The DYR blog

The blog with general chat about all things from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s plus news about new features and developments on the website.

Friday, January 25, 2008

The best (and worst) of 1992

Breaking 1992 down into the biggest political, sports and entertainment news; here's what happened...

The queen had both an expensive and an embarrassing year; early on announcing that she would bow to public pressure and pay income tax (the first time a British monarch had done so for over 50 years) and, at the end of the year, having her Christmas speech leaked to and published in ‘The Sun’ ahead of the big day. It was also a bad year for Manchester after the IRA exploded two bombs in centre of the city; injuring 64 people and causing millions of pounds of damage.

Politically, the government, led by John Major, made themselves unpopular on two fronts, by firstly signing Britain up to the ‘Treaty on European Union’ (many saw this as a loss of Britain’s identity); then secondly announcing it’s plans to close a third of Britain's deep coal mines, with the loss of 31,000 jobs.

In terms of sport, 1992 saw Barcelona hosting the Olympic Games; it being the first time in 20 years that every country had been present (with no boycotts or bans in places). Linford Christie was the star of the event by becoming the oldest ever Olympic 100m champion (at 32 years old!). The year also saw ‘The Football Association’ launch the new ‘Premier League’, no-one at the time quite realising the revolutionary effect that it would have on the game.

Entertainment wise, the quirky, fast paced breakfast TV programme ‘The Big Breakfast’ made its debut. There was plenty of chaos and disorder on the show; Chris Evans being the one to lead the fun, games and competitions. The BBC were far, far less successful with their attempt at entertaining the public with ‘Eldorado’. Focusing on a community of ex-pats living in a Spanish fishing village, it was slated for its wooden actors and uninspiring storylines (later to be axed after just one year).

The big movies of the year were ‘Wayne’s World’ and ‘Reservoir Dogs’. The first being about Wayne and Garth’s battling it out with a hot-shot TV producer to save their own low-budget TV show (and also win the heart of the lovely Cassandra!). The second being Quentin Tarantino’s story of a botched robbery and the hunting out of the ‘rat’ (was it Mr. White, Mr. Orange, Mr. Blonde, Mr. Pink, Mr. Brown or Mr. Blue?).

For a full rundown of the best selling chart music from 1992…

…alternatively, a guide to 90s music for every year of the decade.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The best (and worst) of 1991

Breaking 1991 down into the biggest news, sports and entertainment events; here’s what happened…

At the start of the year the ‘Gulf War’ kicked off as a result of Iraq invading Kuwait, leading to UK forces heading off to fight Saddam Hussein’s army. The fighting lasted just a couple of months but is well remembered due to it being the first war that was televised on the news.

The little loved media tycoon Robert Maxwell met a mysterious end whilst holidaying on his boat off the coast of Tenerife. Struggling under financial pressure, with his corporation on the brink of collapse, he was thought to have gone overboard although no-one really knows what happened.

Another mystery to arise was an outbreak of ‘crop circles’. Some 600 new ones appeared (one in the Prime Ministers garden!) in the UK throughout the summer of ’91, putting Britain under the world media spotlight. Some experts pointed the finger at human hoaxers, some claimed abnormal weather conditions were the cause, whilst others were 100% sure that they were messages from aliens.

In terms of sport, England hosted the 1991 Rugby World Cup but, despite having home advantage, they were edged out in the final by the Australians. Paul Gascoigne, the new star of football, damaged his knee whilst playing for Tottenham in the FA Cup final leading to a year long spell on the sidelines.

TV saw a couple of newcomers make their mark and an old-hand return. Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer (better known as just Vic & Bob) debuted on channel 4 and their brand of bizarre humour quickly caught on, making their surreal show a 1991 hit. Back with more silly games, less than special guests and ‘gunk’ was Noel Edmonds on his live show (broadcast from the fictitious ‘Crinkley Bottom’) ‘Noel’s House Party’. Accompanying Edmonds, was his pink and yellow friend Mr. Blobby who surprisingly managed a number one single despite not being able to speak!

The top film of 1991 was ‘Silence Of The Lambs’ with leading roles from Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster. As Hannibal Lecturer (a psychotic cannibal) and Clarice Sterling (a young FBI cadet) they form a strange kind of partnership in order to hunt down an even stranger serial killer by the name of “Buffalo Bill”. Also out that year was one of the few sequels to better the original; he said “I’ll be back” and Arnold Schwarzenegger was in ‘Terminator 2’. This time playing one of the good guys trying to protect the boy destined to save the human race.

On the UK music front in ‘91, the year belonged to Bryan Adams and his HUGE hit ‘(Everything I Do) I Do It For You’. The title track for ‘Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves’ topped the charts for a record 16 weeks and was in the Top 40 for a total of 6 months. As for the best selling album of 1991, that went to Simply Red and their album ‘Stars’. The Christmas number one was a re-issue; Queen again releasing ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ to commemorate the death of lead singer Freddie Mercury earlier in the year.

For a full rundown of the UK music charts in 1991…

…alternatively, a guide to 90s music for every year of the decade.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The best (and worst) of 1990

Breaking 1990 down into the biggest political, sports and entertainment news; here's what happened...

First off, it was the year that the literal breakthrough was made in the channel tunnel; construction workers drilling through the final slice of rock that separated the UK and French halves of the project. Television pictures showed the workers celebrating as they came face-to-face in the middle of the tunnel before walking on to have their passports stamped in the opposite country (the first time anyone has walked between the two countries since the Ice Age!).

Politically, the ruling Conservative party endured a far from ideal year. Demonstrations against the poll tax they had earlier implemented led to the worst riots seen in London for a century; with over 100 people being injured and nearly 350 arrested. Their long time figure-head Margaret Thatcher took the fall for this, amongst other things, and resigned as Prime Minister, to be replaced by John Major.

Sports wise, 1990 is best remembered for the Italia '90 football world cup. Going into the tournament surrounded in controversy, and having already announced that he would leave after it, Bobby Robson led England to the semi-finals of the competition, where they lost on penalties to eventual world cup winners West Germany. However, perhaps the biggest winners were the 'Three Tenors' (specifically Pavarotti) who became major world stars as a result of their singing performances throughout the tournament.

Other stars to arrive in 1990, this time coming from America, came in the form of the yellow skinned 'Simpsons'. By the end of the year everyone was familiar with Homer, Bart, Marge, Lisa and Maggie, and the catchphrase 'Eat My Shorts'. Also coming over from the States was David Hasselhoff's and Pamela Anderson's 'Baywatch'. As lifeguards in Los Angeles, they ran about in not much clothing and saved some lives; everyone was happy and the show was a big hit.

The biggest film of 1990 was 'Home Alone' which made a star of the little boy (Macaulay Culkin) who woke up to find that his Christmas wish had come true and that his family had disappeared. Also out that year was 'Pretty Woman', starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere, which involved a love affair between a streetwise working girl and a rich, high-flying businessman.

Musically, 'Hanging Tough" by the boy band 'New Kids on the Block' was the 1st of 17 singles to top the charts throughout the year; the biggest selling of which was 'The Righteous Brothers' recording of 'Unchained Melody' (which featured in the film 'Ghost'). Madonna achieved her 7th number one single with 'Vogue' and went on to top the albums chart for 9 weeks (selling 3.6 million copies) with her greatest hits release 'The Immaculate Collection'. The Christmas number one fell to Cliff Richard and his single 'Saviour's Day'; making him the only person to have a number one in the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s.

For a full rundown of the best selling chart music from 1990…

…alternatively, a guide to 90s music for every year of the decade.