Saturday, October 16, 2021

"I have vintage interests, but modern values" - the Nineties time capsule man

 via this Dissensus thread on 'The Meaning of the '90s',  a Daily Mail story about a "retro-obsessed man" who spent "£5,000 transforming his home into a time capsule complete with retro TVs, pine furniture, landline phones and a very chunky laptop.... complete with dated Ikea furniture, VHS players, telephone alarm clocks."

"Jack Walter, 23, from Bakewell, Derbyshire...  even drives a 'G reg' Austin Mini Metro.  The illustrator often scours charity shops and eBay while wearing high-waisted Levi jeans and Sweater Shop jumpers and says he finds comfort in the era and hoped to recreate the 'cosiness' of his parents' house from when he was a child - though he admits people think he's 'mad' for not enjoying the present day.

"And due to living in the countryside, he claims his 90s phone with extendable aerial ensures he gets better signal than his mobile phone.

"'I never really enjoyed modern decorating with all the greys. It didn't have the homey quality, and I wanted to replicate that.

"'When we moved into this current house two years ago, it was super bland and white. 

"Jack loves nothing more than watching TV shows from the era such as Absolutely Fabulous, Men Behaving Badly and The Vicar Of Dibley and 'always' plays his Now That's What I Call Music cassette tapes.

"Other photos show his home full of Ikea catalogues from 1997, old Nokia phones and a bulky, square laptop displaying Windows '95.

"He believes the 90s had the 'perfect balance of enough technology to keep us entertained, but not enough to feel like an overload' - though he admits he has to explain what his VHS tapes are to younger relatives.

"Sharing videos of his time capsule home on TikTok where he 'pretends it's the 90s' has earned him more than 5,000 followers as people have fallen in love with his obsession and he's met other fans.

""I'm probably at the charity shop once every two weeks, and I probably spend about £30 max,' he added.

"'The most expensive item I've probably brought is my 1980s television in my living room. 

"'That was £155. Not that expensive really, but for an old TV, people think I'm mad. A friend told me I probably could have gotten one from the tip.

"''I decided to share my house on TikTok initially because I was bored in lockdown and wanted to have a bit of fun.

"'Then I had a lot of people saying they remembered a lot of the items in my house, and that they feel the same way about the 90s.

"'There was a nice feel to it too, knowing that I'm not a weird person and other people enjoy this stuff too.

"Jack lives in the three-bedroom cottage with his parents and his partner of two years, Matthew Whiting, 28.

"For Jack, who admits he used to get 'funny looks' for wearing his 90s jeans, the decade offers an escape from modern life whilst also accommodating a lot of his interests.

"Jack's phone is pictured. He says 'I love my home telephone. I live out in the sticks, so I get awful mobile phone signal. A home telephone works for me

"Jack said: 'In the 1990s, we had enough technology to keep us entertained, but not enough to feel like an overload. Now we have so many different media outlets that it can get a little overwhelming. It's nice to have an escape from that.

"'I have my old television hooked up to an Apple TV which is hidden around the back. I have loads of old taped TV programs on YouTube.

"'But I also enjoy videos of series like Absolutely Fabulous, Men Behaving Badly and The Vicar Of Dibley.

"'At a push, I'd say my favourite item is probably my radio-alarm clock-telephone. It's very mundane, but I always feel a bit glam taking calls from my bedroom.

" 'I love 90s music. I always play the Now That's What I Call Music cassette tapes from 1998 to 1999. It's very 'Mum music'.

"'I obviously love the Spice Girls too - Gerri Halliwell being my favourite.

"'I'd say that any point between 1996 and 1999 is my favourite era for decor and music.

"'It's an escape from the modern world. Some people go to the gym, some play video games, this is my thing.

"'My partner is massively into video games, so he has all the original Nintendo consoles. We overlap in our interests there, so that's nice.'

"Jack said: 'I usually get one of three reactions from people when they come around and see my house.

"'There'll be some people who get nostalgic and remember things from my house from living through the 1990s.

"'Then you get people like my niece. She's only young so it's all new to her and she didn't believe that my phone or telephone worked. I had to explain to her what a VHS was.

"'And I get some people who walk in and don't get it at all. They think I'm mad, and they'll ask why I'm not enjoying what we have now.

"'They'll say that I should buy new things as they're better quality. In my opinion, it's cheaper for me to live like this and everything in my house has a story. They last a lot longer too.

"'I'll have some people online who will tell me it's not accurate. They'll say 'That TV is from the 80s, it's not 90s'. I think people forget that back in the day, people bought things to last.'

"Jack said: 'I do get some funny looks when I'm out dressed in a 40-year-old Sweater Shop jumper.

"'Some fashion trends from the 90s are coming back around, whilst others aren't. I've had people say to me 'It looks like your jeans are back in fashion', because when everyone was wearing skinny jeans, I was wearing high-waisted Levi's. People thought I was a bit weird for doing that.

"There's definitely a lot of people online who share my interests. I even met a mate online who has a house that is completely 70s.

"'I know I probably wouldn't have fit in during the 90s though. Being a gay man and having no internet, I probably wouldn't have met my partner. Gay men weren't portrayed in the media at all.

"'I have vintage interests, but modern values.' 


  1. "the 90s had the 'perfect balance of enough technology to keep us entertained, but not enough to feel like an overload"

    One of the great things about the late 20th century is that the sole function of digital devices was to actively create stuff, rather than an excuse to zone out in the retreat of one's own bubble. We've devolved from couch potatoes to ubiquitous potatoes.

  2. good point, although things like TikTok and a lot of other young-person uses of platforms and apps and whatnot do involve a kind creativity, or at least recreativity

    it's a golden age of parody and metacasm