30 Silver Street, Reading, RG1 2ST

Memories of 1991

Damien's picture

This week sees the first of our 25th birthday celebrations as Tribute Night strays from its usual interpretations of a single artist’s output, and instead will spotlight the music that was playing as we officially opened our doors in 1991.

So, we thought we’d see what our volunteers were up to that year. A few were too young to remember – if they were even born at all! – but others have some interesting anecdotes from 1991…

Radio 1 ran a poll while I was at university to discover the nation’s 100 favourite albums.  Among the usual titles – Rumours, Bat Out Of Hell, Sgt Pepper’s – it seems astonishing now to recall that the nation’s very favourite album was Stars by Simply Red, which had just been released in the autumn of 1991 and was more popular than you might think.  I remember it well because I compiled a 5-volume mix tape featuring a song from every album as a present for a lucky young lady I fancied at the time.  I think she appreciated the effort, but the ulterior motive went unrequited.

1991 was a big year for me, as I turned 18 and could finally drink (legally!) in the local pubs.

I had a party in my parents' garden. My main memories of this are my best friend throwing up in the bushes, and someone giving me a 4-pack of Skol, which was still in my parent's shed on my 21st. It may still be there now...

I also spent a lot of time going to gigs, locally and in London. I'm struggling to remember the exact dates but I'm sure I would have seen the Charlatans at some point. I also know I'd have read NME and Melody at the beginning of January to see the reviews of Blur supporting the Soup Dragons that I went to at the very end of 1990.

A little sequence of events from 1991: Became involved with my meditation teacher’s daughter early in the year. We split up. And I was thrown out of the group in November.

I was 15 so I don't recall much but off the top of my head…

  • I know it was the year that I took my mock GCSEs. I remember being stressed out and someone called me 'matchstick' once too often and I punched them.
  • Freddie Mercury died and I was really gutted even though I'd literally only just discovered Queen properly for myself earlier that year when Innuendo was released (I was still moving on from Madonna and Michael Jackson...) I thought it was the most spectacular song I had ever heard.
  • I was really into drawing portraits at the time, some of which I still have stashed and can share if you need any visuals! 
  • Bryan Adams was at No 1 for about a century and I thought he was awesome. He appeared on the Wogan show alongside Chris Tarrant when Selina Scott was standing in she was dreadful and he was hilarious and I think Points of View got complaints about Selina Scott being snobby. I can't believe I remember that!

Preacher Jon
1991: good and strange times were had. And that terrible Bryan Adams' dirge was always on the radio.

I was half-way through my first degree, in last year that got full grant. I was an Officer and DJ for Cambridge University Radio Society, with an alleged comedy show "Jonathan Overton Talks and Talks"; the best joke was graffiti under the title - "Two wrongs do not make a right!" - coincidentally, two was the number of our listeners. 

I got my first paid science gig that summer, investigating The Black Spot in potato crisps. After two months I had found out what wasn't causing it. And dyed the lab purple. FOR SCIENCE.

I had my first proper "dating relationship": nice lass, tall, juggler. Lasted 3 weeks.

Oh, and had my second InterRail adventure around Europe (it was cheaper then). This time saved more money for it, went with a friend, left the heavy tent at home in favour of hostels, and skipped straight to Greece. Saw boat burning festival celebrating Battle of Lepanto (victory over the Ottomans) - before working our way back through Venice, Vienna and Prague. Very educational. Well, I learned to swear and order beer in several languages. 

Quite a big year for me – it was the year I left primary school and started secondary school. In the summer holidays between I was first told I needed to start wearing glasses, which I was a bit worried about. Also that summer me and my younger brother won our weekly heat in the Junior Talent competition while on holiday doing “Greased Lightning”, which took us to the Haven Holidays National Final in Scarborough. And I’ll tell you – Scarborough in October is not a fun holiday destination…

All I remember is looking forward to 1992...

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