Retro technology

Recently I was at home for a week, and as my parents are moving in a few months I was given the job of sorting out all my stuff. I came across some retro gems that I loved and enjoyed while I was a child and a teenager!

First up, my beloved cassette player/recorder/radio. I got hours of use out of this. Do kids today even know what cassettes are?

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Alba Radio Cassette Recorder

Gender-specific toys are not a new thing, sadly. On the other hand, I still prefer the pink/purple colourway of this Home Alone II-inspired Talkgirl to the original silver/black of the Talkboy.

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Deluxe Talkgirl

How awesome was the Dear Diary? My brother and cousin once spent a whole afternoon trying to guess my password. They failed. HA!

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Dear Diary
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Inside the Dear Diary

Now that there is no analogue TV, this portable model is pretty useless.

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Casio Portable TV

Ordinary film cameras always confused me so this APS camera from Kodak was brilliant. Sadly it was soon superseded by digital photography, but I used this for a good few years.

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Kodak Advantix F600 Camera

Ah, the portable CD player. When you spent hours trying to work out which one album you wanted to listen to, then had to carry this bulky thing around.

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Goodmans Portable CD Player

Before I got a laptop I used to take this to sixth form and write all my essays on it. It came in very handy.

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Sharp Electronic Organiser
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Inside the Sharp Electronic Organiser

How cute is this Minidisc player? I think Minidiscs would have really taken off if the iPod hadn’t come out shortly afterwards.

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Panasonic Minidisc Player
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My collection of minidiscs

My first ever mp3 player, and my first foray into digital technology. This lasted me a good few years.

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Creative mp3 Player

I could probably start a museum with this lot, honestly…

The Big Reunion at Newcastle Arena

I watched the Big Reunion show on TV and loved it – it really took me back to those 90s/early 00s days of cheesy pop music when I was a teenager. When the tour was announced, my friends and I snapped up tickets for the Newcastle show on Sunday 5 May, and I’ve been excited about it for months.

We had really good seats, pretty near the front. Seven bands were involved – 5ive, B*Witched, 911, Blue, Liberty X, Honeyz and Atomic Kitten. Apart from B*Witched, I wasn’t a major fan of any of these bands at the time – I didn’t own any CDs or go to any concerts – but over time I’ve come to realise that they all made some brilliant pop music.

First on stage were 5ive, sadly minus original member J, who didn’t want to take part. The rest of the band made up for his absence, however, belting out ‘We Will Rock You’ with gusto and following with ‘Everybody Get Up’.


B*Witched were up next. Now in my early teens I completely loved them, and in fact my first ever concert, here in Newcastle Arena back when it was named the Telewest Arena, was a B*Witched show. I didn’t double-denim it this time, but I loved singing along to ‘C’est La Vie’ and the follow-up ‘Rollercoaster’.


Up next were 911, who launched into ‘Party People’ and got the crowd screaming straight away. It was good to see that the passage of time hasn’t stopped Lee, Spike and Jimmy from being able to execute impressive dance moves including a couple of backflips. During ‘A Little Bit More’ the band got everyone to light up their phones and wave them in the air – the result was actually quite beautiful.

The crowd
The crowd

The Honeyz slowed things down with their most famous song, ‘Finally Found’. I was actually surprised to find out just how many hits they had, as I had always thought of them as one-hit wonders. When they sang ‘End of the Line’ I was reminded that I used to love this song and I had it on a mix tape!

The Honeyz
The Honeyz

Atomic Kitten bounced on to the stage next, singing their hit ‘ Right Now’. I felt sorry for poor Kerry as she’d been put into what looked like a boiler suit while Tash and Liz were wearing pretty skirts. The band sounded really good though.

Atomic Kitten
Atomic Kitten

Liberty X came on next, performing ‘Thinking It Over’. Some of the bands on this tour are planning to release new material and embark on their own tours, but Liberty X announced that they were going to break up for good after the Big Reunion tour finishes. This is a shame as they did a really good job.

Liberty X
Liberty X

Finally, Blue took to the stage to perform their hit ‘All Rise’. Blue were a little after my time – they were popular when I was in the sixth form – but I do like several of their songs and I enjoyed their performance. They finished off with a powerful rendition of ‘Breathe Easy’.


After an interval – during which I purchased a B*Witched mug from the merchandise stand – the bands took to the stage again, this time in a different order. The Honeyz sang their hit ‘Take It Lying Down’ which I really like, while 911 performed ‘Bodyshakin” and ‘More Than a Woman’. Blue sang ‘Sorry Seems To Be the Hardest Word’ while B*Witched came out with umbrellas for the brilliant ‘Blame It On the Weatherman’.

Blame It On the Weatherman
Blame It On the Weatherman

Liberty X pleased the crowd with ‘Just A Little’ while 5ive got everyone singing along to ‘Keep On Movin”. Finally, Atomic Kitten performed ‘Whole Again’, before everyone got back on stage at the end.



It was a brilliant night – would it be wrong of me to go to one of the Christmas shows too?!