Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Sentimental Fool

I've had some really interesting conversations over the years with people about the past, whether it has ever really been better than the present, why so many people remember what happened fifty years ago but not what happened yesterday. Why your first 18 years drag on like centuries, then suddenly you are in your 50s and wondering where the time went.

Half of my family are sloppy sentimentalists who can sit around, usually after a few drinks, and start getting all maudling about the past and people long gone who they probably never actually liked. Or about places they visited or lived that, at the time, they loathed.

I remember Billy Connolly once talking about longing for the Gorbals. So he went back after years of pining for the place only to realise it was that time of his life he pined for, his childhood and youth, not the physical place. It was actually a real dump.

Some time ago I wrote a story about 'crossing the great divide' and below is how I wrote one of the last paragraphs:
They finished the last dregs of their tea before granddad asked whether Sam wanted to go out through the back door or the front door. It was something Sam had often wondered about and now the time had come, he had no problem making his choice. It was definitely the back door, the very same door granddad had stepped through that first day at work. There was no real choice for Sam, the past reassured him but the future was full of terror and uncertainty, you never knew what lay ahead. But the past was there, it was certain, it comforted and reassured. It had to be the back door, he had made that decision weeks ago when the doctors told him.
But then again, you can't beat a bit of classic Roxy Music. From their album Siren I give you, Sentimental Fool

So occasionally I now pine for Gorton, Glossop, Edmonton, Plumstead and Zamora. But never Nicaragua!

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