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Death by Nostalgia

by John Connolly


Now this may seem a strange subject for me write on as I have 200 pair of 30 year old adidas festering in the loft but itís not just the thirst for vintage clobber thatís stoke my ire. The question Iím trying to ask is, what is the accepted length of time between ĎThe Eventí and the ĎThe Nostalgia For The Eventí? The span seems to be getting shorter and shorter each year.


As if to bolster my sentiments, 2005 was officially the year that ran out of ideas. I know Christmas television always encourages retrospection, the two are by and large mutually exclusive, but if you swapped 2005 for 1975, the line up for both BBC and ITV wouldnít have looked much different. I can honestly say that Christmas schedule for 2005 was the worst in living memory. Aside from the usual invasion of American (usual led by HBO) comedies and drama, was there anything worth setting your video or sky plus for in 2005? A handful of admittedly excellent documentaries on BBC (the Russian Godfathers and Patty Hearst docs spring to mind) and the obligatory David Attenborough nature effort were about the only new programmes worth discussing. Letís not even mention reality TV, lest I turn to stone or kill the nearest person to me. Were there any new drama or comedies that made you sit up? Fighting the comedy corner was Ricky Gervaisí Extras, which stood out for itís originality but lacked the punch, as for the rest, they were either second or third series of already flogged to death unfunny formulas or Ďthat fella used to be in the fast show so lets give him a seriesí type of crap.


Onto Film. Once again, 2005 saw a rake of remakes and sequels. In Screen International's December list of the biggest international hits in this period, seven of the top ten were either remakes (War of the Worlds, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) or sequels (Harry Potter, Star Wars, Batman Begins, Meet the Fockers) or, in the most spectacular case, a sequel to a remake: Ocean's 12. At the global box office, the flag of originality was carried by Mr & Mrs Smith (which is loosely based on Prizziís Honour), Hitch and Madagascar, and they might have been fighting for one available place if the remade King Kong and Narnia (already filmed several times for TV) had not been released so late in the year. Some of the remakes were very good. It could be argued that King Kong, although not a box office smash, was a brilliant piece of cinema and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory steered away from the original to an almost gothic adaptation. Looking at next years releases, Hollywood already has slated for 2006: Mission Impossible 3, Basic Instinct 2, Spider-Man 3 and X-Men 3, while the year's pre-ordained blockbuster - The Da Vinci Code - is theoretically new but zeitgeist shite (hello M) that feels like it's been around for years (no pun intended). On the plus side, we have had a raft of films that hark back to the ĎEasy Riders Raging Bullsí era when directors were  kings and gritty realism and substance took precedence over big budget mindless drivel. Films like The Constant Gardener, A History of Violence, The Libertine and the forth coming Munich are all examples of shift in views in the cinema.


Finally fashion. The brand with the three stripes were the first out the blocks to go down the heritage path to make a buck. Others have followed adidas with less success but this hasnít stopped brand after brand jumping on the re-issue bandwagon. Stone Island have recently re-issued a few Ďvintageí items, even working in a worn effect so the garment looks like it actually may be a battered original. While I can accept the re-issue of some sports lines that initially were not intended as timeless fashion statements, there can be no excuses for re-issuing other clothing lines. Of course, anyone with half a brain can understand why these companies will re-issue classic lines of their back catalogue but surely if the companies put more time and effort into bringing new lines onto the market, they would not only entice new customers but also reap the benefits from loyal fans.


Looking at the state of play across board, it's possible to argue that imagination has come to a standstill. It certainly did in 2005, letís hope 2006 takes a break from the quick fix tripe thatís snowballed over the past 10 years into death by nostalgia.

In next months Swine, what happened to Nutty Bars and Toffee Logs? Can you still buy Curly Whurlys?









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