The last time Stephen Hendry had to qualify for the Crucible, Margaret Thatcher was in Downing Street and Ronald Reagan was in the White House.
Mobile phones were the size of a house brick and if you mentioned the internet to anyone they would assume you were talking about fishing.
The year was 1988. Hendry was 19 but had already won two of that season’s world ranking tournaments, the Grand Prix and British Open.
He defeated Jon Wright 10-4 to qualify for Sheffield and has been there as a seed ever since. Earlier this season he lost his place in the elite top 16 and has thus returned to the qualifiers: older and considerably richer than he was 24 years ago but still as determined as ever.
Tonight, Hendry will play Jimmy White at the Crucible in a Snooker Legends event. There will be much rekindling of golden memories – at least for Hendry – but the serious business starts tomorrow.
The signs are encouraging. Hendry has only lost one qualifier all season. He has adjusted to life in the prelims better than many other legends of the sport.
The truth is, Hendry is not playing consistently well enough to be a member of the top 16 but is still better than most players ranked below him.
Hendry’s opponent in the final qualifying round is Yu Delu, who was born a few weeks before Hendry won his first ranking title in October 1987.
Yu is one of a growing number of dangerous Chinese players. He will be well aware of Hendry’s record of achievement but has no reason to be too overawed.
They aren’t playing at the Crucible but in a cubicle in the badminton hall of the EIS in Sheffield. This is a leveller and Hendry could be forgiven for feeling the pressure.
He will be working for the BBC on the last five days of the World Championship but to fail to be part of the 32-man field would be a bitter blow for someone who used to own the place.
Nobody goes on forever. White and Steve Davis have already fallen by the wayside at this week. Former champions Ken Doherty and Peter Ebdon will be put through the mill of trying to qualify over the weekend.
There are younger faces around. Luca Brecel will become the youngest ever Crucible competitor if he beats Mark King.
But Hendry is the star attraction in the final qualifying round. The Crucible’s most successful player faces a nervy couple of days, not that nerves were ever a problem in his heyday.