The Nostalgia Machine – Like

The internet is a vasty, complex, collective nostalgia space. Huge databases (imdb) and sharing sites (YouTube) allow us  to rediscover all those things we loved, loathed and liked Back In The Day: Dragon, SuperTed, the theme song from the Tomorrow People, The Take Aways, Tab!

The Takeaways

We can also keep up to date with those things, people, products we obsess over, in a way fans never could before. Imagine retweeting Charles Dickens on issues of social exclusion and asylum seekers. Imagine what Plato’s Athenian blog would read like. The net takes us places, but imagination takes us further.

I guess what I mean to say is I know more now about the things I remembered I liked, than when I liked them. We all do. Thanks to the interweb, no half-rememberd childhood favourite need go unchecked. This is not a neutral thing. It’s framed by all sorts of cultural, lingual, societal and technological implications I’m too tired to research. But I could, cos I’ve got access to the net.


Cosmic Dust may have made him fly but the net can make him immortal

As a writer, nostalgia is a particularly powerful tool in evoking reader response.  With the internet an accomplice  no more do writers, like ancient map makers, need to leave a blank space on their work, with Here Be Dragons, if they don’t know something.  So, if I write about the 1980s and don’t know Fanta only came in orange back then, then the illusion is breached. But Wikipedia shouldn’t replace  creativity. And everyone is allowed in non-fiction, to be wrong.

Sometimes accuracy should be sacrificed to narrative felicity. Writing, like much of life, is about feeling. Indulge the feeling and fact-check later. And if the net is a memory machine, it’s like the  human brain, an unreliable witness.  So I say, indulge your nostalgia.  Interrogate your sources. Be faithful to the text.

Stuff I rediscovered my love for:

  • Ulysses 31
  • Jesus and Mary Chain
  • The Bluetones
  • David Jason’s amazing voice over work
  • Ursula K LeGuin, Alan Garner, Robert Silverberg
  • Sunny Boys
  • Buffalo Bill
  • Parker Lewis Can’t Lose
  • Educating Marmalade
  • the long career of Bernard Cribbins

What have you rediscovered your love for?

5 thoughts on “The Nostalgia Machine – Like

  1. Hi Rebecca.

    I loved this line: “Indulge the feeling and fact-check later.” I have to remember that because, being such a detail-orientated person, checking facts can get in the way of the creative process. That perfectionist needs to wait patiently until it’s turn has come 🙂

    I’ve rediscovered my love for writing and for mastering writer’s block. It’s a challenge, but when on the other side of it, it’s nothing more than another stepping stone.

  2. Ulysses 31: Epic old-school theme-tune, like Cities of Gold or Around the World in 80 Days. Haunting cartoon; can only every recall the Myth of Sisyphus episode for some reason.

    Ursula K LeGuin: shame Hayao Miyazaki didn’t get Earthsea; it went to his son instead, who did an alright job; still worth watching.

    Funny happening upon this; I was just discussing what costume to wear for an 80s cartoon-character themed party – I hate that sort of thing but I feel obliged to be a sport.

    Fanta has always come in orange: it was comissioned by the Nazis, who wanted an orange drink.

    • Agreed, I think it’s the soundtracks that linger, the Tomorrow People soundtrack haunts me now. And I barely remember the show. My point about Fanta is that now it comes in all colour’s, not just one.

  3. Oh yeah, nostalgia’s a potent drug for me! I found bits and pieces of the first episode of a cartoon I loved as a child (and still seems to stand up well today) called Prehistoric Boy Kum Kum. I looked it up and found out that it was dubbed into english by an Australian cast, something I don’t remember noting when I watched the show as a kid (and I watched it religiously!). Oh, Great Internet, how I love thee! 😛

    Oh, and hey, this is my first visit here. I came over from Davina’s blog. She has excellent taste in blogs, so I’m glad that I checked out yours. 🙂

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