Saturday, May 11, 2024

About nostalgia(s)

In an otherwise tedious and banal article about, of all things, Virgin’s cruise line, the CEO comes up with this inadvertently fascinating nugget: “People like to be reminded of nostalgia.”

It sounds daft, of course it does; surely it’s nostalgia that does the reminding. But then I realise that when watching the old episodes of Top of the Pops that BBC Four is running on Friday nights, some of my favourite moments come from Darts, a band that achieved success in the late 1970s by providing kooky versions of songs that were even then already 15 or 20 years old. And then when I was at university, when mainstream pop was wallowing in post-Live Aid earnestness, my friends and I constructed a world that resounded to soul and funk from past decades (and an aesthetic that merged 40s zoot suits and 50s Soho and 60s Left Bank blankness). So, sorry Mr Saverimuttu, I guess I do like to be reminded of nostalgia. Just not the crappy nostalgia you’re peddling.

And now I find out that Britpop, another trend that had more than one eye on an imagined past, has apparently been revived (although it appears that translates as “wears a Fred Perry and has a St George’s flag in the back of the video” but maybe that’s enough).

PS: And then there are conflicting nostalgias. I was annoyed when stories covering the death of the actor Bernard Hill led with his appearances in Titanic and The Lord of the Rings, with (to me at least) his most important role, as Yosser Hughes in The Boys from the Blackstuff relegated to a later paragraph (even on the BBC, where Blackstuff was first broadcast). Of course Blackstuff was over 40 years ago; but Titanic was nearly 30...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"his most important role, as Yosser Hughes in The Boys from the Blackstuff"

The effect of the 'net: to people in the UK - even young(ish) ones - Yosser Hughes is a trope for the time, but who outside the UK knows anything of him?