I know it’s a cliche to talk about hiding behind the couch in terror when you were a kid but I remember literally doing that during the skeleton fight scene in Jason & The Argonauts when it was on the telly at my Gran’s house one Christmas.
But the giant statue was my favourite bit, and I still think it’s impressive.
When all human knowledge and culture of the past — from the epochal to the hopelessly trivial — is catalogued for instant call-up at the click of a mouse button it’s almost impossible to forget anything. In the probable future when our brains are literally hard-wired into the web you won’t even need a mouse or keyboard, your subconscious will do a Google search so quickly you’ll “know” something a nanosecond before you’re even aware that you’d forgotten about it. In this world we’re all trivia experts and pub arguments end in the time it takes for someone to whip out their iPhone.
The internet makes it a lot easier to literally own the past too. It used to take a JR Hartley-esque effort to find but now everything that previously only existed in your foggy memory is there for instant purchase in a vast nostalgia marketplace. I know I’m not the only one who’s used eBay to buy lost items from my youth — records, magazines, Whizzer and Chips annuals — but I find the pleasure of winning an auction doesn’t match up to the thrill of accidentally coming across something in a second-hand record or charity shop because that feels like discovering buried treasure, not something you just Googled. Sadly, the reality rarely matches up to the romanticized image you had in your head either — that old copy of Look-In loses its mystical power the minute you hold it in your hands (or see that old TV show on YouTube) because you have to face the cold, hard truth that it was actually a bit rubbish. Some things are probably best left un-bought and unseen.
So while the internet has enabled nostalgia by allowing us to wallow in every trivial thing we ever enjoyed as kids (and write blogs about it), it’s also killed it a bit by taking away its mystique and that lovely, hazy quality things have when they’re only vaguely half-remembered. But I’m sure that if you’d described the internet to me thirty years ago I’d have said it sounds like the most wonderful thing ever invented.
I’m well past the age when I’m supposed to think modern pop music is rubbish and I do 99% of the time, thinking it’s mostly a narcissistic, autotuned horrorshow. But I’m not ready to move to a retirement home with my Human League and Madness records just yet so I’m very thankful for spunky young pop tarts like Charli XCX for showing me that it’s still worth bothering with.
Charli (aka Charlotte Aitchison) is a 20-year-old Hertfordshire lass who’s been putting out self-penned singles for a couple of years now and she’s just released her debut album True Romance which is stuffed with moody electronic dance-pop that sounds like Britney Spears going through a Goth phase. It’s highly poptastic and warms the cockles of this old man’s heart to know I’m not dead yet.
I used to work for someone who was friends with Richard Jobson so I had a beer with him on a couple of occasions. You’d think he’d be all pretentious, going on about poetry and the Weimar Republic or something, but he was more interested in talking about football.
If Magpie was Blue Peter‘s trendy younger brother then Susan Stranks was the sexy art teacher to Valerie Singleton’s headmistress. She reminded me a lot of my Primary School art teacher Miss Paice who looked like a lanky Mary Quant and taught us how to make tie-dye t-shirts.