A blank space filled

They're building houses on the field. Not in the field: the field has gone. On it, on the site that it once occupied. For a hundred years, it was a field. Before that, common land perhaps, before the village spread up the hill to encompass it. I don't know. The developers haven't grubbed up hedges … Continue reading A blank space filled

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Here Comes A’body

Visitors flocking to the sleek new V&A in Dundee who opt to explore the city further may, depending on the childhood they had, be bemused by the statues in the city centre. A stout cowboy, striding along the Nethergate and hauling a recalcitrant bulldog, is about to be ambushed by a catapult-wielding adolescent girl. A … Continue reading Here Comes A’body

Meta-nostalgia: “The Beatles Story” by Arthur Ranson & Angus Allan (1981/2018)

This is a follow-up to my previous piece on nostalgia. Not because the world needs any more writing on The Beatles: it really doesn't. The book is a collection of the serialised strips which appeared in Look-In from 1981-1982. There was also a similar strip covering Elvis' rise to fame. I remember them (vaguely) from … Continue reading Meta-nostalgia: “The Beatles Story” by Arthur Ranson & Angus Allan (1981/2018)

1990: summer of cinema

This piece was an unsuccessful competition entry. The brief was "memories of cinema-going". Not for us the spurious joys of cider by the fountain, or Tennent’s behind the hut in the top park. The summer my friends and I turned sixteen we marked this coming-of-age by getting into the cinema to watch 18-rated films. With … Continue reading 1990: summer of cinema

All change: Jan Mark’s “Thunder and Lightnings” (1976)

In my previous post I wrote about nostalgia and the loss of contiguity that can trigger it. There are books, though, that I have always had: every house move has seen them boxed, shifted and unpacked; and, in time, re-read. For these books, each re-reading reveals new aspects: a form of anti- or a-nostalgia. One … Continue reading All change: Jan Mark’s “Thunder and Lightnings” (1976)

The lure, the lie and the lessons of nostalgia

"Proust had a bad memory...The man with a good memory does not remember anything because he does not forget anything." Samuel Beckett, 'Proust' To begin with, the first part of the quote above must look like exceptional contrariness on Beckett's part. Proust's most famous work is, after all, À la recherche du temps perdu (In … Continue reading The lure, the lie and the lessons of nostalgia