Fourteen things we were all doing when Friends first landed

We all woke up this morning to the shocking news that Friends is 20 years old today.

You may have taken a stroll down memory lane today as you reminisced about your years spent in the company of Rachel, Chandler, Monica, Joey, Phoebe and Ross, but it turns out that 1994 was a bit of a goldmine in terms of memory-lane material.

We've trawled through the archives (ok, we watched the 1994 episode of Reeling in the Years on YouTube) to find 14 things that we were all doing in the year that the Central Perk crew first burst onto our screens…

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1. WE WERE DOING OUR HOMEWORK...

…in front of Ray, Zig, Zag, Dustin and Socky. Where has the time gone?

The One Where Ray Had Hair

Ok they were perhaps past their comic peak by '94, but still schoolkids all over Ireland plonked down in front of The Den every weekday afternoon, marvelling at the fact that the grownups had no idea of the subversive madness being piped direct into their childrens' brains.



2. WE WERE DANCING AT THE GAA DISCO...

…to 'Saturday Night', by Danish pop pixie Whigfield. The girls would all miraculously line up and perform the moves in flawless formation, while the lads would hang awkwardly at the mineral bar, waiting for the slow set. Or Black Betty. Whichever.



3. WE WERE CHEERING MADLY...

… as Sonia O'Sullivan romped home to take a gold medal in the 3,000m at the European Championships in Helsinki on August 10, 1994.

Hon Sonia.

Picture: INPHO


4. WE WERE GLUED TO OUR SCREENS...

…during the interval of the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest, held in Dublin and presented by Gerry Ryan and Cynthia Ní Mhurchú (your author's former drama teacher, as it happens).

As Gerry and Cynthia faded from view, the haunting tones of Bill Whelan's iconic opening music filled the Point Theatre, before Michael Flatley and Jean Butler burst onto the stage and into history.

Riverdance was born, and nothing was ever the same again.



5. WE WERE TUMBLING...

… in homage to Ray Houghton's match-winning strike against Italy on June 18 in the Giants Stadium, New York.

Here it is in all it's glory:

But...


6. WE WERE OUTRAGED...

…when the bad man from FIFA upset big John Alridge during the next match against Mexico.



7. WE WERE SCOTTISH...

…or at least a good chunk of our armed forces were, as Mel Gibson and the Irish Army/FCA filmed battle scenes for 'Braveheart' in the Curragh, and everyone who could hold a pike and march in line was called into service.

Remember, this was Gibson pre-'Sugartits', when he was still a housewives' favourite. It has to be said, the filming of Braveheart looks like some of the most craic ever had by anyone on Irish soil, at least if some of these film clips released recently by the Defence Forces are to be believed.



8. WE WERE GENUINELY GUTTED...

…when news filtered through that Kurt Cobain had taken his own life, on April 5, 1994.

Cobain and Nirvana provided the soundtrack to the adolescence of many a young Irish man and woman, and we mourned him with a grief that was deep and heartfelt.

Rest easy, Kurt. Here's hoping you found the peace you were looking for.



9. WE WERE BLOWN AWAY...

… by 'Definitely Maybe'. Oasis' star waned over the years as the excesses of the rock'n'roll lifestyle took their toll, but never was there a more assured debut album released.

As the year (and the next) progressed, of course, the Britpop battle lines were drawn - was you Oasis, or was you Blur?

You should cut down on your pork life mate, get some exercise!

History judged Oasis the winner of the Britpop wars, but in a golden year for great music (Beck's 'Mellow Gold', The Cranberries' 'No Need to Argue', Nirvana 'Unplugged in New York', Portishead's 'Dummy', Jeff Buckley's 'Grace'- the list goes on and on) the victory belonged to anyone with ears.


10. WE WERE THROWING SHAPES...

… like Joe McKinney in that Guinness ad.

Entitled 'Anticipation', yes that ad is 20 years old now. Twenty fecking years.


11. WE WERE TWEETING...

… nothing.

We had no Twitter, no Facebook, no smartphones - very few of us had mobile phones at all, in fact - and the internet looked like this:

Hard to imagine life offline now. But that was what it was like.


12. WE WERE FEELING...

…the hand of history on our shoulders.



13. WE WERE SHIFTING...

… in the back row of the cinema, as a dripping wet Andie McDowell was ignored on the screen in front of us.

Yes, Four Weddings is also 20 years old this year. As is Pulp Fiction, Speed, The Shawshank Redemption, The Lion King and Forrest Gump.

Bloody hell.


14. WE WERE PLAYING

… Mortal Kombat on the original Sony Playstation (PS1) console, released in December 1994.



What else have we missed from 1994?

Tell us in the comments…

By Conor Hallahan

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