(At this time of writing) You were born between 1975 and 1985

Me, as seen in glorious Commodore 64-o-vision! The train I’m aboard isn’t much older than the C64 itself.

For a change from the usual stuff, this post follows in the theme of the “You Know You’re a Mancunian Child of the ’80s…” type of entries. Only this time, we focus on the travails of being a thirty-something male. Most of – perhaps all of – the points are gender neutral (yes, in an age where political correctness is on the wain, I still refer to Sony’s portable cassette player as a ‘Walkperson’).

Enough of the waffling, on with the show…

*                            *                           *

You Know You’re a Thirty-Something When…

  1. The singles charts have no meaning to you whatsoever: to be honest, I lost interest in the UK singles chart in 1995. This didn’t stop me liking odd tunes after my self-imposed cut-off point. Thank goodness for the internet and golden oldie-orientated radio stations (some of them have turned to pish these days).
  2. At least one of your schools or classrooms have been demolished: sad but true though inevitable. The late great Ewing School has suffered a similar fate over the last month. Thanks to Google Maps, I found that Bay 8 had been consumed by a more modern extension at Yew Tree Primary School.
  3. You still say “I’m taping <insert name of TV programme>”: even with Sky Plus and equivalents, more people seem to understand the phrase ‘taping’ than ‘saving <your favourite programme> on Sky Plus’. Even saying “I’m putting Trollied on Series Link” alienates anyone without a Sky Plus Digibox.
  4. Going to Boots to pick up your photos seems run-of-the-mill. Except with anyone under 25 years old: I love digital photography but I love film in equal measure. Sometimes you’re a tad inconsolable if you hear of people taking hundreds of photos without sharing them physically. Then again, I’m guilty of only showing off a handful of pictures in physical form and direct my fellows to the smartphone or social media account(s).
  5. Buying a round with a credit or debit card seems alien: it also narks off the bar staff at busy times. Settling your tab on plastic at the end of a session or meal I can understand. For two pints of real ale? Overkill if you live outside the M25 motorway.
  6. You still watch television on… a television set: I would still say a television set is a better medium for watching anything which demands your full attention. Any other time, BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, Demand Five or 4oD running in the background whilst coding or blogging.
  7. Most of your music collection is on physical forms: age shouldn’t come in to this. Common sense, yes. Supposing you lose your tracks on iTunes (if saved on your hard drive), you have no physical backup options. Plus the sound quality on physical media is better than streamed audio and visual files.
  8. Getting served in pubs becomes a cinch: in medium sized town centres upwards, how many bars do you see say ‘Over 25s’ rather than ‘no jeans or trainers’?
  9. You cannot handle most modern computer games: thank the divine being for Candy Crush Saga owing to their similarity to 8-bit games. Chances are you’d rather play Rainbow Islands on the C64 than mither your friends for extra lives or power-ups on Facebook. Only to see some choice language coming your way. Me, I still prefer the 8 bit games.
  10. Your younger relatives laugh as much as you do with an episode of Father Ted when you tell them about early computer games: the wonders of tape and 5.25″ floppy discs! A 14 minute wait for Manic Miner and annoying high pitched loading noises (three-quarters volume, treble setting to load a ZX Spectrum game).
  11. You call the stereo system a “music centre”: very 1970s but the phrase Music Centre is format neutral. A term equally at home with modern day systems featuring DAB radios and iPod docks, as well as their ’70s brethren sporting tape decks, turntables or 8-track players.
  12. Politicians begin to take (or feign) an interest in your concerns: in the UK at least, under 25s never seem to count in the policy department owing to lower voting rates. Which is so unfair, having been at the sharpest end of recent austerity measures. 35 seems to be the age where you became A Hardworking Person® whom – ideally – has their own home, a full time job, stable relationship, children and a car.
  13. The telephone number 01 811 8055 has a special place in your heart: “On Line One we have Stuart who would like to swap a Bay City Rollers album for Supertramp’s Breakfast in America LP or a Debbie Harry poster”. YES, that fabled number for late thirty-somethings could only mean one thing: Multi-Coloured Swap Shop or Saturday Superstore. Or Going Live even. Also the remote possibility of speaking to Noel Edmonds or insulting Matt Bianco.
  14. Buckets of water or slapstick comedy still raises a chuckle: one for the TISWAS fans, or anyone forced to sit through The Krankies.
  15. The catalogues you receive have more outdated gadgets: with the body clock starting to tick away, junk mail seems to be lean towards ‘old fogie clothing’ and less glamorous devices. Instead of trying to get you fawning over the latest geek gadgets, you try to feign interest in a winsome resin ornament of a dog carrying a lamp. Depressing in the late 30s, as they remind you of the fact you’ll need a Back Mate 30 years from now. Thanks to blogging about inane stuff like this.
  16. Dressing smart no longer feels like a penance: that, my friend, is what we call ‘maturity’. I like dressing in my ‘scruffs’ every now and then for comfort. At school I was glad to change from uniform into civilian clothes. Today, I don’t mind dressing smart now and again. Partly because: 1) it seems like a subversive act these days; and 2) a lady friend whom I’ve known for the last six months has realised how good-looking I am in smart dress. Then again from an early age, I could never wear a proper shirt without a tie. I still can’t today: it feels scruffy to me.

But Wait, There’s More…

Feel free to add to the sixteen or elaborate on them. If you’ve just turned 30, you may find some of this a tad unsettling. If you’re about to leave your thirties, pretty funny instead of unsettling.

Me, I’m about to enjoy the rest of my thirties by scouring YouTube and the like for weird ’80s tunes and radio jingles. Plus a multitude of other things for pleasure and profit. So ner!

S.V., 10 July 2015.

5 thoughts on “You Know You’re In Your 30s When…

  1. Re number 13, for those just turning thirty this year, a more rememberable phone number would be 081 811 8181 (later 0181 811 8181 which did’t quite fit the song so well).


    1. Hi Ryan,

      Yep, very true and largely as a result of the changes to London numbers in April 1990. (When 01 was split into 071 and 081).

      The new version of the ‘081’ song didn’t scan well after 1995.

      Bye for now,



  2. Brilliant article this 🙂 Being born in 1996, so not quite in my twenties, (well very nearly in my twenties), I can relate to some of these things, in fact I always consider myself to be one of the ‘last generation’ of the pre digital revolution. I am pretty honoured in that respect to be able to mention my large collection of VHS tapes and cassette tapes as a young kid, the wonderful days of coming home from school in the early Noughties with a fantastic choice of four channels (of course, digital alternatives had recently become available, although they were not really well known or popular, or at least came at a cost not even to be looked at!),

    Growing up in the early-mid noughties was a strange time in terms of technology anyway because whilst amazing new technologies such as smartphones, insanely fast personal computers, massive personal media storage devices and smartphones were becoming existent, old technologies such as tape, film, analogue television and toys that were not electric still existed!


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