12 things almost every teenager in Southampton experienced during the 1990s

Power in the Park 1997

Power in the Park 1997

First published in News
Last updated
Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Digital Editor

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.

2. Daayytttooooonnnnaaaaa

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?

There wasn't much else in the Bargate Centre, but it was a lot easier than walking all the way to that new Leisure World, which was miles away

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.

Comments (20)

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12:37pm Fri 31 Jan 14

CarlyKin says...

Yep that was my childhood in a nutshell! Great story and brought back some amazing memories!!! :D
Yep that was my childhood in a nutshell! Great story and brought back some amazing memories!!! :D CarlyKin
  • Score: 25

12:58pm Fri 31 Jan 14

ShakeyWiffles says...

My childhood! We used to have all the balloons floating over our back garden. Gotta say though, I never built up the courage to get a piercing mainly because I didn't need courage!
My childhood! We used to have all the balloons floating over our back garden. Gotta say though, I never built up the courage to get a piercing mainly because I didn't need courage! ShakeyWiffles
  • Score: 8

1:17pm Fri 31 Jan 14

TurquoiseJ says...

The teletubbies band was still outside west quay when I moved to Southampton in 2000
The teletubbies band was still outside west quay when I moved to Southampton in 2000 TurquoiseJ
  • Score: 5

1:45pm Fri 31 Jan 14

Zexagon says...

CarlyKin wrote:
Yep that was my childhood in a nutshell! Great story and brought back some amazing memories!!! :D
Dog and duck, Thursdays. Oceans,
[quote][p][bold]CarlyKin[/bold] wrote: Yep that was my childhood in a nutshell! Great story and brought back some amazing memories!!! :D[/p][/quote]Dog and duck, Thursdays. Oceans, Zexagon
  • Score: 23

2:53pm Fri 31 Jan 14

marlskij says...

They missed hanging outside Tripp2 on a sat afternoon listening to the rave tunes!!
They missed hanging outside Tripp2 on a sat afternoon listening to the rave tunes!! marlskij
  • Score: 26

3:29pm Fri 31 Jan 14

pap says...

About six or seven of these. Always thought the Maccys crowd a bit sad, being a dirty rocker and all, but got into Raffles at 15, yo!
About six or seven of these. Always thought the Maccys crowd a bit sad, being a dirty rocker and all, but got into Raffles at 15, yo! pap
  • Score: 10

5:16pm Fri 31 Jan 14

RomseyKeith says...

There were also the 2 cinemas on the high street. My mates and I saw some cinematic classics there, like Batman Returns, Lethal Weapon 3, Under Siege, and Duck Tales the Movie. Treats indeed. Or we'd walk down to Ocean Village.
There were also the 2 cinemas on the high street. My mates and I saw some cinematic classics there, like Batman Returns, Lethal Weapon 3, Under Siege, and Duck Tales the Movie. Treats indeed. Or we'd walk down to Ocean Village. RomseyKeith
  • Score: 10

5:49pm Fri 31 Jan 14

03alpe01 says...

Why did they have to get rid of this stuff? We actually had stuff to do back then
Why did they have to get rid of this stuff? We actually had stuff to do back then 03alpe01
  • Score: 23

8:59pm Fri 31 Jan 14

Stoney1979 says...

To be fair, with the exception of Centre 2000, and the Balloon Fest, this is the 12 things every teen did everywhere, in every decade. And there in lies the problem with Southampton, generic town, generic things to do, generic people - no personality, heart or sole. Nothing that is 'Southampton' - just some houses in England
To be fair, with the exception of Centre 2000, and the Balloon Fest, this is the 12 things every teen did everywhere, in every decade. And there in lies the problem with Southampton, generic town, generic things to do, generic people - no personality, heart or sole. Nothing that is 'Southampton' - just some houses in England Stoney1979
  • Score: -24

12:27pm Sat 1 Feb 14

Rockhopper says...

Just goes to show how disappointing Southampton has become when you compare to how it was in the 90's.
All Southampton City Council are interested in is West Quay Shopping Centre and to hell with anything else!
Just goes to show how disappointing Southampton has become when you compare to how it was in the 90's. All Southampton City Council are interested in is West Quay Shopping Centre and to hell with anything else! Rockhopper
  • Score: 12

1:24pm Sat 1 Feb 14

03alpe01 says...

Rockhopper wrote:
Just goes to show how disappointing Southampton has become when you compare to how it was in the 90's.
All Southampton City Council are interested in is West Quay Shopping Centre and to hell with anything else!
Sad but true. Southampton City Council's only interests are as follows:

West Quay

Watermark West Quay

Introducing evening parking charges that will scare everyone off

Sticking another bloody casino on the Waterfront and ruining what could have been a great Waterfront spot, whilst completely ignoring the fact that one down there has recently shut down and they so badly want to turn it into yet another strip club.

As for everything else it's a case of 'To Hell with it and Bugger the lot of 'ya!'
[quote][p][bold]Rockhopper[/bold] wrote: Just goes to show how disappointing Southampton has become when you compare to how it was in the 90's. All Southampton City Council are interested in is West Quay Shopping Centre and to hell with anything else![/p][/quote]Sad but true. Southampton City Council's only interests are as follows: West Quay Watermark West Quay Introducing evening parking charges that will scare everyone off Sticking another bloody casino on the Waterfront and ruining what could have been a great Waterfront spot, whilst completely ignoring the fact that one down there has recently shut down and they so badly want to turn it into yet another strip club. As for everything else it's a case of 'To Hell with it and Bugger the lot of 'ya!' 03alpe01
  • Score: 9

3:58pm Sat 1 Feb 14

callcopse says...

