished?
Louise Redknapp seemed to be there every year, as did Ocean Colour Scene - who once claimed Power in the Park was one of the biggest festivals in the country(!). There was something to be said to hearing the bass from miles away as you headed for the Common, though, as you joined the throng of what was often claimed to be 100,000 people.
10. Tried to get into McCluskey's, New Yorks, Ikon or Nexus
New York, New York, after the glory days had long gone
The Holy Grail was often getting into a night club on a proper night out, instead of the 'nappy nights' that used to be on at Ikon and Diva during half term. You rehearsed your date of birth, put on the clothes that made you look older (untucked smart shirt, black shoes and gallons of hair gel for the boys, short skirt and low cut top for the girls, usually showing a bare midriff too) and did your best to act confident in front of the bouncers and the barstaff. If you could make it into an over-25's night, you had truly made it and were deemed a legend by your mates for at least 15 minutes.
Failure to get in however, was usually greeted with an aimless wander around town before sitting on a park bench with a single bottle of extra-strength, £1.99 cider. Between 10 of you.
11. Whiled away the hours in record stores.
Virgin Megastore in Southampton
Teenagers all over the world love music, and Southampton was no exception. There was the tiny old Our Price store but HMV and Virgin Megastore were the big two, with loads more records and you could even go in and play the new Sega Saturn or Sony Playstation without having to pay anything - although eventually you'd have to go as you just knew the old bloke (aged 21) behind the till was going to have a go at you for spending too long hogging the game. Virgin is now a bank, but you probably still remember where all the chart singles were as you withdraw cash to pay your overdue gas bill.
12. Stared at the bloke with the dancing Teletubbies
The Teletubbies busker. Pic from madhousebeyond.com
He was always there on Above Bar. He had a big long white beard, various percussion instruments and of course the four dancing Teletubbies, which in later years were mysteriously joined by a guitar-strumming Elvis Presley - whose head was almost the same side as the rest of his body. You had no idea the tune was that he was playing, but you can still see the four colourful characters moving in time to the drum and tamborine. Someone has even dedicated a small webpage to him.