Sunday, 26 September 2010

On the Old Days

My friend recently went to a Blitz Party. 1940s fancy dress was compulsory, the venue was a warehouse decked out like an air raid shelter and a swing band played on stage.

Predominantly, I love it. I think it's a great idea. I'm a massive fan of anything retro, vintage or slightly past its sell-by-date. My dream home, in fact, will need to incorporate the following:

  • a phone with a dial instead of buttons,
  • a door-knocker, not a bell.
  • a hatstand
  • a globe

[I'd also like a gramophone, but I understand that, sometimes, practicality must be considered.]

However, part of me felt that maybe it could be slightly bad taste. Is it wrong for people who have grown up in times of relative peace and plenty to go out on the lash dressed as 1940s Londoners who faced hunger, loss and even death?

I swiftly concluded that I was being ridiculous. Who would want to go to a party that accurately depicted the 1940s? An evening of rationing, blackouts and the threat of war does not sound like much of a laugh. But what these parties are doing, in a way, is highlighting the things we miss that their generation had in abundance. A sense of community, for example. Glamour. The ability to get by on what little was available rather than needing everything immediately and paying for it with borrowed money. The music; dancing in pairs rather than sweating out in groups to a bass line that makes your brain ache. They may have had less, and faced dangers that we don't, but they lived.

As I thought about this on my what home, I realised that's the way the world works. Each generation carries its good and its bad to the next. The new generation adapts its inheritance - the fashions, the lifestylyes, the opinions - to fit in with their situation. And I suppose it will be no different for us; our hopes and fears will be carried over and kept, changed or discared as the younger generation sees fit. Perhaps in 50 years they'll do the same for us; a Global Recession Party, dress like bankers and G20 protesters. We're all in it together, I suppose - the women who held the fort in WW2, the bankers who sent the world into economic meltdown and the hipsters of the future, whizzing around on their space bikes and jet packs. We're all involved in a massive struggle, centuries of trial and error, to make the world a better place. I'm off to book tickets for the next Blitz Party. It's not bad taste at all; bad taste would be forgetting.


  1. We have an old timey rotary phone at my house!

  2. Global recession party... I wonder what I would wear to that. Haha.

    I like that you think about stuff a lot.

    Oh and about the creepy dream, tweet me (I meant direct message) your email address. I'll tell you about the dream. I can't even forget about it! But now I kinda know what it meant now.

  3. I'm with you on not forgetting, that's the most important part. Though it may not be accurate, these nostalgic parties etc help us keep the past in mind, and perhaps it can teach us something?

  4. I would love to own a gramophone. I'd use it all day, very lovingly.

    A Blitz party does seem odd to me; I can understand your reservations about it; but I do see your point for holding a Blitz party as well. We go back to decades past cyclically to find some life in it; in fashion, in the objects we make for living; whenever we read literature created or set in that time period; or equally so, in a book or film. A party like this is perhaps trying to do this; imitate a past lifestyle and get some life from that imitation.

  5. I think having parties like that is cool! Having to relived an era without thinking about the bad happenings of that generation but just the good memory and vibe of it is a great party indeed. I would love to attend one.

  6. @ Allison, and @ Paige - no way, I thought they had disappeared. Tell me, is the 9 at the end? So you have to turn the dial all the way round to get to it?

    @ Gnetch - I've been trying to DM but twitter is being nasty to me. To the Global Recession Party, you have to wear EITHER a pin stripe suit and a bowler hat, or dress up like an eco-warrior/tramp.

    @ Alexandra - I think so. Obviously I'm probably reading far too much into it, it's just an excuse to get drunk at the end of the day. But I do think there's something to learn, and at least it makes you think about another era that you might otherwise forget as soon as you stop studying history.

    @ Rachel - I know, right, gramophones should never have faded away. And you make a really good point, I suppose these parties do instil life in something long gone, resurrect it almost, to keep it from by just time past. And I think it works, I mean it makes you think, and reviving old ideas and fashions kind of keeps past era relevant, you know? Am rambling. It's early.

    @ Mish - well you should! If you ever come to London, they're on every month!

  7. I'd love to have a knocker and a hat stand too :D And the Porter from Macbeth gets to be my doorman.

  8. Where the heck did my comment go?

    I wrote out a super long one about this movie I watched as well. Blogger hates me.

    Anyway. it was something along the lines of this:

    I've been thinking about this post for a few days. I thought about it as I watched a couple renact an army officer/damsel left behind dance from the 1920s on so you think you can dance or some show like that. I thought about it on my 8.5 hour flight.

    I thought about it as I watched Glorious 39 on the plane over. (Have you watched it? Interesting. It's with Bill Nighy and Christopher Lee and Julie Christie and some other famous people)

    I don't know what I think. I reckon that parties like these are (as mentioned) celebrating the qualities we don't seem to have anymore. The determination to see through tough times without complaining all the bloody time, the ability to see bigger than ourselves, the ability to foxtrot like nobody's business... to keep that chin up and, keep calm and carry the hell on. I don't think parties like these overlook the importance of the context and the constant pall of horror that hung over those times, I think everything is defined by context... even the things we value about those times we were around for.

    I don't know if that makes any sense, but this had better bloody post this time around. *demanding*

    Also. Global Recession Party? Will we dress as Keynes seeing as he's all the rage now?!

  9. I got your DM. Twitter is being mean to me today as well. It won't let me stalk my celeb crushes!

    Also, I noticed my overuse of the word "now." I should really re-read my comments before I post them.

  10. @ Sweta - I might go into the antiques business. There seems to be a call for it. Are you in?

    @ Risha - yeah, yeah, excuses, excuses! I'm joking. I haven't seen the film but if you recommend it, I'll add to my rental list. I trust you that much. And I'm glad I made you think, and your comment makes perfect sense. I do wish people could keep calm and carry on still. I think that's an ability we've lost. And I do wish I could foxtrot.

    And your idea for the Global Recession Party is so much better than my latest. I would probably go as a piggy bank!

  11. OK, SERIOUSLY. Blogger HATES me.

    I left you a comment saying that I don't know if I'd recommend Glorious 39 as a must watch, rather than just something interesting because I like her hat and the end was stupid but the rest of it was kinda intriguing and David Tennant is in it for like 5 minutes, and Ralph is hot.

    Fuck you, blogger. :( :(

  12. Oh yes,in! in! in!

    BUT,nobody bids on my Porter :D

    @Risha:Blogger is just jealous of its posh cousin,but usually its just kinda dimwitted :P

    Edit:OH,this is GOLD haha the captcha for this comment was *Ourgism*.am I the only one who is childsihly/freakishly amused?