Tag Archives: society

Old Fashioned Statement

Hello, you absolute delight of a human being!  How’s your Tuesday going so far?

Everybody’s a bit of a sucker for nostalgia, aren’t they?  We can all get a bit misty-eyed thinking about the past, whether it’s an event from childhood or a night out from last week.  Even if we weren’t actually around for them, we think very fondly of times gone by.  (For example, I would love to have been running around with the beautiful and damned darlings of the inter-war era, tearing up London with a cut-glass accent and wearing devastating dresses.  I was born a mere eighty-nine years too late to be part of that crew.  So close.)  

Times change and people change with them.  Technology, education, culture, language (and basically everything else you can think of) all transform unrecognisably in a few short years.  In general this progress is an excellent thing, but have we left anything of value behind?  Have the fads of fashion left us bereft?  Aren’t there traditions and ideas which might benefit us in the present day?  We can’t ask Doc Brown for a lift to the past, but here are a few old-fashioned practices I think we ought to resurrect:

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  • Wearing Hats

The first thing I should say about this one is that most hats don’t suit me, and yet I think we ought to bring them back as standard clothing items.  Hats add a level of respect and formality to greetings.  For example: men tipping their hats to ladies, which is just a nice greeting, or people removing their hats as a sign of respect when they enter someone’s home.  Hats also have the Sunglasses Effect – which I explained in this post – everyone looks dashing in the right hat.  (It’s just unfortunate for me that my ‘right hat’ is basically a bonnet.  Whatever, I can deal with that.)  When society wore hats all the time we all just looked a lot smarter and cooler, in my humble opinion.

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  • Writing Letters

We don’t really need letters anymore, if we’re honest.  Emails and Facebook messages can take forever if you’ve got a lot to say, texting is very straightforward and, if you’re feeling super old-fashioned, you can always pick up your mobile cellular telephonic device and give someone a ring.  We should bring letter-writing back for two reasons: firstly, the time it takes to hand-write and the money it costs to post letters shows a level of courtesy and attention which means much more than simply pressing “send”.  Secondly, if we can’t use a backspace key then we might think more carefully about what we say and how we say it.  If you want to make someone feel special, send them a letter.

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  • Dancing

You know when you’re watching a period drama or something similar, and everyone starts dancing in a very complicated-looking pattern without a second’s hesitation?  Someone from the sofa always says “but how do they all know the steps?”  Because that was a massive part of British culture in the Regency period, basically.  All children were brought up learning dozens of dance steps, because dancing was where it was at.  Flirting, favour, showing off how ‘accomplished’ you were, making friends, spurning enemies and holding pleasant conversation all happened on the dance floor of Austen’s time, and all of that social exertion was accompanied by lightly beneficial physical exercise.  Why don’t we do that anymore?  What a brilliant way to bring people together for a boogie, without resorting to deafeningly loud music and Jägerbombs.  

There are loads of other brilliant old-fashioned things that we could bring back if we wanted to.  For instance, I have a friend who always wears a pocket watch, and another who favours the cigarette holder.  This insanely talented friend even makes vintage clothing.  Whatever it may be, I hope that something from the past makes your present day life more enjoyable.  

I’m off to buy a bonnet.  Have a gorgeous day.

 

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5 Things It’s Actually Ok to Do

spaced

Hello, and welcome to Thursday!  Do come in.  Don’t worry about taking your shoes off or anything.

We live, as I’m sure you already know, in a society that is almost entirely based on rules and regulations: please stand on the right, do not feed the pigeons, and don’t mention the war.  I have come to the conclusion that there are certain behaviours which we shun theoretically, but which in practice are actually completely ok to do.  Here are a few things that society might frown upon, but we as individuals should embrace:

1) It’s ok to be the mad people laughing on a train

Last night, my house mate and I found ourselves travelling home via the Northern Line, and a slightly bizarre conversation took place:

Train announcement: “This train terminates at High Barnet.”
Ash (turning to me): “YOU terminate at High Barnet!”
Me: “It’s true.  I do.”
Ash: “Every day!”
Me: “I know.”
Ash: “Always terminating at High Barnet!”
Me: “Except for that one time when I terminated at Edgware.  That was weird.”

