An Alphabet Of My Life: N


I have always been a nostalgic person, even when I was quite young. Once life started to become ‘modern’, in the late 1960s, I was only 16, and already looking back to when I was at primary school, spending a lot more time around my family, and living close to the docks in South London.

Once I was in my twenties, and married, I looked back on my teens as my ‘golden years’, before the onset of adulthood and responsibility made me into a different person. I backed this up by having a collection of records from long before I was even born, the dance bands and crooners of the 1920s. I preferred the fashions of those pre-war years too, and often felt I had been born in the wrong decade.

That applied to films too. I was never happier than when watching the musicals of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, or the ‘film-noir’ productions of the late 1930s and 1940s. My favourite architecture was Art Deco, and my favourite painter was Tamara De Lempicka. The singer I listened to more than any other was Al Bowlly, who was killed during the bombing of London in 1941.

By the time I turned 40, I had moved back to the area of London where I grew up, and revelled in the nostalgia that surrounded me, even though the Docklands Developments of the early 1980s had changed parts of it beyond recognition.

During my time as an EMT, I always felt that job was better during the first ten years I did it. Once it became more complex, and the staff more self-important, I would drone on about how much better it had been in the past. I couldn’t shake that feeling, despite being advised by everyone to ‘look forward, not back’.

Once I retired in 2012 and moved away from London, I wallowed in nostalgia on a daily basis. As any regular reader of this blog will know, I not only have a Category that covers nostalgia posts, I write them and publish them all the time. I hasten to add that I am not seeing the past through rose-tinted glasses. I am well-aware of how much harder life was for so many back then, and even more so when I was a child.

But I loved it, and I am not apologising for being nostalgic.

39 thoughts on “An Alphabet Of My Life: N

  1. Never apologize for being nostalgic. You know I am, too. I think it makes me whole, more understanding, and more appreciative of history than most people. Perhaps nostalgia spurred my Jennie Stories. On a small scale, every snack/lunch is a mini-story, like ‘there was no yogurt when I grew up.’ Our children think we grew up in a far better generation, and I think my parents grew up in a far better generation. Nostalgia is history + heart. Best to you, Pete.

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  2. I seem to be watching older movies and big classics more these days and enjoying them even more than before, and yes, I’m also fond of older music. I guess “vintage” these days. It seems you’ve always been ahead of your time, Pete. ♥

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  3. I’m an Art Deco fan, have a huge digital collection of Film Noir, am a sucker for torch songs and standards, in my brief lounge lizard days I could take Moonglow or Over the Rainbow, stretch them out slow and make them last for twenty minutes. Or more. I went through a brief period of nostalgia, more about what happened in the lost years than true nostalgia. Perhaps because, yeah it was great to have too many girlfriends and a cool car but I woke up one day and walked away from that on purpose. And yeah, as a music biz professional I miss certain bands, I revel in the pompous innocent ignorance of the 50s and 60s, the lost 70s, the verbose 80s etc. But there is excitement in what is now as well. The one thing you said that really rings out was before they all got self important. No shit. I might also add nostalgic for back when we, or anyone, could think and act independently – before committees and group think. When we could think on our feet and expect those supposedly backing us up to do the same.

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  4. “Remember when?” I think everyone does this to an extent. In my case the gret change came with the advent of computers. Gradually everything we used to do manually was programmed and all you had to do was press buttons. It took the humanity out of the job. Mostly I remember how certain places were before modern buildings and masses of tourists. I am so glad to have those images still in my mind. Nothing wrong with nostalgia!

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  5. I totally understand that feeling Pete, even though with me, it’s developed as I’ve grown older. I think the period of my life when I felt most ‘at home’ was my late teens & early 20s, when I was at college—I was lucky enough to get a grant, back then, which must have made a difference. Nostalgia can be enjoyable, but I don’t let it get overpowering; you know what they say: “It ain’t what it used to be.” 😉 Cheers, Jon.

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