It’s autumn 1989 and a decade where pop has transformed itself into an all encompassing mass culture is drawing to a spectacular close. Ten years have seen huge growth in music sales and an explosion of genres, with rock morphing through glam metal and beyond, disco had danced through electro towards a new house, and hip hop had grown from the streets of New York to become an emerging and exciting influence on global pop culture. The nineties are almost here, but first the Now That’s What I Call Music team are set upon closing this unforgettable decade with some fireworks. NOW 16 provided the narrative for this time and as you would expect contained the diverse snapshot of the UK Charts we had come to expect from the country’sfavourite compilation LPs. Tears for Fears were back, Back, BACK with a huge slice of psychedelic love power pop in tune with the chart’s positive vibe, alongside fellow returning performances from the likes of Tina Turner, Wet Wet Wet and the sensual Kate Bush. However, as always, the album also celebrated the diversity and excitement of the charts with the vibrance of the ever growing dance and hip hop scenes thanks to Technotronic, Neneh Cherry, De La Soul and Rebel MC. Throw in some glorious pop gems from the likes of Shakespear’s Sister, Deborah (not Debbie) Harry and Jimmy Somerville and you have the technicolour pop party that is NOW 16! And did we mention three bonus tracks on the CD as well? Phew! Join author, artist (www.raw-art.co.uk) and host of the Bigmouth podcast Siân Pattenden as I as we explore the pop culture landscape as the 80s turned into the 90s. Expect a swingorilliant serving of pop stories from Siân’s time at Smash Hits (who controlled the office stereo?) as well as shiny tales and musings including (amongst other vital things) how Erasure enlisted neighbouring indie rockers for some ‘drama’, being on tour with Big Fun (and Sonia!) and which NOW 16 star made ‘advances’ on the young Miss Pattenden! And does anyone know anything about the whereabouts of Fresh 4 and Lizz E? Parties have to end, history speeds on, and things always turn out to be much more complicated than they first appear. And, as 1989 teaches us, everything will sooner or later change again. John Harris.