In today’s digital age, it’s easy to forget the lessons of the past and dismiss them as old-fashioned. There’s always going to be a big divide between young and old, liberal and conservative. But I think sometimes looking back into time can pay off. By just observing how people lived without our modern tools, one can wonder how they managed to survive. For good or bad, I’ve always been fascinated with the past.

In 1991 I celebrated my 7th birthday and started school. There was no Facebook and Twitter, the Web was just getting started in some remote part of the world, there were no digital cameras and most people in my country didn’t know what a computer is. At the time Bulgaria was preparing for the country’s first democratic elections after the fall of the communist regime in 1989. I vaguely remember my parents talking about it and how they went to the polls. People had their hopes high and were singing a song in the streets I’ll always remember. The lyrics were: “45 години стигат, времето е наше (45 years are enough, time is ours now).” I remembered all this by looking at the pages of a 1991 magazine I bought on EBay a month ago. Here’s what it looks like.

Disclaimer: This blog post contains pictures of Rollingstone Magazine from January 1991. I don’t intend any copyright infringement, I’ve included them as reference. All rights of the magazine content are held by Rollingstone Magazine and the respective authors.

The reason I bought the magazine is Slash on the cover. For me, that’s the man who created the best guitar solos in the world, so no wonder I bough it.

Rollingstone Magazine 1991 with Slash on the cover

Although at first I just wanted to read about Slash, that issue quickly became a trip back to 1991 for me. Apparently at the time they had the movie Green Card in theaters, and there was a full page ad about it.

Green Card movie ad

It seems the economy wasn’t in any better shape, too. Confirms my theories that according to media, we’re always in some crisis.

The economy

State of the art technology was Digital Audio Tape Recorders. Another ad.

Sony digital audio tape recorder

The article on Slash was awesome. I didn’t regret buying the magazine at all. It was an interview he gave a little before Guns n’ Roses released the Use Your Illusions album. I read somewhere afterwards that this particular interview was one of the reasons the relationship between Slash and Axl worsened. I have no idea why. There’s nothing so revealing about Axl in there.

Slash Interview

Slash Interview

Eight grand in 1991 got you a Plymouth. Of course you’d have to be blind, because I don’t see how anyone could buy such an ugly set of wheels.

Plymouth ad

Although CDs already existed, Sony was still trying to sell its tape cassettes. It’s Metal-SR after all. It gives you a wide dynamic range. What-eva.

Sony Metal-SR cassette

Now, if you think Microsoft is the pioneer of word processing, think again. I don’t know if at the time Word was just an idea in Bill’s head, but people were selling high-tech typewriters. If you don’t know what a typewriter is, ask your dad.

Typewriter ad

What self-respecting magazine wouldn’t include classifieds? Not Rollingstone, that’s for sure. You could find anything there. From birthday wishes and inventors, to striptease clubs and phone sex.

Classifieds 1

Classifieds 2

Classifieds 3

And to finish up with my 1991 review, I’ll give you the charts at the time in the US. Remember Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer? They were kicking ass.

Billboard charts

All I can say after reading the whole issue is that 1991 was an awesome year. It may sound unlikely to you, but people had fun without our digital gadgets and being connected all the time. They probably hung out more often, and I think they definitely created better music than people do today.

So next time your internet connection is slow or your iPhone’s giving you trouble, remember 1991 and go do what you want to do in person. And listen to a piece by Slash on the way. You’ll thank me later.