At last! I'm ready for the Nineties

Last week, I met some people in a vast and possibly fashionable restaurant in Soho. Earlier that day, the newspapers had announced that the Feelgood Factor was back. I don't know how they could tell, nor, really, what the Feelgood Factor actually is. It seems to be another way of saying that house prices have gone up, but that can't be right. Can it? They wouldn't say that about anything else. Food Prices Go Through The Roof - Population Dances in Streets, Major Set For Further Term. What is it about houses that we want them to get more expensive?

I don't understand it. But I have been alarmed, recently, at all the other things I don't understand, either. I didn't understand the people in the vast and possibly fashionable restaurant, for example. The people I was meeting were clear enough: a couple of publishing types, a pair of international financial consultants, a journalist, a drama queen who left early, feeling dreadful, my dear. The journalist explained the political situation in Bhutan. The financial consultants demonstrated their special cheesy smiles - they are taught how to do them when they join the firm - and wrangled about exchange rates. ("No, no," said one, "that's the selling rate. You need the buying rate. They're different." "Don't give me that crap," said the other; "it's my birthday." These people have gold credit cards and charge pounds 175 an hour.) The publishing types were ... publishing types: amiable, downtrodden, mournfully vigilant.

But the others; merciful heavens, the others. Feelgood Factor or not, the rest of it was certainly like the Eighties, back from the dead. The bar was a solid phalanx of killer suits, hair gel and bone-close shaves. As you walked in you were hit by a wall of something which could have been testosterone or might have been nerves. Yelping conversations about money and deals were conducted at full blast against a background sussuration of champagne bubbles. Women had come as playthings, in you-might-as-well- be-naked strappy little frocks, or in pairs, with mobile phones ("I'll just see if I can raise Maggie on my Orange") and karate-kick skirts which say "Take me! Take me! And I'll kill you if you try!"

The difference was that I didn't know who or what they were. In the Eighties, you'd have known. Estate agents, bond traders, financial PRs, brokers, talkers-up and 10-per-centers. They'd have had Porsches and TVRs (a side of smoked salmon in the boot, and a case of Perrier), and platinum Amex cards, and share options, and their private lives would have been as neat and sterile as operating theatres. They'd have been bastards. You'd have wished they were dead.

But now ... here they were, back again, exactly the same but subtly changed. What were they? Were they advertising people? Satellite television executives? Internet salesmen, image digitisers, network consultants, what? This is supposed to be the Nineties, not enough to go round, everyone collapsing into skint introspection, brought up with a hateful dull crunch.

It was bad enough to have to look at them and listen to them, but the worst thing was not knowing who they were. It was as though I had come down with some sort of Cow Disease, except instead of going Mad this one makes you go Blank. Maybe it was all the fish I have been eating. Perhaps I have got Dead Fish Disease, when you try to think, but nothing happens, like opening a door on an empty room.

Well ... it's my own fault, of course. I should have stayed out there, cusping the Zeitgeist, instead of hunkering down with my bad yellow-eyed woman, frolicking and splashing in our own personal sea of troubles. I should have been keeping an eye on fashion shifts, moving from Gaultier to Gucci to Oswald Boateng. I should have bought a Harley- Davidson, started a CD-ROM company, moved to a Clerkenwell loft, become a food writer; I should have spotted things.

But I didn't. When the bubble burst and the Eighties came to an end, I said to myself "Hah! The Eighties have come to an end! About bloody time, too, and I've done my bit so now I'm going to bed." It was a mistake. It's all very well having a lovely sleep but you wake with an immoderate rust of the soul, still able to see the skull beneath the skin but unable to say with any certainty whether it belongs to good old Yorick or Piltdown Man.

If I had played my cards right - if I had played them at all - it could have been a different story. I could have had a blonde, a chat-show, a Web site, a gite in the Auvergne, a high-performance glider, a goatee beard, an Oscar, a back-list, an oeuvre. Even had I played them wrong, I could have had a black Hugo Boss suit and hung out with lots of other shags in black Hugo Boss suits at the bar of vast and possibly fashionable restaurants in Soho and, if nothing else, I would have had the satisfaction of knowing who all the shags in black Hugo Boss suits were, and what they did. I could have taken holy orders and gone clubbing.

But now, as it is, as things are ... nuts. Dead man walking. I resent it. I feel like a relic. When young women want me to sweep them off their feet, I am, instead, meticulously paternal. People tell me that fresh coriander is the pesto of the Nineties, but I don't believe them and I simply don't care. I am becoming a fart. It's time for the sinecure, the reading-lamp and the well-worn tweeds, but even that takes money and I don't have any because I have been in bed.

There are two choices. It may be time to retire; to give it all up and take to fiction. I woke up at three o'clock this morning with the terrible sinking feeling of a novel coming on, but on the other hand it's Spring; the sun is shining; perhaps I'll give it a whirl: up, dress, shave, haircut; Lazarus risen from the duvet, jaunty and off on a spree. Next stop: Hugo Boss.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Feeling all at sea: Barbara's 18-year-old son came under the influence of a Canadian libertarian preacher – and she had to fight to win him back
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Living the high life: Anne Robinson enjoys some skip-surfed soup
TV review
Arts and Entertainment

Great British Bake Off
Arts and Entertainment
Doctor Who and Missy in the Doctor Who series 8 finale

TV
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Chvrches lead singer Lauren Mayberry in the band's new video 'Leave a Trace'

music
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Home on the raunch: George Bisset (Aneurin Barnard), Lady Seymour Worsley (Natalie Dormer) and Richard Worsley (Shaun Evans)

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers

Strictly
Arts and Entertainment
NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton

film
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell and Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
New book 'The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep' by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin

books
Arts and Entertainment
Calvi is not afraid of exploring the deep stuff: loneliness, anxiety, identity, reinvention
music
Arts and Entertainment
Edinburgh solo performers Neil James and Jessica Sherr
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
If a deal to buy tBeats, founded by hip-hop star Dr Dre (pictured) and music producer Jimmy Iovine went through, it would be Apple’s biggest ever acquisition

album review
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith is joining The Voice as a new coach

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Dowton Abbey has been pulling in 'telly tourists', who are visiting Highclere House in Berkshire

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Patriot games: Vic Reeves featured in ‘Very British Problems’
TV review
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
    Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

    Why are we addicted to theme parks?

    Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
    Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

    Iran is opening up again to tourists

    After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
    10 best PS4 games

    10 best PS4 games

    Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
    Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

    Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

    Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
    Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

    ‘Can we really just turn away?’

    Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

    ... and not just because of Isis vandalism
    Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

    Girl on a Plane

    An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent