Pokemon - Gotta Catch Em All (Just not in front of moving traffic)
Have you downloaded Pokémon Go yet? The app has proved pretty damn popular, overtaking the likes of Twitter in the social media stakes since launch, so it’s likely you have or know someone who has.
The augmented reality based game (like I know what that means) has taken the world by storm, sometimes with a few unforeseen consequences.
Like the RAC feeling it necessary to issue a stern warning to overzealous Pokéfans about the dangers of playing at the wheel and players in Bosnia being advised not to stray into suspected mine fields while tracking down a Jigglypuff (I looked that up).
Some people have also been a little inappropriate with their time and place when it comes to Pokémoning, with the US Holocaust Museum warning players to stay away after the game turned the memorial into a designated Pokéstop.
This isn’t new of course, there have always been stupid people and there have always been fads that have come and gone over the years, leaving everyone scratching their heads and wondering what all the fuss was about. Two words, The Kardashians.
Here’s just some of the ones that stand out in the memory.
The precursor to Pokémon, Tamagotchi was the size of a key chain and allowed you to have a pet without the pain of having to take it for walks or picking up its poop. That was done digitally. However, Tamagotchi didn’t let you off with the whole losing a pet thing, with children around the world left traumatised when they woke to find their Tamagotchi dead as a result of neglect or natural causes.
Coca-Cola Yo-Yos, 90s
These were mad popular at my school and were essentially just yo-yos with various Coca-Cola brands on them. I distinctly remember a rep visiting us at school and handing them out then showing us how to Rock the Baby and swing our Yo-Yos ‘Around the World’. All I learned was how to get a massive knot in the middle of the string and how to accidentally knock my teeth out.
Loom Bands, 2014
These rainbow coloured loops made many a Pound Shop owner very rich for about 5 minutes and were used by kids to crochet together plastic jewellery. They were even used to make a dress which was initially sold for £170,000 on eBay before the tide changed and it went for £220. When their customers suddenly moved on to something else overnight, pound shops suddenly found themselves struggling to shift thousands of boxes of Loom. The 2007 financial crisis had nothing on the Loom Band boom and bust of 2014. It was a bloodbath.
Cabbage Patch Kids / Garbage Pale Kids, 1980s
Like having a real baby, but without the annoying nappy changes, crying and rapid decline in personal dignity. Families in the US had to put their names into a lottery just to get the chance to buy a Cabbage Patch Kid. They would then visit an instore cabbage patch to ‘adopt’ a doll from the salesperson dressed as a practicing midwife. Okaaaay. But, as in other walks of like, there would be a Ying to this Cabbagey Yang. The Beatles had the Rolling Stones, Take That had East 17 and the Cabbage Patch Kids had the Garbage Pale Kids. These stickers were the creation of a slightly warped mind, with names such as Valerie Vomit, Sicky Vicky and Varicose Wayne giving you a taste of these grubbiness. I loved them. Just recently modern day characters have been turning up like Kanye Pest, Can’t Sia and Breaking Brad. Oh and there was film. A very strange film.
Rubik’s Cube, 1980
One of the biggest symbols of the 80s, these little 3x3x3 cubes have been a constant source of frustration for anyone who isn’t a child genius from China. I’m happy if I can get one side done. Of course these days we have games consoles, so the likes of the Rubik’s Cubes are forever consigned to the man drawer.
Don’t break my heart, my achy breaky heart. I just don’t think I’ll ever understand line dancing. How Miley Cyrus’ dad convinced so many of us to put on cowboy boots, a basket weave Stetson and do the do-si-do down the local community centre still remains a mystery.
Of course there are many more fads that may well have dominated your life at one stage or another. Pogs, Furby, Ouija Boards, marbles (read liggies in Newcastle), boomerangs, bum bags/fanny packs, Reebok Pumps, rollerblades, planking, people being ‘gunged’ on TV, people playing Snake 2 on their phones…..
Fads come and go pretty quickly, so by the time you read this Pokémon Go might well be a thing of the past. In the meantime, if you see me running around a graveyard chasing down a Poliwag, please have a word.