“A prolonged childhood—permitted by industrial society’s current prosperity—redounds merely in a growing number of infantilized adults”
I’ve spent some time one of these weekends chain watching high school themed films on Netflix – you know how it is… You watch a film, you finish it, you are given similar suggestions and you end up getting caught up in a genre. I’ve always enjoyed watching some of these films – who doesn’t love Pretty in Pink or Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? They are fun entertainment and also very stylistically enjoyable – the 80’s soundtracks and fashions always resonate with me as I was a child in that decade. In that sense it is part of my emotional landscape but I think that’s where the common elements end.
I don’t know if I have overdone it this time as I realized that there is a never ending abundance of said themed films. Being European and not having partaken in such rituals as cheerleading or having my own locker but having no doubt also lived through my teenage years in a different context, I established comparisons. The high school period of one’s life is just another part of your life. It is not overly glamourized nor (in the majority of the cases) a life traumatizing experience. It’s just the school you go to, where you hang out with your friends. You get to year 12, you finish and you move on, either to work or go to university, end of story. Certainly it is not the theme for endless film and tv series productions and part of the popular culture as it is in America. (Plus everyone was ugly and badly dressed).
Why does this happen? Why are adults clinging on to that part of their lives? Why this refusal to grow up and grow old? Staying young or with a young appearance is an obsession and the whole popular culture reflects this, particularly in America. I don’t think I am going out on a limb in saying that the American media industry has a lot to answer for when it comes to these matters all over the world. After all, these references have permeated our psyches all our lives because we all watched the same movies or tv series, no matter where we were when we were younger. Even when we know in our head that it is not right, we end up feeling inadequate in our ageing. You’re not a 20 something anymore? How dare you show your face in a concert or a club? How dare you wear something conspicuous? You put on a couple of pounds? You better lose them! You smile too much and it’s giving you wrinkles? Go buy a load of cosmetics to hide it and get surgery and botox if you can afford it. You feel sexy? Don’t be silly woman! This affects us women more than anyone else.
I’m not saying anything new here, I am aware of that. The whole fashion industry and culture is rigged to value only youth and youth alone. There are a few glimpses of change here and there (as shown on this brilliant article from the New York Times Why your Granpa is cooler than you, the success of Ari Seth Cohen’s blog Advanced Style or even Vogoff, where yours truly has been featured) but there is still a lot to be done. I’m not even that old but I can already see where this is headed and trust me, we are all going to end up in the same place – Old Timer Land. It is not healthy to be fixated on an aspect of your life. Life has to be lived in the present – who wants to go back to being an acne riddled teenager anyway?
It is about time we are not only body positive but also age positive – after all, we spend most of our lives being… old.
(What I wore in this photo: Skirt – H&M via Ebay, Boots – Dr Martens, Scarf – El Corte Ingles, Head Bow – H&M, Jumper– ASOS)
My friend Bruno recently took on the task of scanning all sorts of photos he had taken back in the 90’s. (he runs a photography blog that can be found here). Among other types, these are photos of the bands with which he was involved, of bands of some of our friends and the shows we used to go to back then. Much to my surprise I was tagged on one of them on Facebook and it got me to reminiscing about those times. It shows me and some friends and we were watching one of our friend’s bands play, I don’t remember exactly which one but I remember the venue which it is now a Jazz Club.
I was probably 18 or 19 in that photo, surely no more than 20, wearing my home made Porno for Pyros t-shirt, the usual men’s hoodie jacket and probably some vintage trousers from the 70’s (see, I was doing vintage before it was hip- used to raid my grandma and my dad’s old clothes closets or the flea market and we just called it ‘old clothes’). Oh God, to think about the fugly clothes from the 90’s, the sporty style, the tight tees for men, eeek! I probably wouldn’t be caught dead today wearing some of the stuff I wore back then.
Apart from the inevitable stylistic considerations, I remembered how much fun it used to be, to go to our friend’s shows, to hang out with mostly art students (me and my friends were studying design or something else art related). It was good fun to be surrounded by creative people all the time, as we sort of fed off each other, planning events, zines and whatever else one can think of that silly art school students do. It made me realize how much I miss having a creative group of friends with which to engage in creative activities with. All in all a good time, a simpler time with less worries, with hopes of a bright future ahead.
If you enjoy indie music from the 90’s, keep reading!
Some of the bands we used to hang out with were pretty good and made it (in Portugal, but still made it, on our scale). The ones that became the most famous were Pinhead Society and later Gomo and Rollana Beat. There were a few more bands that were also good but didn’t get as well known: My Best Nose, Velveteen, Tom’s Goblin, to name a few from the top of my head. We divided our time between Lisbon and Caldas da Rainha and it was a very exciting time to be around, as it seems that the quality of the music being produced was actually good. If you don’t believe me, click on the links and hear it for yourself.
To complete the nostalgia experience, here is the song list of things I used to listen to at the time:
Touch Me I’m Sick – Mudhoney
Hurdy Gurdy Man – Butthole Surfers
Only in 3’s – The Breeders
Silver Rocket- Sonic Youth
Addicted To Love – Ciccone Youth
Bruise Violet – Babes in Toyland
Bone Machine – Pixies
Brassneck – The Wedding Present
Penny Royal Tea – Nirvana
Smashing pumpkins – Perfect
I Heard Ramona Sing – Frank Black
How Soon is Now – Morrissey
What are you most nostalgic about? xx
(Don’t forget to follow Bruno’s blog for updates on photography from his travels and cinema sets he’s worked at).
Hello, nice to meet you!
Hello the Mushroom is a blogger turned urban artist. Check out Instagram at @hellothemushroom for frequent updates on artistic endeavours and adventures!