Tab Rates vs. Tab Slates: The Noughties
The success stories, the failures and the things we’d like to see die out: the decade that was.
The Internet. Not technically a Noughties invention but this decade it became possible to live a perfectly complete – if not emotionally fulfilling – existence online: food from Tesco.com, news from cambridgetab.co.uk, Facebook when you need some semblance of a social life. Even my sister (eight, yet to master shoelaces, catch or the remote control) has MSN messenger and has asked Santa for a MacBook so that she can ‘surf the interweb’ (she’s not simple, alright, she’s eight. And ‘Santa’ said no to the MacBook.) Of course, the growth of the internet has heralded a decline of culture: why attempt Ulysses when you have the instant-gratification of a series of The Season to watch on iPlayer? Heinous brats in the Alps trump Joyce’s masterpiece. And what if all next generations’ novelists are too busy watching Come Dine With Me Extra Portions on 4OD to actually write their novel?
The Tab predicts: Oh, come on, it’s a fail-safe formula. It’s only going to get bigger, more high-tech and send more and more pensioners into paroxysms of terror.
The Eccentric. Borat, the Boosh boys, Lady Gaga, Russel Brand, SuBo, and, inexplicably, Chris Crocker (he of ‘Leave Britney ALONE!!!!’ YouTube fame) – in the Noughties we embraced the eccentric. Bring it on – anything’s better than the manufactured, personality-free robots from Cowell’s factory.
The Tab predicts Gaga’s costumes/Fielding’s outfits on Never Mind the Buzzcocks will get more outlandish with every year, Borat will continue to push the boundaries of public decency, Brand will get The Sun’s Shagger of the Year Award again…we wouldn’t have any of them any other way.
The Environment. At the beginning of the decade, it was just crackpots and hippies (and Al Gore) who were wittering on about climate change, now there’s 600+ people getting arrested in Copenhagen and even Obama’s popped in. Apparently it’s been a resounding failure, but there’s no doubt that this decade has seen the rise of green activism, and it’s – grating – alter-ego, seen-to-be-green activism (yummy mummies swapping their Chelsea tractors for a Toyota Prius and then flying to Sydney for Christmas – way to offset the CO2, love).
The Tab predicts: Well, either, we’re going to discover – the hard way – that we have irreversibly destroyed our planet and there’s little we can do except lament the culling of the rainforests and say goodbye to Cumbria (to be underwater by 2020) or we’ll wise up and recycling will become as natural as brushing our teeth. Time will tell.
The anti-Blackberry/iPhone backlash. Remember the Nokia 3310 – the phone we all wanted and all got given for Christmas 2000, complete with a snazzy cover of our choice? Remember the satisfaction of a new high score on Snake II? Remember that all you could do with it was call people and text them? Am I alone in thinking that life was easier when the 3310 was the pinnacle of mobile technology and you didn’t have to listen to the Blackberry vs. iPhone face-off or watch people substitute actual conversation for ‘BBM-ing’ or find that when you ask someone a question, they find an ‘app’ with which to answer you? Fight the tyranny – BUY ANOTHER PHONE.
The Tab predicts: Oh, it’s just like the internet – these two power titans aren’t going anywhere. Soon we’ll be getting lectures via BBM and writing essays on our iPhones. Tragic.
The VHS. Remember videos? Remember the aggressive whirring noise they made when you pressed fast-forward/rewind? Remember how they slowly corrupted so that there were wobbly horizontal lines across the screen and the voices went all high pitched-and quivery? Remember how much it hurt if you dropped one on your toe (my first swear word, circa 2001)? On December 31, 2008, the last major United States supplier of pre-recorded VHS tapes, Distribution Video Audio Inc. of Palm Harbor, Florida, shipped its final truckload (thank you, Wikipedia).
The Tab predicts: Nothing. These won’t be making a revival any time soon.
Ageing. ‘God – you’re so old, aren’t you?’ Cheers, little brother. One consequence of this decade is that I am now a decade older.
The Tab predicts: Outlook is bleak. You will continue to get older and probably more hopeless. See your face? Prepare to see it ravaged by the ageing process. Enjoy.
Reality TV. A predictable choice, but really. This was the TV format that defined our decade, and certainly accompanies the decline of culture in the 21st century. All it’s done is bring various non-entities and sub-Z listers to our screens, parading around in their smalls (ugh, don’t – lose the career decline pounds first, please) and fighting with other people who had a walk-on part as ‘girl #2 in bar’ on Emmerdale eight years ago. You can smell the desperation from your sofa. The show that should, if there‘s any justice in the world, have heralded the end of this medium? Totally Calum Best.
The Tab predicts: This is less of a prediction than a plea. If there’s anyone, anyone with any power whatsoever, reading this right now, please, please, stop this madness. Down with X-Factor and manufactured popstrels. Down with 'I’m-Not-Anything-Resembling-A-Celebrity-Get-Me-Out-Of-Here-And-Off-Our-Screens-NOW '. Down down down with Big Brother.
Celebrity Perfumes. Celebs have always been used in advertising, but this decade saw the rise of the celeb scent. Want to smell like Britney (I’m thinking mouldy fags, soured frappuccinos and Big Macs)? You want Curious by Britney Spears. The perfume that should, if there’s any justice in the world, have heralded the end of the celebrity perfume? Calum by Calum Best.
The Tab predicts: After Tiger Woods’ mistress (which one, I hear you ask) releases one (‘Eau de Homewrecker’), we realise that this charade has gone on too long.
The Rise of the Teen Rock Daughter. Peaches, Pixie, Daisy, Kimberley Stewart, the Jagger girls, Amber Le Bon…is it just me, or are you a bit sick of seeing these girls stumbling out of clubs/snapping up modelling contracts/delivering wanky interviews about how they had a really normal upbringing and actually, they even went to (cue conspiratorial whisper), a comprehensive school!!! OMactualG!!! Sure, love, if ‘normal’ means summering with ex-Rolling Stones in a villa in the Seychelles rather than your extended family in a caravan in North Wales.
The Tab predicts: Oh fuck it. With their genetics (most often a supermodel mum to match the rock-star dad) – think endless legs, glossy manes, perfect front teeth – there’s no doubt they’ll be hanging around – looking stunning, ugh – for at least the next decade, especially if their very-much-still-in-the-public-eye mothers are anything to go by.