Stoney1979 wrote:
To be fair, with the exception of Centre 2000, and the Balloon Fest, this is the 12 things every teen did everywhere, in every decade. And there in lies the problem with Southampton, generic town, generic things to do, generic people - no personality, heart or sole. Nothing that is 'Southampton' - just some houses in England
That's hardly fair, there are numerous shoe shops where shoes, including their soles, can be purchased, as well as shops and restaurants where lemon dover sole and other varieties of sole are certainly likely to be seasonally available.

Of course you may have meant soul - in which case there is a whole cellar full available. It is now renamed The Cellar but the domain gives it away.
http://www.soulcella
rtickets.co.uk/
[quote][p][bold]Stoney1979[/bold] wrote: To be fair, with the exception of Centre 2000, and the Balloon Fest, this is the 12 things every teen did everywhere, in every decade. And there in lies the problem with Southampton, generic town, generic things to do, generic people - no personality, heart or sole. Nothing that is 'Southampton' - just some houses in England[/p][/quote]That's hardly fair, there are numerous shoe shops where shoes, including their soles, can be purchased, as well as shops and restaurants where lemon dover sole and other varieties of sole are certainly likely to be seasonally available. Of course you may have meant soul - in which case there is a whole cellar full available. It is now renamed The Cellar but the domain gives it away. http://www.soulcella rtickets.co.uk/ callcopse
  • Score: 17

7:00am Sun 2 Feb 14

elvisimo says...

03alpe01 wrote:
Why did they have to get rid of this stuff? We actually had stuff to do back then
You can turn any story into a gripe or moan.
[quote][p][bold]03alpe01[/bold] wrote: Why did they have to get rid of this stuff? We actually had stuff to do back then[/p][/quote]You can turn any story into a gripe or moan. elvisimo
  • Score: 0

12:31pm Sun 2 Feb 14

03alpe01 says...

elvisimo wrote:
03alpe01 wrote:
Why did they have to get rid of this stuff? We actually had stuff to do back then
You can turn any story into a gripe or moan.
so you're quite happy for things such as the Balloon Festival and Power in the Park to be banished to the history books then? We might have actually stood a chance of winning the City of Culture thing back then!
[quote][p][bold]elvisimo[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]03alpe01[/bold] wrote: Why did they have to get rid of this stuff? We actually had stuff to do back then[/p][/quote]You can turn any story into a gripe or moan.[/p][/quote]so you're quite happy for things such as the Balloon Festival and Power in the Park to be banished to the history books then? We might have actually stood a chance of winning the City of Culture thing back then! 03alpe01
  • Score: 7

2:41pm Sun 2 Feb 14

sophisticated says...

Why did they change Ocean Village? It was much better than it is now.
Why did they change Ocean Village? It was much better than it is now. sophisticated
  • Score: 9

5:23pm Mon 3 Feb 14

Saintcosser says...

Nexus......
Nexus...... Saintcosser
  • Score: 2

8:30pm Mon 3 Feb 14

WalkingOnAWire says...

@Stoney1979 - "no personality, heart or sole. "

I should hope so too. If you want that kind of thing, there's always Portsmouth.
@Stoney1979 - "no personality, heart or sole. " I should hope so too. If you want that kind of thing, there's always Portsmouth. WalkingOnAWire
  • Score: 2

11:11pm Mon 3 Feb 14

ratface75 says...

boy racers, good times
boy racers, good times ratface75
  • Score: 2

8:08am Tue 4 Feb 14

THE BRICK says...

Southampton, what a total social dump. The whole regional experience around the metropolitan area has been left to rot in the last 30 years as more and more shops and restaurants, pubs and cinemas have been the main focus of planners.
The local plans from all the LPA's have been drab, no vision, no excitement, because they have been drawn up with one theme in mind, what the developer wants, not what the people wants. Instead of the council's writing a plan based on what they want to see, they have written their plans on what they think will please the developers and what will 'attract' investment, instead of going out and 'seeking' investment. There is a big difference in those two actions, so what you have now in Southampton in a developers idea of a city, and not what the peoples view is, that is why you haven't got facilities like Nottingham, or Sheffield, or even Swindon have.
Southampton, what a total social dump. The whole regional experience around the metropolitan area has been left to rot in the last 30 years as more and more shops and restaurants, pubs and cinemas have been the main focus of planners. The local plans from all the LPA's have been drab, no vision, no excitement, because they have been drawn up with one theme in mind, what the developer wants, not what the people wants. Instead of the council's writing a plan based on what they want to see, they have written their plans on what they think will please the developers and what will 'attract' investment, instead of going out and 'seeking' investment. There is a big difference in those two actions, so what you have now in Southampton in a developers idea of a city, and not what the peoples view is, that is why you haven't got facilities like Nottingham, or Sheffield, or even Swindon have. THE BRICK
  • Score: -5

1:44pm Wed 25 Jun 14

southamptonkd* says...

Way out west what an amazing place that was I loved to go into the caves to get pretty stones but you had to hurry before your light went out!! :)
Way out west what an amazing place that was I loved to go into the caves to get pretty stones but you had to hurry before your light went out!! :) southamptonkd*
  • Score: 2
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