I think I need to create a new category called Opinionated. Because I am a very opinionated person, and the longer I blog, the more my opinions are clamouring to be expressed. I am a grownup, I have learned that not everyone wants to hear my viewpoint on any given subject, and so I tend to keep schtum unless asked. But you seem like such close friends to me now that opinions can’t help but creep in when we are talking.
I must be honest with you though, I’m a very odd person really. You know these personality tests you can do, where they draw out the information that you prefer peas to carrots, your favourite music decade is the 1970s, you would never go to sleep with your makeup on, and your dream date is Heath Ledger, and from that define you as a fun loving girl with a strong sense of loyalty and a hidden desire for a large family? Well, they never work for me (ok, they don’t really work for anyone, but what I mean is, the answer I would choose is never in the list of options). I expect, if truth be told, that few people fit neatly into a pigeon hole, but I have always seemed to be a misfit. Not in a scary way, just in a slightly uncomfortable way.
I attribute this partially to having been born to older parents. My mum was 43 when she had me, which was positively geriatric back in the 70’s. I was brought up around older people, and could never get along with kids my own age. I spent my childhood and teen years stuck firmly into a book. And I rapidly came to the conclusion that I had simply been born into the wrong decade, in fact, possibly into the wrong century.
At 16 I was deeply into L M Montgomery (still am), and decided to makeover myself as an Edwardian lady. I found a book of historical dress patterns, and my dear mother sewed me a couple of authentic skirts, floor length and pintucked, and some high necked lace and broderie anglaise blouses. I wore my hair in a pompadour bun. I read a rather silly article in this week’s Sunday Times style supplement that advised women who didn’t fit the general idea of beauty to play up their qualities in a historical way, dressing as a Fieldingesque doxy with frizzed hair and rouged cheeks, if necessary. Well the world of the early 1990’s was not that inventive or openminded, and this was long before the vintage clothing trend hit the fashion world and made retro dressing the norm. Still, I was happy.
Later on I was to turn this passion for the olden days into a successful business, with a vintage clothing website. That was huge fun, back in the days when vintage was becoming very trendy, but before the general public had caught on, so that you could find divine 1950’s ball gowns in the fancy dress section of charity shops. Happy days. Luckily for me, I’m blessed with such wonderful friends that they thought my vintage clothes were cool long before the High Street made them everyday wear. And with a shops stock to choose from, I had a revolving vintage wardrobe (although at 5’10, very few items properly fitted me).
Nowadays I’m far too lazy to dress up, but when I do, I’m still most comfortable in vintage inspired clothing. And in the other areas of my life, I’m always drawn to the old fashioned. My cd collection consists of Big Band era standards and classical music (the only radio station I can bear is Classic FM). My favourite books, as I mentioned yesterday, are at least 60 years old. I adore old films, Frank Capra’s work, the Nick & Nora series (oh! I bought some wonderful Nick & Nora snowman sheets today off eBay! But I digress…), anything black and white.
It seems to me that the world has lost its sweetness in the last 50 years. You only have to contrast the difference in humour, for one thing. I do not like the sardonic cruelty that characterises so much of today’s comedy, or its vulgarity either (and yes, I know that using the word vulgar makes me very old fashioned). I don’t like the fact that nothing is sacrosanct, that everything in life is open to scrutiny and mockery. I don’t like the cynicism that I see around me, even though I can understand the reasons for it, and I loathe the lack of good manners in today’s society.
And small things too. Why don’t we have afternoon tea any more? Wouldn’t the world be a nicer place if we all stopped for tea, and bread toasted on a fork in front of a log fire, and buttered crumpets, and macaroons, in the middle of the afternoon? And wouldn’t life be easier if women were allowed to get older, instead of devoting all their time, money, and brain to looking the same age as their grand daughters? And whatever happened to people reading aloud to one another?
I’m not denying that there have been changes for the better in the last few decades, but there have been far more changes for the worst. In my opinion. But I cannot turn the clock back, or transport myself back through time to a gentler age. All I can do is create my own little personal timewarp. In it, I sit in front of a fire, drinking tea and eating freshly baked scones. Chopin tinkles prettily in the background, and a clock ticks steadily. A good whodunnit lays on my lap, and my knitting is by my side. Whatever changes in the world outside, the things I love remain. And maybe one day, I’ll be able to persuade Tony to read Pickwick Papers to me as I knit….