Thursday, 7 July 2011

A few notes, before I post a book review

A friend of mine posted the following recently: Nostalgia: a vehement desire to return home.

I don't know whether they were my friend's own words, or quoted from elsewhere. But, my word, they really hit home - straight away, before I even had the chance to think about them. Properly floored me, because they resonated.

I've always been cynical of at least one strand of nostalgia: the "let's take you back to the 80s" (or 70s/60s etc) variety: the sort that suggests a hermetically-sealed and idealised form of fashion, music, politics, lifestyle. Karaoke nostalgia, as exemplified, say, in the tribute artists who do the rounds playing 80s (or 70s/60s etc) pop in bars across the country.

The kind of thing which debases, to my mind, the very personal and profound nostalgia suggested by the quote at the top of this post. Karaoke nostalgia? Maybe the word karaoke should be subsituted by the word commodified.

Separately - years ago - I remember reading the words of an artist (I don't remember which) talking about photography. He said that photographs are a reminder of death. I found it hard at first to understand his reasoning: after all, photographs can capture the most vibrant and lively moments. His point was that, in capturing a moment, a photograph denotes exactly that: it frames but a fleeting glimpse, a split second in time, gone forever at the point of its rendering. To revisit it - to look at the photograph - is to witness something which is frozen in time, in the increasingly-distant past.

I think the only reason that second point took longer to hit home, was my age at the time. I could be wrong.

But, in terms of the narrative that I may put on to my own existence, there is no contradiction whatsoever between the two points mentioned above.


Zhoen said...

"Nostalgia is deception wrapped in sentiment. Nostalgia is a ghostly lover dressed in a lovely, old-fashioned gown, who beckons you to dance with her, to make love to her… and then she turns into a hideous mummified ghoul who rips your throat out with her teeth and blood gushes and the screaming, my God, the screaming… That is nostalgia."--Dave Campbell

trousers said...

Wow - he doesn't hold back, does he ;). Great description though.