Of course, I had had some trouble in elementary school and hated going back after summer vacation. But I had been respected – shut up, youse – and popular. According to a buddy who goes to high school reunions, when he mentions my name, everyone looks quizzical for a minute before responding in unison, “Who?”
Also, in elementary school, we were all in the lower grades. In secondary school there were quite posh, or at least middle-class people. People with roofs on their houses. Some tried to teach me to play chess instead of fitba. It made me long for my old buddies who, if given chess pieces, would have stuck them up their noses and stumbled across the playground shouting “Yaargh!”
I am writing in the wake of an important study commissioned by Schweppes which aims to show that men are more prone to nostalgia than women, particularly when it comes to subjects such as music, television and films, and public figures.
Krystine Batcho, a professor of psychology at Le Moyne College in New York and an expert on nostalgia, said: “Nostalgia can reflect dissatisfaction with the present, and men have often viewed cultural change less positively than women.”
“Many men also feel insecure about what is socially acceptable today, while women are more likely to feel that cultural changes have given them more opportunities for success and greater control over their lives.”
There’s something in there I guess. Although I think nostalgia is older than it lets on. The Romans – male writers – often despised contemporary morés and leaders in comparison to those of a mythical past. And they had nothing to fear from their wives except poisoning.
I think most men these days worry about how to behave and what we can and can’t say. Maybe everything is for the better. But it’s all a little… tense.
As for music, young people, you’ll be amazed at how your teenage music will stay with you for the rest of your life. Even when I was young, I assumed that I would turn to jazz and classical music, and I was right. But I still play mostly rock music from back then.
There’s a lot of good music out there these days. The contemporary band The Blur seems to me to be a worthy successor to the Yon Beatles. However, it took a real downturn a while ago with the doomf-doomf-doomf of the robotic drum. Ironically, the dance killed the music, or at least seriously harmed it.
Politics may have been better in the past when they were less narrow, but decent statesmen still exist. Journalism is in a special place. In the past it challenged the prevailing tropics. Today it defends the ruling tropics. In the past it challenged the present. In the present, it defends the present. It’s disorienting.
There’s a lot of good stuff in TV and film these days. Lately I’ve mostly been watching The Detectorists and Mortimer and Whitehouse: Gone Fishing. Both are based on an underlying sadness, but melancholy has always been the mainspring of laughter.
Unfortunately, I must now draw a conclusion on these weighty or obese – sorry, big-boned – thoughts. It takes time for cultural and sociological material to become “classic”. I hear people praising previous football teams, but I also remember the fans back then complaining that they were rubbish.
Not that everything that is today will also be worshiped in the future. Today’s increasingly intellectually awake tropes—rap music, reality shows, and plain, ugly architecture, for example—will be laughed at or horrified, just as we do today with witch trials, Mao’s Cultural Revolution, and, um, lichen-blob shacks .
That’s my tuppence value. Or Two-Pee as they say these days. Earlier the conclusions were much better.
Your suppah is oot
TWO of the most terrifying things in life are people calling lunch “lunch” and dinner “dinner” or “suppah” as they invariably pronounce it. It was bad enough having to learn to call dinner “lunch” and tea “dinner” without those other, even more snooty, refinements.
Referring to lunch as ‘dinner’ and dinner as ‘tea’ is not just the prerogative of the lower classes of the UK like Scotland. It represents a dividing line between north and south in England, the former being more Scottish in this and other respects.
Newcastle and Liverpool are more like Edinburgh and Glasgow than London and Saffron Walden or whatever.
A study by the University of Lancaster – beautiful place; visited once on the trail of a story about Bonnie Prince Charlie (long story) – revealed the Warwickshire writer William Shakespeare referred to the evening meal as ‘dinner’.
In my opinion, Warwickshire sits on the border between northern and southern England, while Stratford-upon-Avon (the bard’s Hame Toon) sounds distinctly feeble. One must also bear in mind that Shakespeare was often too lax in his use of the English language.
“Just is bad and bad is just.” Is that it? “Is that a chib I’m looking at?” So much nonsense.
Something chivalrous about him
Sir Keir Starmer dislikes being called Sir Keir Starmer, fearing that lower-class people might find the “sir” too posh. He was probably named Keir after Hardie, the Scottish founder of your Labor Party. Fine. But Starmer? Sounds a bit German. He is a distinguished German. More in common with the royals than with the proletariat.
Die without laughing
Laughter can reduce heart disease symptoms, according to a new study. We wonder if it works with fake laughs or over-the-top laughs, as practiced by politicians and radio comedy viewers. Why not try to laugh at this column? come on you can NO? Nothing comes? Well, it’s your funeral.
Comedian Ricky Gervais doesn’t wear underwear. On stage, he wears the controversial garments to avoid “chafing”. But at home he wears shorts or pajama bottoms with no pants. We all know standards are falling in the UK, but this is going too far. Time police paid Ricky a visit and told him to pull up his socks and put on some pants.
It is feared that the real reason Russia, China and the US – and even India – are turning their attention to the moon is not political advantage, but to secure quadrillions of valuable minerals. It’s like the 19th century “Scramble for Africa” again. It’s the new imperialism, but without people to oppress. And Britain is not in the race.
Science is wrong once again. A Stanford University study claims that beer glasses do not make other people more attractive. This is contradicted by strong anecdotal evidence. One lunchtime a mate took me back to a pub where I had (usually) fallen in love with the barmaid the night before. Night and day. I saw two different people in one person.