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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Dunne, played by Ben Affleck, finds himself at the centre of a media storm when his wife is reported missing and assumed dead

film
Arts and Entertainment
Lindsay Lohan made her West End debut earlier this week in 'Speed-the-Plow'

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Artist Nathan Sawaya stands with his sculpture 'Yellow' at the Art of Brick Exhibition

art
Arts and Entertainment
'Strictly Come Dancing' attracted 6.53 million viewers on Friday
tv
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant plays Detective Emmett Carver in the US version on Broadchurch

tv
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor goes undercover at Coal Hill School in 'The Caretaker'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Ni , Rock of Rah, Vanuatu: The Ni live on one of the smallest islands of Vanuatu; Nelson flew five hours from Sydney to capture the 'isolation forged by their remoteness'
photographyJimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style
Arts and Entertainment
David Byrne
musicDavid Byrne describes how the notorious First Lady's high life dazzled him out of a career low
Arts and Entertainment
Sergeant pfeffer: Beatles in 1963
booksA song-by-song survey of the Beatles’ lyrics
Arts and Entertainment
music'I didn't even know who I was'
Arts and Entertainment
Cheryl was left in a conundrum with too much talent and too few seats during the six-chair challenge stage
tvReview: It was tension central at boot camp as the ex-Girls Aloud singer whittled down the hopefuls
Arts and Entertainment
Kalen Hollomon's Anna Wintour collage

art
Arts and Entertainment

TV Grace Dent on TV
Arts and Entertainment

Music
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

music
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dormer is believed to be playing a zombie wife in Patient Zero

film
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Gatiss says Benedict Cumberbatch oozes sex appeal with his 'Byronic looks' and Sherlock coat
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Clothing items bearing the badge have become popular among music aficionados
musicAuthorities rule 'clenched fist' logo cannot be copyrighted
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson will star in Seth MacFarlane's highly-anticipated Ted 2

film
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike in 'Gone Girl'

film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

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

    Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

    Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

    and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
    Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

    Last chance to see...

    The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
    So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

    Truth behind teens' grumpiness

    Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

    Hacked photos: the third wave

    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
    Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

    Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

    Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
    Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

    Education, education, education

    TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
    It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

    It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

    So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
    This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

    Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

    Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
    We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

    Inside the E15 'occupation'

    We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
    Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

    Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

    Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
    Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

    Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

    The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
    Witches: A history of misogyny

    Witches: A history of misogyny

    The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
    Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

    Meet the most powerful woman in US television

    Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
    'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

    Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

    Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style