The 90s House Party

I took my 17 year old neighbour to a friend’s house party recently, he was all hyped about the night of debauchery that lay ahead of him and it got me thinking about my old debaucherous days back in the late 90s.


I had a LOT of parties in Herent Drive. My parents loved to go on holiday and I’m sure they’d have hated the thought of me on my own, so by inviting half of Gantshill back to my house after the pub, I was actually doing them a favour. You see we didn’t have mobile phones back then, a few of my richer, knobbier friends had pagers, but if you wanted to ensure your got a good turn-out to your shindig, you had to get out there and promote it and what better place to do that then the local Wetherspoon?

We’d start our Friday night drinking snakebite. There were even a few nights where we’d just purchase blackcurrant and soda for around 30p and add our own vodka. The crowd was full of Friday night faces all looking for somewhere to go after the last order bell rang.


A sign of a great party is a huge pile of scratched up unboxed cds and empty cases strewn across a living room floor. There were no playlists back then, just long expensive albums. Our stereo had a 6 CD deck, which could ‘AUTO RANDOM’. Wow, this was an amazing technological advancement when you could figure out how to use it. Some kids, who liked to impose their music tastes on others, actually carried around CDS with them, and these were the ones you’d find sat by the stereo, frightening everyone else away.

Then came phone-in music channels such as ‘The Box’, oh my, they changed our Friday and Saturday nights. You could call a premium rate phone number, dial a three digit code and request any song you wanted. Trouble was, every drunk teenager with a television was doing exactly the same thing, so you could sometimes wait hours for your song. Once I requested McAlmont and Butler’s YES and it didn’t come on until 9am the next morning, but God, was I happy to see those guys!


The local off-licence used to sell us alcohol when we were wearing school uniform, so you’d think getting your hands on booze back then would be easy. WRONG, it was almost impossible. You see, parties wouldn’t start until after the pubs closed at 11, and what also happened at 11pm in the UK? Shops weren’t legally allowed to sell alcohol to ANYONE, they actually used to lock it away! So you needed to either forward plan and sort a stash beforehand, or you had to get a cab to one of the few shops that you knew would sell you cans of Fosters from under the counter at double the price. There were also a few kebab shops that would deliver beer after hours, but you had to make sure when you phoned you ended up speaking to the right person, you don’t want to piss-off your local take-away.


To my life-long disappointment houseparties in Ilford were never like the parties I’d seen in American movies, growing up. We didn’t have massive houses, pools or cheerleaders, we were just groups of dirty looking kids drinking and smoking weed. There was rarely dancing, most people just sat around, there was always that one guy that showed up with his guitar. We’d piss the neighbours off, break things unintentially and laugh about all week at school.

Man those were the days.


Nostalgia inducing mid-life crisis

I spent a night with some old university friends in my old university town. The night that bubbled with the memories of Jarvis Cocker and Damon Alban lookalikes, has made me pine for a past that’s long gone flat.

My late teen years were a time of £1.20 Taboos and Lemonades, broken hearts and kind unappreciated eyes , that shine kinder now for someone else. I never spoke Welsh, maybe if I did I would have married a Welshman. Things would be different now. They get you those Welsh boys, with their singsong accents and hearts full of green grass and seaside. They get you hard.

My university town was Cardiff. I remember walking through the town for the first time, it seemed so small and managable compared to London. Intimate and easy, windy streets with dingy bars, and kissing on steps.

Now I’m so much older, there’s magic in those memories. Haircuts influenced by Anthea Turner and Kylie Minogue fringes. Not being able to afford tickets to an Oasis gig, but rocking up anyway, hanging around the outside, desperate for a look at a Gallagher. Singing your sout out to Neil Hannon and his Divine Comedy. Eyeliner and glitter smeared on your face after a night of enjoying someone you shouldn’t be enjoying.

My Dad posting me a Fleetwood Mac CD, and the Goddess power radiating though my tiny stereo and into my bones and blood. ‘You can do anything.’ Stevie whispers as she dances through my veins, ‘Anything.’

Uncategorized, Writing

He’s On The Phone #TeenInThe90s

Before mobiles, we had landlines. 

Phone numbers used to be ingrained into our psyche.   Even now, I might not be able to tell you my husband’s mobile number, but I can recite my house, my three best friends, my nan and grandads and my auntie Hannah’s 90’s phone numbers.   Some of those people aren’t with me any longer but their numbers remain scratched into my heart.

So when you met a boy in a club and gave him your number that meant you’d given him an cabled invite into your home.   It meant when the phone rang, you had to run to it and hope you’d get it before your mum or dad answered.  on those horrible occasions that your mum beat you to it, you had to cringe at her over the top posh phone voice.

It meant you had to wait in for the phone to ring and sometimes it didn’t!  It meant phone messages written on scraps of paper.

He called.  He really called.

Untitled design

Phoning someone meant huge risk of having to speak to their family members, so you only phoned people you really really liked.  So when the guy you liked picked up the phone – that was a big deal.

The worse is that in the early internet days when phone and online time shared the same temperamental pathway into your home – you could either speak on the phone or chat online, but you could never do both at once.  So if your mum was having a three hour conversation with your aunt, that meant you’re chat would get cut off.  It also meant if your dad wanted to get online, he’d be hammering at your door impatiently until you hung up from your beau.

Copy of Facebook Post – Untitled Design

*In 96 some really flashy kids had mobile phones – I wasn’t one of them!  Some other kids even had pagers.   Below is a ‘business card’ from an old boyfriend and his friend.  See the comment about the cost – this is because in the 90s we were all terrified of phone bills, especially calls to mobiles.  These dicks actually used to hand these cards out to girls in clubs.

Untitled design (1)

If you are enjoying these short excerpts from my 1996 diary, then why not consider beta-reading my YA novel, A Future Somewhere for me? 


Some more phonecall excerpts from 1996 below:



90s Indie clubs – The Island Ilford. Part 1

In 1996, I spent a lot of my time thinking and obsessing about Friday nights at an indie club tucked around the back of Ilford.  A barely converted cinema, with two levels of alternative music and cheap drink.  It was a magical place where anything could happen.

I grew up in this weird little corner of the world where London meets Essex. My early clubbing experiences involved bright coloured mini skirts and getting off with boys in pastel coloured shirts and curtains. But in May of 96, a much cooler friend took me with her to Supersonic, an indie/rock night that changed my life.

Untitled design

I was late to the party.   Before the bibity-bops of indie took over, the club belonged to ‘Alcatraz’ a heavier rock and grunge night.    I’m kind of glad I missed it.   Making the transition from dance to indie wasn’t easy, and Supersonic was just the right balance of kitsch, disco and heartache to make me feel at home.

The folk at The Island were special. When I was sixteen, kids at my school,  spent a lot of time trying to look like replicas of each other, but not there. Within those walls we knew no uniform, Doctor Martin’s , big (fake) fur coats, black lace, black T-shirts, 70s flares, Adidas tracksuits, lumberjack shirts, 60s miniskirts, you could be whoever you wanted to be.

Downstairs was indie poppy – your Blur/Oasis fare with an 11 o’clock party mega-mix normally including Abba, Madness and Dexy’s midnight runners (who didn’t loose their shit to ‘Come on Eileen’?) .

It was massive, there was a dance floor that went on for ever and a large bar that stretched the whole of the downstairs, serving cheap Jack Dee with Coke and Snakebite- purple fizz that made you feel like a child and an adult all at once.

Upstairs was for a different crowd. The smaller space thrust with metal and rock, hard kids with attitudes, their long hair flying and chains jangling, as they jumped in the air.

The stairs themselves were hideaways – you could get lost under them or fall in love or fall in sex or fall in whatever.

I fell in love countless times on a Friday night. The Island was a pick and mix of surfer dudes and grungers, brit-poppers and rockers.  My favourite was a boy with spiky black hair, a 70s shirt,   jeans with chains and eyeliner…he once played a Green Day song on his guitar down the phone to me.   I hope he never got old.

A night at The Island cost £10 tops.  We’d bus it there, walk it home, get drunk before we walked in.     They were the best times of my life.

As well as being the best 90s club, The Island was also a popular music venue and bands that performed there included:





Hey 90s kids, if you love like Indie, 90s and YA, you’ll love my book A Future Somewhere.

You can read the first chapter here  ! Check out the coolest book trailer in the world below and then READ THE BOOK!

Many thanks to Gideon S Fields for the trailer – you can check out more of his work here.