You should have had a warning. RTE Gold played the music from the late 90s last week. THE LATE 90’S? GOLD? I was a grown man in those years! But with a terrible earring and clothes that didn’t fit. Still, Whigfield was not a “golden era”. That was just the other day.
I am concerned about the casual disregard that time seems to have for my feelings. I’m constantly blinded by ‘surprising fact’ memes that say things like, “It’s been a longer time from now to the release of The Whole of the Moon by the Waterboys than from the fall of the Berlin Wall to the building of the pyramids.”
But nostalgia is no longer what it used to be. It is better. A 17th century medical student coined “nostalgia” to describe the fears of Swiss mercenaries missing their homes. It was considered a medical condition. Kind of melancholy.
The nostalgia I felt in my 30s? That was fake. A way to get the credibility of Cranky Oul Lad ahead of time, to distance myself from the naughty youngsters with their … whatever they had. Clothes that fit or something.
But nostalgia now? Please mail for my 17th century doctor and have him bring in a larger load of leeches. That’s the real deal. I have the black bile.
I found myself drifting into the Facebook groups. Not the ones who say The Vaccine has forks stuck to you. The nice nostalgics. I am now a member of at least ten OLD PHOTOS OF PEOPLE ENJOYING AND NOT STANDING ON THE PHONE LIKE THE YOUNG PEOPLE TODAY online communities.
I’m HUNGRY to see a photo of a SuperSer or an old escort. I mean the car, it’s not a kink.
My soul longs for memories of old linoleum and sincere shots of people in pubs smoking two cigarettes at the same time while teaching the baby to hold their beer. Snapshots of drinkers who look like the cast of The Last of the Summer Wine even though they were in their mid 20s.
And a quick thank you to the administrators of these burgeoning nostalgia groups. Lockdown has seen a surge in membership.
Now a guy who put the group together just to upload photos of a Macra dinner dance has to work his way through off-topic incursions from assault rifle activists, Trumpists, bitcoin scammers, and Elizabeth M. talking about “like me.” lost my husband “a sorceress, but through the power of my pastor I have found peace”.
And all in the comments under a photo of the girls from the Sunbeam factory drinking Satzenbräu during a table quiz.
I joined the 2000AD group. That freed the pent-up time from the missing years of only remembering terrible teenage discos. But it wasn’t all misery.
I read 2000AD, a comic that was the home of Judge Dredd, Slaine, Rogue Trooper, Strontium Dog – some of the best culture of the late 20th century.
My A3 technical drawing folder for school was covered in a picture of a Celtic hero sitting on a mound of dead warriors as if defending my Solids-in-Contact solutions from evil raiders. WHAT DID I THOUGHT?
Well, I thought that women who saw me with it on the bus would contact me and invite me to all sorts of filth. I want to swallow my own face with the twitch. But be nice to me too.
Maybe that’s part of the nostalgia. Reaching a bony, wrinkled hand over the web of space-time to that serious comic book reader and telling him he’ll be fine in his forties. Even if a little melancholy.