We caught up with Bryony Kimmings, creator of MEGA part of Southbank Centre's Imagine Children’s Festival. This is what she had to say about celeb culture, her favourite 90s outfits and Walkmans (remember those!).
In the show, you go back to being your 9-year-old self – what advice would you give your 9-year-old self now?
I give myself very specific advice in this audio piece, I put my own demons to rest in a way I guess. I hope this makes people think about what they would put to rest or reflect on too. BUT in general, don’t worry about what others say, have big dreams, work hard and don’t lose your sense of wonder.
We know you’re not the biggest fan of today’s celeb culture – was life easier pre-WAG?
I am actually a huge fan of celebrity culture, I buy Heat and I watch films and wonder whether the lead roles have dated, I wish I could wear some of the clothes, I get right sucked in… We all love to gossip as we are inquisitive by design us humans… BUT I don’t feel like this is something that I want to rub off onto young minds as the ONLY thing that life is about. I think that in a way life was easier pre-WAG simply as it was easier to instill a sense of logic, perspective and reward for hard work and brains into a generation of minds. It’s a battle that isn’t worth the rewards. I would rather lose the gossip to change the focus of a lot of young minds on bodies and money.
What was your fave 90s outfit?
Fave 90s outfit was by far the Bermuda short, tube sock and global hypercolour combo. Run more than 50 yards and everyone knew exactly what part of your body was hot and sweaty… How could that not be the coolest thing ever!
What was your most embarrassing 90s haircut?
Worst 90s haircut was when I got my hair cut like Delores from the Cranberries. Zombie was huge and I just loved her voice, attitude, clothes. So I went into a hairdresser in my town (with very long brown hair) and said make me look like THIS. Delores has a French crop, about 2cm long, and it was bleached white. For the rest of term I had five boys from a few years older than me making and wearing masks, dying their hair and generally taking the mickey out of me. BUT it made me strong, it made me not care what I looked like and want to fight these kinds of bullies. So it was formative, although looking back pretty rank as a haircut!
What were you playing on your Walkman back then?
Weirdly, after I realized that chart music was not the only kind of music to listen to (you know whilst taping the charts and trying to press stop when Mark Goodyer spoke), I began to listen to music from different eras and fixated for quite a few years on 70s disco music. I KNOW… Gross. Boney M and Pulp where pretty monumental for me. So was VH1 and a cable TV programme called The Box. I pride myself on knowing a lot about rubbish music videos!
What’s the best thing about the 90s?
Brit pop. I think it was just an exciting and empowering time to be alive. The YBA’s, the London is the centre of the universe for a small town girl made you believe things were possible, that being from the provinces, having an accent, being different, experimenting was cool! I think it was a better time to be young, less pressure to conform and people were less aggressive but this could be rose-tinted specs.
What’s the worst thing about the 90s? The worst things about the 90s were: D:Ream; New Labour's broken promises; Point Horror Books; Those Anne Geddes prints of babies in flowers and dressed as bees; Culloutes; Shell Suits; Not being old enough to watch John Waters films. Shell suits were pretty bad, but in 1990 (where this piece is set) it was all I longed for and begged for, for months… Come to the show and be reminded of all these hideous things and more!