As you can tell, Ash and I are not prone to sensible discussion.  This silly little interchange had us laughing like drains for much longer than was decent or necessary, and we were unquestionably the crazy (and I dare say annoying) people in our tube carriage.

2) It’s ok to stay in on a Saturday night

There’s always something to go to, isn’t there?  Friends’ birthdays, colleagues’ leaving drinks, pub quizzes, house-warming parties etc. all claim our time and livers, weekend after weekend.  But we are allowed to say “no”.  We are allowed to stay home, get into our pyjamas at 7pm and watch rubbish television until bedtime.  We’ve earned it.  I’m not suggesting that we become hermits, but I think that a quiet night in every so often can do us the world of good.

3) It’s ok to talk about stuff you find fascinating

I am, as I’m sure my friends will tell you, full of absolutely useless information.  I am also prone to “geeking out” (i.e. rambling) about topics that intrigue me, and I tend to enjoy spending time with people who are similarly verbose about their interests.  Even if we might sometimes get carried away, or not find an audience who share our keen enthusiasm, it is absolutely alright to talk about stuff that you are interested in.  After all, your interests a massive part of who you are, and people LOVE who you are.

4) It’s ok to be angry with someone

Again, I’m not condoning socially unacceptable behaviour: throwing stuff and yelling is probably stretching this one a bit far.  What I mean is, it’s alright to go through the feeling of anger about a person or a situation.  Stuff happens and people hurt us sometimes.  That sucks.  But if we repress the perfectly natural reaction (i.e. anger), then we are dismissing an emotion that has a valid place in our psyches.  Let’s be realistic: find a friend, have a rant, eat a lot of cheese and wait for your anger to subside.

5) It’s ok to not get current trends

What the hell is with the backwards cap coming back into fashion?  Why do people like Wagamama so much?  What is the big deal about Game of Thrones?  It’s totally ok not to be engaged with things that are apparently sweeping the world/nation/your social group.  You’re an individual, and if you don’t like something that’s popular with your peers, it doesn’t say anything negative about you.  You’ve just got your own style.

I decided to compile this list because I think we worry far too much about what other people think of us, especially strangers whom we pass in public, or friends who know us well enough to love us regardless of our idiosyncrasies.  The whole point of life (surely) is to enjoy it and do our best in it, and if we are spending time worrying about the opinions of others, that is time we are wasting.  We could be spending that time singing at the top of our lungs even though we can’t hold a tune, or watching terrible 90s sitcoms because we’re feeling a bit nostalgic.

Bearing that in mind, go and have a brilliant Thursday.  If anyone needs me, I will probably be boring one of my colleagues with Spaced trivia.

Stuff That Should Be a Thing

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Good morning dear reader!  How was your weekend?  Well, don’t be sad because it’s over, be glad because it happened. (Nothing like a trite piece of advice to kick off your Monday, is there?)

As you can probably tell from this blog’s ridiculous title, today I am in one of my “if I ruled the world” moods, and I have come up with a few small ways to improve our day-to-day lives.  Here is a list of stuff that should be a thing in modern society:

  • Flowers should not wilt.  (I realise that this is a biological issue rather than a social one, by the way, but I still think it sucks.)  It’s just so depressing to be given a beautiful bouquet of colour and fragrance that you know will gradually fade into brown, dead stalks.  What else can so clearly demonstrate society’s bleak view of the transient nature of romantic relationships?  “Here is something pretty to show how much I like you…for now.”  Far too ominous an undertone for my liking, frankly.  Stick to jewellery.
  • Upon entry to the UK, tourists should be given a brief but firm tutorial on how to use public transport in this country, because those “stand on the right” signs are clearly not having any effect.  I’ll do it myself if that’s what it takes.  Bring me a whiteboard and some fancy pens; I’ll be all over it.  There’ll be proper diagrams and everything, you just watch.
  • The tax system ought to work like karma does., i.e. higher taxes for bigger asshats.  I have no idea how practical or easy to monitor that would be, but I like the sound of it.  Domestic abusers, murderers and Nigel Farage should definitely be paying more tax than I do.  (Not you, obviously.  You’re lovely.)
  • The elderly should be allocated sections of cities (not so that we can get rid of them or anything – hear me out).  We have Chinatowns, Sohos and Little Italys, which is great, but why are we limiting ourselves to geographical divisions?  Elderly people sometimes feel out of touch with the modern world, (as do I, to be perfectly honest) and they should have their own place where stuff is exactly how they remember it from their youths: the same clothing shops, the same food places and the same movies showing in cinemas.  Let them have somewhere to go where they can be nostalgic (and get away from the tourists who stand on the left).
  • Speaking of nostalgia, I really, really wish that it was still the convention for people to wear hats all of the time.  I don’t even suit hats, but I think it would be awesome to bring that back.
  • No more ice-cream van music.  Those eerie tunes are the least child-friendly thing I’ve ever heard.

