Too Cool for Old School?


So a little puff piece showed up on the BBC news page about a young couple who like vintage stuff. OK so I am perhaps old enough to know that the internet, particularly Twitter, is full of funsponges who can’t just leave other people alone, but the level of bellowing and stomping this story attracted seems… a little bit disproportionate. These two seem harmless and rather sweet, and their comments about preferring an inexpensive, simple wedding and that vintage clothing is often more durable and better made than most modern clothes are quite reasonable. They are not even, at least not according to the article, pushing merch or seeking ‘influencer’ clout for a side hustle (not that there is anything inherently wrong with that, either – a lovely young chap of my acquaintance has not only made himself a decent career via his love of Regency style but remains outspokenly progressive in his content. Check out Pinsent Tailoring if you’re interested…).

It’s possible that some of the negativity is coming from people who have had their feeds overly cluttered by the less sweet and harmless nostalgia that is also doing the rounds: the ‘things were better then’ memes that are heavily contaminated with racism, misogyny and homophobia, or perhaps those who skim read this or can’t remember its rather more balanced view of how the popularity of nostalgia works these days. But some of it seems to be the usual outrage at anyone who doesn’t particularly try to fit in with the ‘normal’ world. It hasn’t changed that much since the 90s, when the huge growth of cable TV meant more and more filler shows were hunting for ‘content’ and would send theirvintage researchers everywhere to seek out ‘interesting’ people… and take the piss out of them. Anyone willing to talk (and sometimes there would be financial incentives) found that they were treated as interesting… but not necessarily treated as *people*. Neither the media presenters, interviewers, researchers etc nor the audience at home were expected to find much in common with those who were set up as, effectively, Weirdo of the Week; real people do not dress unfashionably, seek out unusual food, cars or household decor, nor do they pretend to be someone or something else with their friends.

Yet the question keeps coming back: well, why NOT? What harm does a bit of cosplay or imagination do?

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