Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.

Ah, the good old days!

It’s a very common term to utter at times when things for said utterer haven’t necessarily changed for the better or a previous time is preferred over current circumstances.

Remember when you didn’t have to lock your door? Ah, the good old days!  Remember when it was less than a pound for a pint? Ah, the good old days! Remember when Freddos were only 10p? Ah, the…actually that wasn’t that long ago!  What I’m trying to work out is if these days were actually good or whether, as is very common, the whole rose-tinted glasses paradigm is being applied. The thing is, being born in the 80s, I don’t remember a time when we didn’t have to lock the door but looking back at TV and film from the Seventies and before, I’m not too surprised. There wasn’t much to nick. The TVs weren’t HD, there was only vinyl and maybe 8-track and even worse, no one wanted to nick a BBC Basic, even with a 7½ inch floppy. What’s more, you can still get a pint for a pound I would imagine from some student dive of a bar if you were so inclined. However, with regards to Freddos, I’d prefer not to discuss this…it’s too painful right now.

You see that’s the thing, ‘the good old days’ are selective. We remember the good bits and chose to forget, or at least ignore the lesser times. You may miss the hands-on feeling you got when you had to wind back in the tape of a cassette with a biro but not the frustration when it was the original cassette 1 of 2Unlimted’s Greatest Hits your brother bought you for Christmas and you’ve wound it back it too quick so the bloody thing has creased and on the verge of snapping. An absolute gem of a pressie too. Thanks Chris. It may be sad to think with the birth of the Internet that we’ll never have to look up something in an encyclopedia ever again; literally feeling the physical weight of knowledge teamed with that all-knowing musk of bound leather, but really…Google’s so handy to settle a disagreement, and not least at the pub quiz. (Isn’t it funny how busy the toilets are when the quiz is on?)

You see I think a hankering for the good old days isn’t necessarily a desire to do away with what we have now, nor is it to negate modern advances in society or even technology. It’s all to do with growing up. The more we live, the more we learn. That is unless you’re an avid Jeremy Kyle viewer. As a direct result we know more than our younger selves did and more than our counterparts did in the generation before us at the age we are now. (My brain hurts!) If we know more, we have more knowledge of what makes us happy but, as is the balance of life, we know of more things that worry us. Sadness is cancerous. It seems to spread quicker and more effectively than happiness. It’s seen as more interesting too, just look at modern journalism. We hear, see and read about scandal each and every day yet very seldom do we witness reports of positive things. It’s like the negative is more sexy, more real. Eastenders showing this example several times a week, with a bumper edition of depression with the Sunday Omnibus. (Do they still do that now that we have the iPlayer et al?)

With this in mind, it means we don’t want to be sad, but it seems that is at the core of who we are. The default is in which we reflect on times gone by. Not sad; melancholy. Nostalgia with feeling. Which can’t feature a big smile because then you’re not doing it right. Not thoughtful enough if you’re happy. In that sense, it means everything we have in the present is under par unless it existed in the exact same way during those days of old, which of course includes nothing. TV has changed, cars have developed, sport has evolved. Even Horlicks has a ‘New & Improved taste’.

BOVRIL! That’s been the same since Shep’s Great Grandmother was a pup. I had a cup the other week when walking along Crosby seafront which took me back to when I was a kid. Since then, Big Mac’s are smaller, Burger King’s chips have gone rubbish and music is just noise, but Bovril. Oh Bovril, thank you for being you. Thanks for staying just the same.

Bovril: the ‘good old days’…but now.



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