I can’t resist a good dig through all of the old treasure (crap) that lives in my attic. Recently I came across two Shout magazines from 1997, belonging to my oldest sister, and hit the nostalgia jackpot. They’re an excellent snapshot into a teenage life twenty whole years ago, a lifetime away from the social media age we all know today. I’ve made a collection of the most interesting excerpts, so let’s dive in!
Oooh, Peter Andre Special! Hunky posters! Win a Sony diskman! Soap gossip! Make-Overs! Shane Lynch of Boyzone’s’ secrets! What a cracker of an issue.
5 whole pages of soap related content! The soap “gossip” basically takes the form of upcoming story-lines, but without any smartphones or internet to entertain yourself, telly and it’s fictitious drama was probably the ish back then. Reading exciting soap story-lines was probably the equivalent of looking at a developing spicy story or hashtag on a Twitter timeline today.
Once you’re finished getting up to date on your favourite soaps, you have Neighbours’ hunk Todd MacDonald to drool over! Look at him there with his dead eyes, brandishing the meek beginnings of a teenage boy’s moustache and firmly gripping some unnecessarily long stalked flowers for you. Swoon.
Or if Todd is too vanilla for you and you’re more into the whole bad boy thing, you can fawn over this menacing Shane Lynch poster! I’m sad they cut his gangsta hand gesture out of the main photo, the image on the left is far more authentic.
I will never forget the controversy during the 1999 MTV EMA’s in Dublin, when he said the phrase ‘fucking shite’ live on air, (1m 23secs in) it was amazing.
Or his gyrating, crotch-grabbing glory during Boyzone’s infamous first appearance on the Late Late show
(2m 45secs in, but if you haven’t seen that video before you should watch the whole thing anyway.)
He always had such an anti-boyband boyband image, and I love it. Shane Lynch is an iconic Dubliner.
I know it mentioned a ‘Peter Andre special’ on the front cover but there seems to be no sign of any Pete Andre left in the magazine. I’m guessing my sister must have ripped it out and stuck the poster on her wall.
Next is a fashion feature, which in fairness, doesn’t seem all that dated considering how much 90’s fashion has come back into style over the past few years. I would defo wear those purple Pumas the model is wearing on the left today, they’re cute.
Aaaand here’s a hell of a lot more purple 90’s vomit! The plastic loopy headband! The plastic bulldog clip! The jelly bangles! The plastic… plastic!
That white heart Miss Selfridge makeup branding brings back so many memories of messing with my sister’s makeup, or her glittery nail polishes (I was an annoying 6 year old, I defo ate a few of her lipsticks in my time too.)
I think Rimmel’s ‘Amethyst Shimmer’ lipstick should have made this page, that’s a real Mam favourite.
And who doesn’t love a good fleece? Has to have a zip right up to the neck.
Here’s a guide on how to emulate your favourite 90’s Star! Mel C, Gina G, Louise or Danni? The choice is yours.
Mel C requires a Scrunchie, Gina G requires glitter gel on ‘your cheeks, your eyelids and your shoulders..’, Louise’s look needs hair mascara and if you ‘wannabe’ Danni you gotta get that zig-zag parting. All so 90s’s it hurts!
Then there’s a feature involving a model wearing three different ‘looks’ and they’ve asked four different male teen models to give their opinion on the outfits. My, what a great message! Make sure you only ever dress yourself for a boy, ladies! A man’s opinion on how you look is everything!
‘Tom Caccavale’ says he’d take the model, Lucy, to the cinema during the afternoon in outfit number 1, but not in the evening. He’d apparently expect her to wear something dressier for a night date. Well Tom, it’s not up to you love! Naturally outfit number 3 where Lucy is wearing the most makeup and a pair of heels is the favourite. Vom. I feel so sorry for any poor teen girl in 1997 who felt like she couldn’t wear her favourite kicks, jeans and a tee, lest a boy think she doesn’t look nice.
Again Steven Chiddicks (Caccavale.. Chiddicks… are these their real, actual surnames?) thinks Lucy’s jeans, tee and trainers aren’t up to his standard ‘I’m not too sure about this, she looks like she hasn’t really bothered’ Omg, piss off Steven? Lucy’s hair and makeup in look number 3 are ‘probably more noticeable then the other looks and I think boys like this!’ Quelle surprise!
There’s a pointless little disclaimer at the bottom of the feature that says ‘So the conclusion shows that although you’re probably happiest in your jeans and trainers, these boys seem to prefer if you’ve made the effort with a dress or party outfit. But whatever you wear, wear it for you!’ ….. WHY EVEN BOTHER ASKING THE BOYS THEN. It defeats the whole purpose. It’s too late Shout, the teens are already paranoid over what boys think of their outfit choices and your ‘conclusion’ pretty much shows that the glammest outfit and most makeup always takes their preference. Sigh.
I don’t think an article like this would go down too well in today’s time, 20 years later. Especially because it’s now widely accepted that girls can be, you know, gay.
“IT DRIVES ME MAD!” Is the next feature, and has Shout readers telling the magazine what irks them.
……Chelsea’s a bit of an ungrateful soul now, isn’t she? Jeez.
What about Kate, who’s also 12?
