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Monday 1 August 2011

Nostalgia is for Old People

The date stamp on the draft of this post says 8th June, so let's just pretend this post is inspired by recent events and gloss over the fact I've been meaning to write it for nearly two months and failed miserably, can we?

Two unrelated events over the past couple of months have got me thinking about nostalgia. Firstly, our half term holiday to the Peak District brought back a flood of familiar names that I remembered from my childhood. There I was, transported back to the age of 12, sitting in the car outside an antiques shop in Buxton while my parents rummaged around and oohed and aahed over "boring old junk". Or maybe thinking back to freezing in a cave with my friend Alison, laughing as the water dripped onto our heads from the stalactites above. Lyme Park hadn't changed much in over 20 years - unless you counted the state of the art playground that now seems de rigueur for any self-respecting tourist attraction.

Driving home after our holiday, we detoured to try and beat the inevitable South Manchester traffic jams, until there they were - the really familiar names from my childhood. Cheadle. Gatley. We passed my old school - the school where I spent only two years, and yet where, if I close my eyes I can still see the crowds of uniformed pupils meandering down the corridors, or smell the fear of going into the girls' toilets in case the older girls were in there smoking.

The day after we came back, myself and a few girlfriends - all now in our 30s and (shhh) 40s - went to a local 80s night, where Limahl (he of Kajagoogoo fame) and various other artistes transported us back to our youth, along with a crowd of other similarly middle-aged people.

I tried explaining all of this to my daughters, whose blank incomprehension finally made me laugh. The thing is, nostalgia is completely lost on the young. Try telling a six year old that there were only 3 television channels and no tv in the mornings when you were young - or that nobody had mobile phones, and music came on giant black discs. The look of withering pity and incomprehension is enough to make you sob into your snakebite and black...

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go and put my legwarmers on.


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