Friday, November 11, 2005

Increasingly, Nostalgia Is All I Have To Look Forward To. But, Ah, The Skies Of Yesteryear Are Blue!

If, as one of my correspondents suggests, I am to eschew nostalgia, what, I wonder, will I have left to look forward to?
For years now, I have only managed to face forward by thinking backwards, to a time when things were less cruel, less venal, less fuelled by greed, selfishness, and a boorish disregard for the welfare of others.
Nostalgia is my electric blanket. It is my hot water bottle, my Thermos full of sweet tea. It protects me, sustains me, and keeps me warm. In my rear-view mirror, which is jauntily placed on the front wing of my metaphorical Dormobile (and not - as on modern vehicles - by the driver's door), distant objects may look closer than they are, but I find it tremendously reassuring to be able to reflect on a world before "hoodies", or bad language, or graffiti, or iPods on the bus; before Little Chefs punting hoki from New Zealand, before the streets were strewn with half-naked posters of models selling scent, or pants, or scented pants; before concrete and plastic, and boys at the chip shop acting with menaces; before kittens with bangers tied to their tails; before the streets were stuck with dog mess and Wrigley's Spearmint Gum; before seven-day supermarkets and "booze cruises" and carrots with no taste; before Ministers in leather jackets or congregations of "happy clappers"; before coffee shops selling fatless froth for the price of five pies; before children were obese; before kebabs, and Sunday morning sick; before sudoku and free DVDs; before American beer, and rappers over here with their jeans around their knees; before spin, and wheelie bins, and industrial cheese; before the tyranny of convenience turned newspapers into comics edited by cartoons for an audience of fools, but without the wit of Oor Wullie or Little Plum; before football was played by millionaires and supported by bigots; before dead princesses were treated like Mexican saints, when their lives were no more admirable than that of the average sunbather; before traffic jams or cycling helmets or wheelchair parking bays, and the general all-pervasive feeling that, although we have never been richer, or brighter, or faster, the world is travelling like a supersonic handcart on a journey to Hell, with a guest appearance by Mr Richard Branson, a flypast by the Red Arrows, and a sponsored jog by an Olympian athlete who has yet to fail a drugs test.
At times like these I like to imagine myself as Mr Burt Lancaster in The Swimmer. I raise my sights to the heavens and, though they are grey, I see only blue. "Look at that sky!" I say to myself. "Look at that sky!"


Learson said...

There is a sundial on the green sward of Brasenose College which bears the legend, 'Its later than you think', and whilst one could expatiate on this subject at great length,it may serve,'inter alia',as a gentle warning against the quasi-masochistic pleasures of nostalgia to which many thinking people are drawn. I understand your devotion to the films of Burt Lancaster, being myself an admirer of the career of his near-contemporary, Robert Mitchum. I also respect Mitchum's insouciant attitude to his body of work. When Martin Scorsese,a Mitchum fan, asked the infinitely laid-back actor how many films he had made, Mitchum told him that he had no idea of the number. "One hundred and seventeen", said Scorsese.
I must confess that I have no idea what 'hoki' is or what form it takes as I have yet to consult my research assistant, Dr Google. If it is as appealing as (the) 'haka' as witnessed at NZ rugby matches then I might be better sticking to tripe and onions with a side dish of durians.

Anonymous said...

Surely there was never a time before kittens with bangers tied to their tails, Mr Elder?