I sometimes feel that the “90s gets a bad rap, with its whole ‘decade that fashion forgot” tag. And then I watch a video like this (yes I know this single came out in November 1989, but you have to allow for a certain amount of decade-bleed, don’t you think?) and I kind of have to conclude that maybe the critics have got a point after all. There are some not very good clothing choices on show here.
But it doesn’t make any sense! I lived through this time, and I can say with strong certainty and unwavering conviction that I felt so lucky to be living in such a modern age: we had CDs, for goodness’ sake; you could record programmes from the telly; there was the luxury of 8-bit gaming; microwaves!
Above all, freed from the nightmare of ’70s disco naffness, and that whole ’80s bright lights and burning neon sensation, we had the best music that there was, and ever could be. And we had Kingmaker. It was the best of times, it was the second-best of times.
We had The Wonder Stuff, who my bumper book of sometimes-not-completely-fabricated band name origins tells me got their name from a time John Lennon visited lead singer Bill Hunt’s house (Bill being a member of Wizzard, and uncle to Wonder Stuff lead singer Miles Hunt) and remarked that a young and sparky Miles had “the wonder stuff”. It’s a story Miles used to tell, and Miles being known for the occasional bout of chest-puffing, it’s probably just that, and no more.
But they were fun, however they got their name. Fun, fun, fun until they met Vic Reeves and annoyed everyone by being very popular indeed with their cover of “Dizzy” – OK for a while but they’d already lobbed the chirpy “Size of a Cow” at an unsuspecting public and it was all getting a bit much now. Clearly it was getting a bit much for the band as well, who released a final, more serious-sounding, and actually pretty decent final album, Construction for the Modern Idiot, in 1993, before touring for a near-eternity and then breaking up in 1994.
By this time, of course, we were all living in an inconceivably modern age, thankful to be rid of the late ’80s and early ’90s: the age of Pentium was upon us, and we all wore very good clothes indeed.