Remember all the things you loved in the noughties?
Sunny D, the Simple Life and shag bands. AND THE OC
You like modernity. You like your iPhone, and WhatsApp and Uber. You like online shopping, and you like that you are undeniably much, much cooler now than you ever were in your teens.
But sometimes – in quiet moments – you remember those teen years. When you had MSN, and went to discos, and watched television when it actually broadcast, and talked about it in form class the next day, rather than on Netflix, alone, in bed.
These are all our other favourite things and moments of the noughties.
The fast patter; the peerless drama; the laboured shots of Ryan’s arms. The sharp humour; the romance; the INEVITABILITY of Seth and Summer. Crying at the season finale; loving to hate Julie Cooper; wishing you had a pair of collarbones that would cut glass like Marissa’s. Hating Teresa unfairly. Imogen Heap. TJ. Luke cheating on Marissa with Holly. Cotillion. Marissa teaching Ryan to dance in the Cotillion practice run and making him move his hand lower down her back. Ryan turning up at Marissa’s door before Cotillion and helping her do up her dress.
Luke and Julie Cooper! Kirsten and Sandy! Marissa and ALEX. The bit where Marissa tells Summer, shyly, that Ryan is the only person she’s ever loved in the episode where they get stuck in the shopping mall and Ryan has to pretend he hasn’t heard. Marissa throwing the pool furniture in the pool. The kiss on the ferris wheel at the kick-off carnival even though Ryan is afraid of heights. Ryan carrying Marissa into the pool house after Summer and Holly leave her passed out drunk on her doorstep.
The bit where Seth stands on the coffee cart and tells Summer to acknowledge him now or forsake him forever. The bit where Summer runs away from Zach at the airport – which is our generation’s version of Rachel and Ross’s “I got off the plane” – and goes to kiss Seth who is hanging upside down in a Spiderman mask. The Model Home. The bit where Ryan gets with Caleb Cohen’s absolute babe of a girlfriend who could technically have ended up as Seth’s stepmom. Oliver. The time when they go to Oliver’s parents’ house and they drive around in golf buggies. Marissa calling Ryan when he’s living with Teresa and then hanging up before they can talk. The time that Seth told Kirsten he her car got vandalised at “a shark movie”. Julie calling Caleb “Cal”. MARISSA SHOT TREY.
Bobbles made of plaited fake hair
You wore one to every disco. Sometimes, it was the same colour as your own hair.
Mizz, Shout and Bliss
“I went swimming, am I pregnant?” “I used a public toilet after boy, am I pregnant?” “I kissed a boy, am I pregnant?” “I went to the loo and toilet roll got stuck to my foot and I didn’t notice. I just wanted the ground to swallow me up!!!! CRINGE!!!!!!!!!!!”
You borrowed it from Blockbuster on a Friday night and sat in someone’s “den” with a grab bag of Vice Versas and watched as Rachel Evans Wood asked Nikki Reed to hit her. You felt glamorous, dangerous, and the next day, when your mother picked you up from the sleepover you glowered at her and she was confused and hurt.
You were so glad – privately – that your life wasn’t really like this.
You always rinsed the strawberry one and had four banana ones kicking about the front pocket of your Jansport.
Quicksilver or Jansport rucksacks
You remember the arguments. You would stand in an outlet in Bluewater, or Buchanan Galleries, and your mother would be tugging the dark blue, off-brand version of the Jansport or Quicksilver you wanted off its hook. This hook was attached halfway up the shop’s cheap wooden wall, built in the image of some kind of Aussie beach hut. And the rucksack she was reaching for was £30 cheaper and inestimably less cool.
You would hiss at her as she made motions at the shop assistant. You would tell her that only “losers” would have that bag and everyone has the Jansport one and did she want you to be a loser? She’d shoot back with something about how she didn’t care what everyone else did, but you knew you’d got her where it hurt. She’s sensitive, your mum; she fretted. She’d wind you up for a bit longer and then look at you indulgently and – in a stay of execution – she’d permit the one you wanted after all.
You wore yours as low on your back as you could, or hanging off the shoulder. For a few years, you decorated it with badges (indie bands, slime green hearts, vaguely anarchic messages that didn’t submit well to rational disproval). Perhaps you attached iron-on patches. Or you Tippex-ed it, or embroidered it with gel pen graffiti. You kicked it around the playground; at some point the zip broke, or one of the handles frayed.
You’ve got a Herschel now but it’s not the same.
Drawing this S on all your schoolwork
Christmas was coming and there was only one place you wanted your clothes to come from: Tammy. Whether it was your Britney phase, your emo phase or the phase where you just dressed really, really weirdly (back when flares were cool and bucket hats weren’t worn ironically), Tammy moved with the times and were always bang on trend. Every time you went you’d bump into all the girls from your class – and sometimes, thrillingly, a few from the year above at Tammy. Sure, you’d all end up wearing matching outfits at the end of term school disco but at least you weren’t dressed in something from BHS like your mum would have preferred (less sexualisated, more “Sunday lunch at nan’s). This, ironically, is where present-day Tammy has gone to die.
There was a time when you didn’t always have your phone on silent. A time when your bleep-bloop ringtone version of Where Is The Love would make you the envy of your peer group (though you might generously Bluetooth it to your best mate in French); a time when you chose phones based on their ringtones.
God, it was like the dark ages.
Where Is The Love?
Where is it? This song felt profound, even if it did come from an album called “Elephunk”.
WWE (nee WWF)
The noughties was the truly golden era of wrestling: way before all these wannabes like Sheamus and Stardust that no-one likes and no-one’s heard of. Kane and his waxy red death mask, the Undertaker and his black leather coat, the Hardy Brothers flying around the arena as a deadly duo, Vince McMahon suplexing every next man in a full suit.
