Somewhere between 1993 and 1994, British masculinity was perceived as having spawned a new type, the ‘New Lad’.
His media sighting could arguably be traced back to a less congenial late 1980s figure, the Lager Lout – a young male with too much money to spend and too much lager inside him.
This well-heeled hooligan shed his more violent qualities and was transformed from a folk devil into a consumer category.
For one thing, he had a “lifestyle” and, in 1994, a magazine to prove it – Loaded, the most successful British men’s magazine of the 1990s.
The New Lad was middle class but in love with working-class masculinity and irresponsible hedonism. New Lads included pop stars (Blur), comedians (Baddiel and Skinner’s Fantasy Football League) and, most importantly, journalists. They even had their own sitcom to confirm that they really were Men Behaving Badly.
The New Lads were carried into the millennium on a wave of culture, sport and optimism. Britpop, Euro ’96, New Labour, Blur at Mile End and Oasis at Knebworth, Gazza’s dentist’s chair, TFI Friday, a big wheel by the Thames and a tent built on an old gasworks.