JUST BECAUSE YOUR NANNY TELLS YOU YOU’RE PRETTY, IT DOESN’T FUCKING MEAN YOU ACTUALLY ARE! DON’T YOU PEOPLE REALIZE THE HARD WORK AND INTRICATE POLITICS INVOLVED IN GETTING A SMALL PART IN A TOWN THEATRE CHRISTMAS PANTOMIME? WHAT, YOU THINK YOU CAN JUST “BE” WIDOW TWANKY BECAUSE YOU CAN SING ALONG TO, LIKE, ONE MEASLY BOYZONE SONG?? THINK AGAIN! – Kate.
Then there’s a makeover feature involving these three pals:
Lynsey was made-over using a very 90’s makeup palette of ‘green eye shadow, brown eyeliner and pinky-red lipstick’. ‘I wasn’t to keen on the trainers’ she says. Hmm, nor I. Those loose curls remind of me of early 2000’s debs hair, which was usually an up-do with some individual curls hanging down. Very chic.
What about the other girls? Well Kelly’s hair is pretty much the same, spare a little backcombing and fringe definition. I keep thinking her top says ‘Chipotle’ and she also hates her trainers.
And with the final girl, Natasha, they’ve clearly gone: ‘What this stringy fringe needs is.. enhanced stringy-ness!’ and that’s exactly what they’ve achieved. My what a defined fringe, just like a young Sonia Fowler.
Strangely whatever Natasha thought about her trainers has, supposedly, been left out. Probably because she too hated them and Shoe Express would have cut all ties with Shout magazine if they’d featured the trainers they got on loan in a shoot where each makeover participant says ‘Yeah these shoes are crap.’ I see what you did there, Shout. Nice bit of strategic censorship.
‘Are You Mad About Lads?’ They ask in this next feature, and provide you with a helpful quiz to determine whether or not you’re obsessed with boys, because, lads lads lads, no one’s gay in 1997! It’s aaaaalll about the lads.
“Being obsessed with boys can make you silly and giggly whenever they’re around, but unfortunately, giggly girls tend to turn boys off… you have been warned!”
I can’t physically roll my eyes any further into the back of my head.
And now a cringe page, the cornerstone of any teen magazine.
Here’s a Shout debate on Michael Jackson, with two very passionate readers stating their reasons why they do and don’t like him.
‘Carla Valente, 14’, passionate in her hate of The King Of Pop, tells us; ‘My favourite Micheal Jackson story happened last year when Jarvis Cocker attacked him at the Brit awards. I’m surprised that there wasn’t a queue of people lining up around the the stage to attack him. Jarvis Cocker really impressed me, for having the nerve to do what everyone else was dreaming of, in fact, since then, I’ve become a big fan of Pulp- they’re cool.’
I hadn’t actually known what this was referring to, and had to look it up on YouTube. I see it’s like the 1996 version of Kanye’s “i’mma let you finish” to Taylor Swift, except when this incident happened it didn’t spawn any internet memes, because internet memes weren’t a thing.
More shopping pages of various 90’s tat; The Body Shop and The Natural Collection holding firm on their popularity in that era. That packaging is such a trip!
Some fur covered things from Claire’s, because, 90’s.
Plastic tortoiseshell hair accessories, tipped to be ‘big fashion news this Spring’
More Body Shop makeup and some flower themed accessories from Topshop that look so childish compared to their current day ‘Freedom at Topshop’ range
Most surprisingly of all, they have a pen-pal ad that features…CHILDREN’S ACTUAL ADDRESSES AND PHOTOGRAPHS. Jesus Christ! Clearly pedophiles and child abductors weren’t a threat to people in 1997.
That is scaaaary. Also love how slightly aggressive the messages to potential penpal-ees are;
‘GET WRITING QUICK!’ … ‘SEND A PHOTO AND HURRY!’
26 essential facts on Hanson…
Song words to Boyzone’s ‘Isn’t It A Wonder’, because what magazine from the 90’s is complete without song words?
Disclaimer: The ability to sing along to this one Boyzone song does not guarantee your ability to get a part in your local town theatre Christmas pantomime.
The chance to win a Sony Discman!
I think it’s hilarious how the girls went from wearing actual branded Reebok, Adidas and Umbro sports gear to generic things that just say ‘SPORTS’ on them. One of the girls is wearing a ‘Blue fleece shirt’ from Tammy. An actual shirt made out of fleece. Gorgeous.
Aaaand of course some very teen problems from the problem page.
Ugh, AS IF the ‘widely acknowledged to be annoying’ Hannah Martin can get a fella and I can’t!
“Yeah well fuck you too!” – Hannah Martin.
Awwww, imagine the agony aunt had responded by saying ‘Yeah, look gremlins are very much real so you’re basically fucked. Do you own a microwave?’
Naaah, I’m 26 and I still can’t hang my dressing gown up on the back of my bedroom door because it looks too scary in the dark, so I’m not here to judge. I hope she got over her fear of Gremlins in time for the arrival of the internet – which is like an encyclopedia of scary things.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to put on my fleece shirt, douse myself in Charlie red, separate the strands of my fringe with hair gel and make an unexpected visit to any one of the child’s addresses provided on the pen-pal ad.
– Aisling Abbey