Not saying you’re old, but these things all turn 20 this year


When you think of the nineties, you probably think of 10 years ago. But it’s time to face the frankly terrifying truth: 1997 was 20. Years. Ago.

You might have been shocked to find that it’s a decade since Gossip Girl or Skins or Preston storming off Buzzcocks, but that’s nothing compared to the stuff that’s turning 20 this year.

So pop out your dentures, put on your glasses and take a peek at some of the things which are now almost as old as you.

Harry Potter

Back when Daniel Radcliffe was barely a twinkle in his agent’s eye, JK Rowling released her first Harry Potter book in 1997 to widespread critical acclaim. And she hasn’t even mentioned it since!

The Philosopher’s Stone (or the Sorcerer’s Stone, if you’re American and/or an imbecile) introduced us to much-loved characters such as Ron, Hermione, Hagrid and Dumbledore, and less well-remembered characters like Professor Binns the friendly ghost and Quidditch captain Oliver Wood. Nope, us neither.

The series’ first villain came in the form of the stuttering Professor Quirrell, whose Voldemort-hiding turban would remain pop culture’s most deceptive use of headwear until Ne-Yo and his trilby debuted nine years later.

Sex and the City

Elsewhere in the literary world Candace Bushnell released Sex and the City, a book based on her Observer columns of the same name.

She sold the rights to HBO for a measly $60,000, and was rewarded by having Sarah Jessica fucking Parker play her in a show where an entire episode focuses on Miranda’s boyfriend’s skidmarks.

Spice World

1997 was the pinnacle of Spicemania, with the simultaneous Spiceworld album and Spiceworld world tour netting the group millions of fans and millions of pounds.

Not familiar with the idea of overexposure, however, the Spice Girls also used their success to release their seminal feature film Spice World – in which Richard E Grant tries to do as much damage to his reputation as a serious actor as possible within 93 minutes.

Categorically the worst Batman film

Last year’s Batman v Superman wasn’t good, but it was nothing compared to Joel Schumacher’s 1997 Batman & Robin – described by critics as “juvenile,” “aggressively unsatisfying” and quite simply “a bad movie.”

The film features (in no particular order of awfulness): batsuits with nipples, Batman and Robin facing off against villainous ice hockey players, the line “rubber lips are immune to your charms,” and Batman sneaking up on Arnold Schwarzenegger by surfing down the back of a model diplodocus.

Did I mention the nipples?


Although they may seem like they’ve been around since the beginning of time, the Teletubbies only debuted 20 years ago – and your nightmares haven’t been the same since.

They also had a number one single in December 1997, which goes like this.

Now you know.


I’m not crying, you’re crying.

Daft Punk

Before Kanye West reprogrammed them into automatons to be rolled out for Pharrell collaborations and Tron cameos, Daft Punk were nothing more than two French men making music in Star Wars cosplay. Then they released Da Funk.

20 years later, we’re still waiting for a band who are remotely as cool. Even the Young fucking Pope can recite every single word of Technologic.


In the same year as Daft Punk’s Homework, teeny-boppers Hanson released one of the catchiest one-hit wonders of all time. Although you probably just know it as the soundtrack to having minty-fresh breath.


It was also the year we were first introduced to the world of Pokémon. Kids could battle with all the old favourites like Pikachu, Charizard and Mewtwo, and all the ones which were absolutely no-one’s favourite, like fucking Magikarp.

Mainly, though, we were gifted with the best theme song of all time. All together now: I WANNA BE, THE VERY BEST, LIKE NO-ONE EVER WAAAAASSSS-

Tony Blair as Prime Minister

This was back in the era of New Labour, friends-with-Oasis, still-OK-to-fancy him Blair, way before the whole war criminal thing. Seriously, look at that smile!

Men in Black

The late nineties were also a real peak for Will Smith’s career. ’97 saw him shoot to movie stardom in Men in Black as well as releasing his debut album Big Willie Style, which of course featured the certified banger Gettin’ Jiggy With It.

His Hollywood career has been well-documented since, but the Men in Black era was a pure, happy time – before a number of box office flops and a slew of obnoxious children left him constantly looking like this.

Titanic came out

And we’ve wanted young Leo to draw us like one of his French girls ever since.


In the year that Paul McCartney was granted a knighthood, another piece of British musical history was bubbling under the surface.

The creators of the Spice Girls placed an ad looking for some guys with “attitude and edge,” a call which was answered by the inimitable likes of Ritchie, Scott, Sean, J and *ahem* Abz Love. And, weirdly, Russell Brand, who didn’t make it into the final band.

5ive (or, you know, Five) kept on movin’ on anyway, and wowed us with era-defining hits such as Slam Dunk Da Funk, If Ya Gettin Down and We Will Rock You, a much-improved cover of the Queen song.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Haha get it? They don’t age cos they’re VAMPIRES!

The Globe Theatre

Obviously not the actual Globe Theatre – we’re talking about the 1990s, not the 1590s, you giddy goat.

Jokes aside, the current replica of Shakespeare’s Globe which stands on the South Bank was only opened to the British public 20 years ago. Who knew?

George of the Jungle

Was there cinema before George of the Jungle? It’s an understandable question, seeing as Brendan Fraser’s satirical masterpiece hit screens in 1997, and has held the IMDB top spot ever since.

Or so we assume.


Although it wouldn’t go supernova until the millennium, Google’s domain name was registered in 1997. Seeing as Larry Page and Sergey Brin couldn’t have Googled what the word means, we can only assume they didn’t actually know until they’d paid for the site.

Anyway, the rest is history, and 1997 will be remembered as the year Google doomed us all when their Atlas project finally becomes sentient and decides to slaughter us all.

Seriously, this thing is not our friend.

Brian Harvey telling everyone ecstasy is fine

Of course the most important moment of 1997 was when East 17 frontman Brian Harvey was fired for giving a radio interview where he said ecstasy could “make you a better person” and that he’d once taken 12 pills in one night, driven home and been absolutely fine.

Thanks, Brian.