Kaiser Chiefs. Franz Ferdinand. The Kooks. The Fratellis. You pretend now that you never liked any of those bands, but we all know you knew all the lyrics to “Same Jeans” like the rest of us. You thought Naive by The Kooks was profound; you thought Razorlight were like the fucking Rolling Stones. Once, you went to a Keane gig at your whatever is now your local O2 arena and “moshed” to Somewhere Only We Know.
The time David Seaman missed that free kick in World Cup 2002
After you stopped being bummed out about how England got knocked out, it was actually really funny. For weeks afterwards, you and your brother would “play” at being David Seaman, doing ever more exaggerated misses and falling over in the garden, anguished, faux-sobbing, rending your garments at the heavens. I mean, we didn’t deserve to make it to the semis.
Now one of the most derided genres in the history of mankind, at the time Nu Metal was so, so sick. Everyone knew every word to In The End, everyone wanted to be Fred Durst rapping on a rooftop in the video for Limp Bizkit’s Rollin’, and every self-respecting young player had told their crush that she was their butterfly, sugar, baby. Watch The Throne and Crazy In Love may be his more famous collaborations, but teaming up with Linkin Park was Jay Z’s real peak.
You’d sit on the bus to Games, sharing your white headphones with your best mate. You’d listen to shit indie or nu metal or Britney’s Toxic; if you’d scored the back of the bus, you’d sing along loudly, too. You were the queens of the fucking suburbs.
Spotify: you ruined everything.
The Simple Life
Well before the reality TV days of Made in Chelsea or Keeping up With the Kardashians, this was the programme your mum hated you watching. You really wanted their Juicy Couture tracksuits, their Von Dutch Caps and the huge sunglasses. When you started saying, “that’s hot” in a LA Valley Girl drawl, your dad looked a bit like he’d eaten something really rotten.
If you had to identify a single moment in the trajectory of emo, it was probably the music video for My Chemical Romance’s I’m Not Okay. At that point, new bands were emerging from the Kerrang TV channel on a weekly basis, creating the style icons and poster pin-ups (Pete Wentz, Gerard Way, Amy Lee) for a whole horde of sexually confused, introspective teenagers. It was short but sweet: the tribalism of 00s emo evaporated around the time Sonny Moore left From First To Last to reinvent himself as Skrillex. It will never be the same.
Did it actually make you turn yellow? Was your mum just saying it to try and preserve your good health? Probably, but you resented her for it nonetheless. We all loved it, and our parents loved to give it to us, until they realised – aghast, after a trip to the dentist/reading a feature in the Saturday Telegraph – that it was rotting our teeth and our insides, and our minds, probably.
It didn’t help that the fact it “turned you orange” emerged at roughly the same time as that Christmas advert in which the snowman turned orange.
The show that brought you Davina – who you had a confused crush on – and turned us all into voyeurs of the banal, was an instant hit. It was raw and savage and voyeuristic and full of schadenfreude. You spent all summer promising mum you were about to go outside and play, and in fact holing yourself in the playroom, with the volume down, to watch the livestream.
The house always looked insane – because you had no taste in the noughties – and there were arguments, romances and that one time Kinga used a wine bottle in the garden. You were scandalised, though you didn’t really know why. And if you couldn’t get enough, you could watch them live at night. You would sit there, not sleeping, watching them sleep.
Avid Merrion was a weird, freakish, injured nutjob who terrorised celebrities by dressing up by locking them in cupboards. You had Marilyn Manson and his West Indian Manatee, the week in bits on Jodie Marsh’s tits, a fully grown hairy man dressed as Mel C, Lorraine Kelly and her ‘growler’, Craig David pissing himself while calling out for his “daft slag” of a bird Kes, and Michael Jackson being constantly interviewed by Martin Bashir. It was bold, groundbreaking and hilariously entertaining. It was modern art.
God bless America!
Pimp My Ride
On a good day MTV would show the US version: Xzibit fixing up classic American muscle cars with dollar sign rims and more speakers than a small music festival. Then we had the UK version, based out of a garage in Colchester with Westwood presenting. Every episode just involved putting a TV in the back of a Corsa. Remember the episode where the guy wrecked his car and asked if they could fix it again? That’s not how it works.
Obviously, they got banned at your school.
Sweet Dreams My LA Ex
If I were in your shoes, I’d whisper before I shout. Can’t you stop playing that record again? Find somebody else to talk about.
Londsdale pencil cases
You’d pick yours up from WHSmith before the start of term. The soft leather zip-up case would be filled to the brim with gel pens, hair clips, tattered notes from your friends and maybe some kind of hard boiled sweet or gum if you were really naughty.
Maybe the white and pink Londsdale, maybe the pink and white – it didn’t really matter either way because you’d get everyone you ever had a class with to sign it with a personal message. It really showed how popular you were, and it was pretty badass too. Graff.
Anyone who wore Pineapple knew what was what – there’s no room for hiding behind that sassy italic font. You probably did “dancing” in your spare time, making up routines on the trampoline to Christina Aguilera, Destiny’s Child, maybe some DJ Sammy. God you were cool.
When you look at me tell me what do you see, this is what you get it’s the way I am. When I look at you I wannabe I wannabe, somewhere close to heaven with the Neanderthal man.
Serge from Kasabian’s volley on Soccer AM
A moment so sublime, so perfect the only appropriate response was to throw his jacket to the floor and walk away for good. If the noughties had ended at that moment, nobody would have complained.
By nostalgic noughties kids Oli Dugmore, Daisy Bernard, Phoebe Luckhurst, Jack Cummings, Will Lloyd, Craig O’Callahan, Tom Jenkin, Cat Reid, Bobby Palmer and Bella Eckert.