I hope you have the kind of Monday that makes you feel like this.

Stuff We Are Apparently Too Young For

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Good morning, dear reader.  Are those shoes new?  They look ace.

First of all, I’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has contacted me to tell me how much they enjoy reading this blog.  I am truly touched by the support I’ve received, and I hope that future posts will prove equally entertaining.  One of the posts that I’ve received most praise for is this one about stuff my generation is too old to do, so I’ve decided to try the opposite approach and talk about things that people in their twenties are supposedly too young to do.  (And yes, I know I’ve stolen the idea from an episode of How I Met Your Mother.)  I think that this list might cause a bit more controversy, because I know for a fact that my friends do some or all of these things, but this list is according to society’s expectations of our generation more than our actual preferences.  I personally think that most of these are fine for us to do, but apparently I’m just old before my time.

1) Go to bed before 9pm

As recently as 2011 I regularly stayed up talking nonsense with my friends until the unsociable hours of the morning, but these days I can rarely stay awake past pumpkin-transformation time.  Occasionally a night out will go on too long and I will accidentally see the sun rise, but in general my attitude seems to have done a complete one eighty since childhood.  Fifteen years ago, I would rage against the injustice of being sent to bed before 9pm.  Present day, I grumble morosely if my social life obliges me to be out of the house after 9pm.  I think I’m still tired after fours years of being a Drama student.

2) Wear slippers

Between the Spiderman/Thomas the Tank Engine/Bagpuss footwear phase of early childhood and the fluffy shufflers of old age, there is no socially acceptable footwear for those of us who like to keep our feet toasty while we potter around the house.  But d’you know what?  Socially acceptable be damned: I wear slipper socks most days and very few people have to see them.  I’m wearing my favourite pair right now, in fact.  They’re pink and stripy.  Take that, society.

3) Have a mortgage

According to high-up financial people (i.e. the ones who lost all of our money in the recession), a quarter of people under the age of thirty live with their parents, and practically nobody in that age group can afford a mortgage.  There’s also an argument to stay “free”, i.e. not tie ourselves down to long-term responsibilities, but actually this should come down to the individual’s preferences.  Some people my age are still going travelling, and some are married with children.  I personally am not ready for a mortgage, but I have friends who are and I am proud of them.  Why shouldn’t they invest in their future just because some people their age are backpacking around Thailand?  Why do we all have to be the same?

4) Play Bingo

Apparently this is an old person’s game, but I know a lot of people my age who enjoy it.  Actually, I quite fancy having a go myself.  That might be because I’m secretly hoping that it will be like the scene in The Mighty Boosh when Richard Ayoade and Noel Fielding turn up, but I’m sure it’s a fun game on its own.

5) Utter the phrase “Back in my day…”

This also applies to “When I was young…” and “Back in the good old days…”  These days we speak of are not that long ago, but I don’t have to be an old lady to know that my youth was better than the present day: children were better behaved, reality television didn’t exist and social media hadn’t ruined the art of conversation.  Obviously there are things that I quite like about the modern world: the internet is pretty handy, tolerance for different ethnic groups is better and at my age I can eat whatever I want for dinner.  (I eat vegetables Mum, don’t worry.)

I think that most adults are a secret combination of childish wishes and elderly habits; nobody my age is a straightforward grown-up.  There’s nothing to be ashamed of, though: I’m sure that the people who expect us to be taking drugs every night, renting trendy flats and eating instant noodles secretly miss owning Batman slippers.

Have a glorious Wednesday