Monday 16 July 2012

Nostalgia Isn't What it Was!

I've never understood why nostalgia is the prerogative of the older person. After all, after the age of 60 people's memories are supposed to become fuzzy and then deteriorate in a downward spiral until the proverbial bucket is kicked.

I turned 60 (and a bit) this year and I love nostalgia, listening to my 1960's and 70's records and rereading my favourite books. Mind you I've just reread 4 Bernard Cornwell books on Sharpe and I'm pretty sure they've been sitting on my book shelves unread all these years, because I certainly don't remember any of the plot, or action. If that is the case and I've never read them before....what a joy to find 4 new wonderful books. On the other hand, if I have read them before, then I'm worried.

The only pop concert I went to in my youth was the Rolling Stones free concert in Hyde Park. I could just about see the Stones on a remote stage, but the fact of being there was fantastic. Also on the show was a band called CCS (the Cosmic Consciousness Society) which was very hippie, but also very good. It's leader was Alexis Korner and quite a number of musicians who became famous went through the CCS ranks, just as many went through the Yardbirds and became mega icons.
After Hyde Park I never saw another pop group live until 4 or 5 years, though my collection of vinyls grew to over 250 LPs. A couple of friends suggested that my wife and I should go with them to see the Shadows at the Mayflower in Southampton. I'd always loved the Shads and hearing them live and seeing Hank Marvin (who didn't look as though he'd aged a day since the 60's) brought back my early teenager years and memories of happy, semi-innocent days. After that we went to see the Mood Blues (twice), Jools Holland (twice), Elton John (three times), Cliff Richard and The Shadows, Roger Waters (twice in concert and once doing The Wall), Paul McCartney, and a variety of tribute bands (mainly the Aussie Floyd). Each one I went to brought back waves of nostalgia and reminded me of so many past, forgotten events and, of course, girlfriends. Wonderful stuff, nostalgia!

The record industry depends on people like me who are suddenly resurrecting pat memories and more CDs are sold to replace beloved, though scratched vinyl LPs released in the 60s, 70s and 80s. than CDs of modern acts and bands. The CDs I now own aren't as large as the vinyl LPs so they take up less room, but they're nothing like as interesting to look at. It's a fact that record companies and groups used to take a great pride in the presentation of the record sleeve. You only have to look at the Beatles sleeves to see I'm right, and they were some of the less complex ones. Designing the sleeves was an art in its own right and people like Klaus Voorman made their reputation designing jackets and delighted a generation.

Boos, films, videos and records all create a wonderful nostalgia for bygone days, and even words and phrases play their part. Phrases like "'owzabout that, Guys and Gals!" immediately summon up a picture of Jummy Saville from some 3 years ago, and comedians from the 60s all had their catchphrases that remain in the Nation's psyche. Many people (I'm one!) can recite most of Tony Hancock's The Blood Donor and much of some of the Goon Shows. What innocent days! What nostalgia for a time when comedy was genuinely funny and didn't depend on sex, extreme swear words, smut, lavatories and belittling other people.

Oh yes, I remember nostalgia, though as a friend said to me "Youth is wasted on the young and nostalgia is wasted on the old." Personally I'd be happy to have it the other way round!

Blog on, Dudes!

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