Class Of 2009 – 41 Things You Only Know If You Left School In The Late ’00s

If you left school in 2009 – to go on to uni or into work – you’ll remember the halycon days before One Direction and Taylor Swift, when you listened to music on an iPod Classic and bought CDs from shops. When telly for teens was really great, and Marvel hadn’t taken over the cinematic year. As part of NME‘s ‘Class Of…’ series, we’re looking at all the things that made schooldays great, from the mid-nineties to the late 00s. Be warned: any one of these 41 things could make you super nostalgic.

1. You were more upset when E4 stopped showing Friends than when the when the actual series ended in 2004

You were too young to enjoy it the first time round. Over the seven years it was repeated on E4 from 2004-2011, you probably saw every episode at least once, mainly while bunking off lectures at uni, and when you heard it was heading for Comedy Central you were like this:

2. The Skins/Inbetweeners teen dichotomy was way too real



3. As a teenager you owned a gimmicky phone like this


And you treasured it with all your heart. We still love you, O2 Cocoon.

4. You quoted Anchorman, Little Britain, and Austin Powers all the time at school

Sometimes you still do

5. You’ve always had a soft spot for Cool Runnings


You had it on VHS, and while it didn’t get you to the Winter Olympics, you probably still did this after watching it for the first time

Cool Runnings Jamaica GIF by Complex - Find & Share on GIPHY

6. When you saw Tony Gardner in Fresh Meat you immediately thought of My Parents Are Aliens

Professor Shales will always be Brian to us.

7. You were too young for the first series of Big Brother in 2000, but you watched it anyway

Remember when they got naked and covered themselves in clay?

8. Arctic Monkeys are one of the few bands you’re proud you liked when you were younger

Even though Gordon Brown ruined it by saying he liked them too

9. You used to buy CDs from the Virgin Megastore

Or Woolworths. Classic.

10. You used to buy physical copies of singles too, and you look back on this time fondly

…even if the stuff you used to buy included ‘Heaven Is A Halfpipe’ by OPM. No one is judging you.

11. You remember the year you left school because of the amazing Reading & Leeds lineup in 2009

Arctic Monkeys, Radiohead and Kings of Leon headlined that year, and there were sets from The Prodigy, Bloc Party, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Ian Brown, and The Courteeners. It was amazing. Either you went to celebrate leaving school, and were like this:

Turn Up Yolo GIF by Fandor - Find & Share on GIPHY

Or you couldn’t go, and were more like this:

Season 12 Episode 13 GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

12. There was probably one of these in your house

Zig-a-zig ah #girlpower


13. The internet was so, so bad

Hear it and shudder:

You still managed to use MSN Messenger though

14. In your lifetime you’ve heard the phrase ‘guitar music is dead’ at least 5,000 times

…and every time you’re like:

Kanye West No GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

15. At school you had a Livestrong wristband and you thought it made you a good person

16. You were all about the rubbish prizes in snacks and cereal boxes

Pointless collectibles like Tazos were great, obviously, but then there were things like this, which slowly got covered in dust and hair.

17. You didn’t understand why everyone was so upset about the 00s Star Wars films

Simon Pegg was busy losing his job in Spaced over the awfulness of Jar Jar Binks, but you didn’t know any better at the time. It wasn’t until later that you saw the true crimes of the prequel trilogy.

Jar Jar Binks GIF by Quartz - Find & Share on GIPHY

18. You literally grew up with Harry Potter

You were 10/11 when he went to Hogwarts in first film, you were 17/18 when he left school at the end of the sixth, and you went to watch the last two at uni because everyone did. To anyone who questioned it, you were like:

19. You never want to hear this speech from Taken ever again

The phrase “particular set of skills” has lost all meaning

20. You have a Family Guy quote for every occasion

You are also great at saying this really fast

21. You and your friends wasted an embarrassing amount of time shooting each other on Halo and Counterstrike


22. You wasted even more time on Pokémon Blue, Red or Yellow

Missingno was always the key catch, really.

23. You know that there are only 150 real Pokemon. All the new ones are rubbish

This one is literally called ‘Trubbish’.

24. You know what lupus is because of House

25. You used to write Facebook statuses in the third person

You also remember when ‘poke’ was a clearly listed option on people’s walls. When they were called walls.

26. BBC Switch was aimed directly at you

Annie Mac and Nick Grimshaw were a Sunday night dream team on Radio 1, but the corresponding live music TV show, Sound, was kinda weird. Why was no one but Annie & Nick watching the performances? Why was it always outside? No one knew.

27. T4 had the best teen shows on TV

After you grew out of CD:UK and SMTV Live, you moved to T4, with The OC, The Simpsons and more. Its best offering, Popworld, had a golden age from 2001-2006. It was mainly Simon Amstell and Miquita Oliver taking the piss out of everyone, and it was great.

28. The word gunge has a deep, slightly horrifying significance for you

The reason being that it was part of every children’s game show you watched. Health & Safety standards didn’t exist back then.

29. You owned at least two of the Now! That’s What I Call Music CDs

Now 39 is a particular classic. Was this the last one to feature Radiohead and Pulp?

30. You consider Elf the Christmassiest Christmas film that ever Christmassed

It’s also one of the few Will Ferrell films you can legally show a child.

31. Just before you left, your school got a Smart Board, aka a Ridiculous Waste Of Money

Your teachers kept getting flustered after forgetting to put the smart pens back and making marks by mistake – or worse, by drawing on them with regular board markers.

32. The Simpsons + The Fresh Prince of Bel Air = ’90s weekday evenings on BBC Two

Happy days

33. Lord of the Rings was a significant cultural landmark for you

When people bring up the ‘plot hole’ thing about the eagles flying the ring to Mount Doom, you look at them with pity and remind them about these guys.

34. Spider-Man 3 was among the most hilariously bad films you watched as a teen

Here are just a few of its terrible moments:

Yeah no thanks

35. Whereas Mean Girls was brilliant and formative

School may be completely different in the UK, but Tina Fey’s 2004 drawing of teenage competitiveness (and general awfulness) was perfect. And so very quotable. It was probably the best school-set comedy since Clueless.

36. You felt grown up when High School Musical came out because you considered it lame and bad

Wasn’t aimed at you, but still. What the hell was that?

37. ‘Bad times’ was once part of your lexicon

And epic fail. And FML. And, less so, yolo.

38. You honestly thought Lost was going somewhere

When it started, it was really cool. When it ended it was a mess. You still haven’t quite forgiven JJ Abrams.

39. During IT lessons you spent most of your time on

8-ball pool was where it was at

40. You spent ages organising your mp3 library

In the days before GraceNote, you had to painstakingly label and organise the mp3 files you ripped from your CDs, and your mates’. You probably used iTunes, or Windows Media Player.

If you were one of the chosen few, you would have used Zune instead

41. You shed a tear as Top of the Pops died its slow death

It went from this:

To this:

It’s still a sad story – but the music lives on. And let’s face it, your music taste is better now than it was when Top of the Pops was on anyway.