Friday, 31 January 2014

A Man Who Writes About Nostalgia: Midnight In Paris. More Smallholding Nostalgia.

We watched an excellent film the other night: Midnight In Paris.  The main character: Gil Pender a novelist who is writing a book about a man who works in a 'Nostalgia' shop.  Any road: Gil Pender goes to Paris and ends up time travelling back to the 1920' and meets  some very famous writers and artists(Cole Porter, Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein and Pablo Picasso), like you do.  Every night at 12 O'clock.  A 1920's Peugeot 176 turns up and the party begins.

A recurring theme in the film is nostalgia.  Here's a memorable quote:

"Nostalgia is denial - denial of the painful present... the name for this denial is golden thinking - the erroneous notion that a different period is better than the one one's living in.  It's a flaw in the romantic imagination of those people who find it difficult to cope with the present. "

Hmm...?  What do you think about nostalgia?

Another great quote from the film from Gertrude Stein:

"We all fear death and question our place in the universe.  The artists job is not to succumb to despair, but to find an antidote for the emptiness of existence."

Congratulations to Woody Allen for such an excellent film.

Any road.  Shall we have a journey to meet our famous writers?  Like Rob Brydon says:

"It;s only a bit of fun.!"

Who would I like to have met?  Wilfred Owen, Thomas Hardy.  The Brontes - especially Branwell, Keith Waterhouse, DH Lawrence, Peter Tinniswood, James Herriott, John Seymour, CS Lewis, Hmm...?  Who else?  RS Thomas, Arthur Conan Doyle, Yeats, James Herbert, H.E Bates....  The list is endless.  What about you?

I often look out of my window overlooking the bay and feel like I live in a beautiful oil painting.  Remembering the days when we use to visit my grandparents farm and go hay making with the horse and cart, run about in the field full of vegetables, trying to sprinkle salt on rabbits tails and milking the cows by hand. My mum and dad were still relatively young and we had all our lives to hope one day we would live here.  Wish I could go back to those days.  Think that's why I like vintage tractors and old time farming,  There's nothing wrong with nostalgia, is there?


  1. I sometimes think that nostalgia isn't what it used to be......

    But I certainly would like to live in a simpler time in a slower more innocent world. As for people I'd like to meet? Not so much writers or artists more like the hands on type...Darwin, Wallace, Cook, Nelson, Scott, Edmondson etc....oh and Elvis.

  2. Hello John.Thanks for that. I Some times think I would have liked to have lived in Thomas Hardy's Wessex. Don't think I would have like to have been a peasant tenant farmer though. No a gentry farmer would probably of suit me.

    Yes Elvis would be great to meet. I also admire Donald Campbell and other great British heroes. William Blake is another great hero of mine. I think he would have a blog if he was around today.


  3. James Herriot and John Seymour, I'd have loved to have met either of them. I believe there's a James Herriot "museum" at Thirsk, maybe I'll even get to visit it one day, can't meet the man but might be an experience to see his place of work.
    And perhaps William Cobbet would have been an interesting character to talk to.

    I know nostalgia tends to dwell on all the good memories, I'm sure it wasn't all milk and honey, but I must admit times seemed happier then, if a lot poorer, and the hard work seemed to be balanced with more play, people seemed more important than machines and money. Trying to sprinkle salt on a rabbits tail was a Cumbrian occupation as well, that's when there was a few more rabbits about. And shoving butter up a pigs arse was another local past-time, don't know if Ireland has that one?

    Looking out at the oil painting's getting harder to do, a lot of our area is dominated by wind-mills, they've even got them on top of some of the fells and in the middle of the Solway Firth. I know some of the old windmills are picturesque, bur ours are the huge modern metal monsters that take over the landscape (and seascape)

    Back to normal today, gales and rain, but strangely perhaps, the river's still in its banks. Seem to be getting a lot of North and East winds this year, very unusual.

    Raggy cat still curled up in front of fire, hasn't moved for hours, didn't even stir when I served fish and chips, it usually comes to investigate dinner, doesn't like to miss anything.

  4. Catching Leprechauns with a butterfly net was another one we use to try. Wasn't James Herriot called Jim Wight? I believe that it was originally set in the 1960's and some editor or television producer decided 'All Creatures' looked far more apt in a nineteen thirties setting. We keep saying we would love to buy one of those old Austin cars. I think the road tax is only about fifty pounds a year. Another favourite of mine was 'The Citadel.' The Darling Buds of May is another one. Oh yeah: "Pennies From Heaven' by Dennis Potter.

    John Seymour is the self sufficiency guru. Think he got his inspiration from Cobbet and Thoreau.

    A neighbours mother use to say to him when he was young:

    "Be poor and be happy."

    I think rural lives were hard but very happy and people shared what ever they had. So much different to the modern estate where nobody speaks to their next door neighbour.

    I am not sure about the wind mills, Cumbrian. They seem to be popping up all over rural Ireland. I prefer them to nuclear. Think a lot of them could be out to sea. I also don't like pylons and electricity and telephone wires. They should be all underground. Especially in coastal areas prone to storms. Supposed to be getting another bad one tonight. They sat the floods in England are the worst since 1910. I think most rural areas have no infrastructure or a very poor one at best. Rivers haven't been dredged for years.

    Hope Raggy cat gets it's appetite back. Probably had a midnight feast, hunting last night.

    Thanks for the nostalgia.

  5. Dave! I think the writer you should meet is Laurie Lee (I think you might well be related down the lines!) As for me, I like to have a look at Mervyn Peake, though I'd probably to scaredy cat to meet him. Oh yes and in re the floods - what a bugger, eh? Nothing like that here in London; if we even get a few puddles we're up in arms and calling the council! Oh, and Midnight in Paris was the name of a perfume that my old mum used to use! it had an unusual smell... !!!

  6. Hi Carol, Laurie Lee was an enigma wasn't he? I would love to have lived in 1920's Paris and attempted to meet other writers and write. It looks such a romantic and inteeligent place where people's thoughts and feelings were more important than the world we live in today. I suppose that's why there are over 126 million people who write blogs. We want to be loved and express ourselves through our words and pictures. Some people are even talented enough to do it through music.

    I really miss 1970's television and the rock music of the time. Wouldn't it be great to go through a rock time portal back to the Marquee or the Rainbow theatre and see all those great bands again? I have seen some good one's like Thin Lizzy, ELP, Jethro Tull , All About Eve.. I saw Roger Waters last year in Warsaw - awesome!

    Keep making us laugh, Carol. Great blog


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