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My Christmas Presents, 1991-99

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With it being Christmas Day tomorrow, and with the two years we’ve all had, nostalgia might well be the key ingredient gracing the dinner table in people’s houses. Christmas is a time for creating memories, good or bad, and you can guarantee that whatever the weather there will be smiles, tears, arguments and people going over the top about that Nando’s gift set which will be next seen in the window of the local Blue Cross . After having a lovely memory of Christmas 1990 published in Museum Of Jerseys , it dusted off a few memories of the next few Yuletides, and so I thought I’d put all my nineties Christmases together to see if there was a thread - a Christmas ribbon, if you will. If you won’t, well, sod you - you’re the one reading when you ought to be wrapping. Enjoy! 1991 - Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves Action Figures I think I grew up in the Golden Age of action figures. At the age of ten I had caught the tail-end of Star Wars merchandising, which was such a big money-spinner

My Euro '96 XI

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Euro 2020 begins today, and with the final at Wembley it seems somehow right that the tournament had to wait a year to create a 25 year gap with the last one. During last year's lockdown Euro '96 was repeated on ITV's streaming services to deflect us from the enforced emptiness, and although I made a start on watching it, it was nowhere near as good as I remember it being. But with excitement building, I thought it might be a nice idea to share a few memories of the summer of '96, partly before I go ga-ga and partly because the highlights of these events are so much different from the reality. Mine, I'd argue, was a perfectly normal Euro '96 experience, and if you take a read of these eleven nuggets of memory, you might find yourself nodding along. And, y'know, it's something to do at half-time. An Opening Day Win – In 1996 I lived in a very small world, one which encompassed about half a dozen streets between home, school, friends and grandparents. The

Prince: Five Years Gone

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Life is full of curiosities, and it’s inevitable that you’ll come across the odd coincidence here and there. I guess it’s a small one that within days of one Prince passing , it’s the anniversary of the death of a much more colourful one. Today marks five short years since Prince Rogers Nelson was found dead at his Paisley Park home, in circumstances that seem ill-fitting with both his lyrical themes and his beliefs. Personally, at the time, Prince’s death was far more of a rider to that of David Bowie . I liked some Prince stuff, but in the same way that I enjoyed, say, Belinda Carlisle . I hadn’t grown up with Prince in the same way that I’d grown up with Bowie, and neither had he been a touchstone in any aspect of my musical education. Nobody at school was a Prince nut; nobody at university walked about in a purple knee length frock coat and ruffles . You didn’t even hear ‘ 1999 ’ played at the student disco. Not that that’s an excuse; you didn’t hear Gay Dad either, but I bought

Reclaiming the Ashes

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A few weeks ago, I paid three pounds for a concert ticket. Depending on what year it is, this could be an enormous extravagance or a huge bargain, but in the middle of 2020 I think we can broadly agree that it’s a waste of time. However, this was no investment. The ticket isn’t likely to be worth more than what I paid for it in years to come, but I wanted it anyway. When it arrived, professionally clamped between two slices of cardboard and sealed in a plastic wallet, my heart felt a little shaft of sunlight, which took me back to 7th May 2001. I’m going to tell you what this ticket stub means to me. In 2001, I was a student at the University of Leicester . I was in my second year, and truth to tell, it wasn’t going all that well. I was doing an English degree, something which I wasn’t sure was really for me. With no options in the first year of the course, I was inevitably stuck with Shakespeare and minute line readings of The Good Soldier , when I wanted to be explaining to pink-chee