The 1990s brought the collapse of the Soviet Union and the reunification of Germany. In the UK, moral panic was growing over the subversive nature of the ‘peace convoys’. This led to the introduction of the Criminal Justice Act of 1994, which infamously cracked down on unlicensed gatherings of people listening to music ‘characterized by the emission of a succession of repetitive beats’.

Crank up the stereo with some loud, repetitive beats and get stuck into our 1990s mini-guide.


American Psycho Novel

American Psycho (1991) by Bret Easton Ellis – if you don’t like imagining graphic scenes of depravity, best give it a miss

How Late It Was, How Late (1994) by James Kelman – the novel won the 1994 Booker Prize, but only just. One of the judges threatened to resign from the panel if it won, calling it “crap”, and a literary critic for The Times deemed the decision “literary vandalism”. Written in Glaswegian vernacular, the word ‘fuck’ occurs more than 4000 times

The Virgin Suicides (1993) by Jeffrey Eugenides – the ultimate tale of existential crisis

Girl, Interrupted (1993) by Susanna Kaysen – a memoir of the author’s experience in a psychiatric ward in the 1960s after being diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder

The Vagina Monologues (1996) by Eve Ensler – a play made up of personal monologues of women describing all aspects of the female experience; including rape, menstruation, masturbation, and female genital mutilation


Body Count heavy metal band

Body Count – Parental Advisory Explicit Content. American heavy metal band fronted by Ice-T

Mudhoney – part of the Seattle grunge scene and named after the 1965 movie by Russ Meyer

L7 – all-female grunge band with a penchant for flinging bloody tampons into the crowd

Bikini Kill – pioneers of the Riot Grrrl movement, with their slogan ‘girls to the front’ they also coined the phrase ‘girl power’

Levellers – anarcho-folk-punk band that introduced the British public to New Age Travellers. A typical Levellers gig would be full of crusties in holey jumpers and German para boots swilling scrumpy. There was usually at least one dog for every human



Jacob's ladder movie

Jacob’s Ladder (1990) – psychological horror about the hallucinations of a Vietnam vet

Reservoir Dogs (1992) – banned in the UK until 1995. Mr Blonde dancing about and slicing off ears

True Romance (1993) – more Tarantino-inspired violence (he wrote the screenplay). It was described as “cocaine-flavoured bubble-gum” by Empire magazine

The Big Lebowski (1998) – comedy crime debacle by the Coen brothers. ‘The Dude’ is really pissed off about his soiled rug

Boxing Helena (1993) – Not to be missed if amputee-fetishism is your thing. Possibly one for the ‘so bad it’s good’ category, it won a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Director in 1994. However, the Misfits liked it so much that they penned the songs ‘Helena’ and ‘Helena 2’ in tribute


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