what’s your ‘golden age’?

image by merwing✿little dear

I’ve always been a lover of everything vintage. When I was three years old, my grandmother caught me saying a most delightful lil prayer before bed that she would die so that I could inherit her opal and diamond ring. O.K., so in the early ’90s and only a few years old, the ring may not have been all that vintage but I knew that it would be one day and I was onto it. Really. I was. True story. Clever huh? Oh so cute anecdotes aside, I really am an old vintage soul at heart who is forever wishing that she had ‘grown up’ in a different era. One day it’s the ’60s, another it’s the ’50s, today though, it’s the ’20s. And not just any ’20s, but the Paris ’20s.

This flapper-tastic mood I’m in probably has a lot to do with what I did last night…  Last night I indulged in Woody Allen’s latest film Midnight in Paris where a screen writer turned wannabe author jet sets to Paris with his fiancé in search of inspiration for the novel that he’s working on… and boy does he find it. Without giving away too much of the film, let’s just say that he ends up wining, dining and reclining with the finest of the historically fine. Oh I got so envious. The film just wan’t long enough.

While chatting away to one of these ‘fine’, nameless characters, our wannabe author begins to gush about his love of the Parisian ’20s, only to encounter confusion and incomprehension from his new friend who actually exists in the era (watch the trailer / film for an explanation!). How can you possibly think that the ’20s are such a ‘golden age’? she questions him. Surely the 1890s were THE golden age (think Moulin Rouge and can-can dancers), not the ’20s. See where I’m heading with this?  ’20s Paris was his vintage, his ‘golden age’, his wistful I-want-to-live-in-you era because it wasn’t the era that he was in.

So I guess I wonder, how much of my love of everything vintage has to do with the romantic ideation of things that I was never able to purchase / wear / bake / create and how much is a true and genuine love of the object / food / thing itself? I would love to say that my ‘vintage bone’ is a result of the latter but, somehow, I don’t think it is. If I’m being really honest with myself, and with you, I know that it’s just the romantic in me going into overdrive and wanting to wear those rose coloured glasses whenever it can. Which, hey, isn’t so bad at all. A love of the past is like, so much cooler than a love of the future all you Star Trek fans… No?

So, Woody Allen films, death wishes and bad jokes aside, what’s my real ‘golden age’? Which era does my heart skip a little beat over? For me, it’s the late ’50s / early ’60s… and purely for shallow reasons! Of course I’m aware that the main role that a woman played in those days was in the kitchen, and that microwaves were still a few years off… Yes, I know that they didn’t have iPods too… and that cars were the size of boats. I’m aware of the realities of the era, I just choose to ignore them. It’s easier that way. That way I can revel freely in the other, not so pragmatic and muuuuuuuuch more interesting aspects. Like the fuller than full, full dresses – full of life and colour and oomph … and the gloves – that made any woman’s fingers look coveted and slender… and those oh so dee-vine lippy colours – crimson lilac… canary red… paradise pink anyone? Yes please! Need I say any more?

I know that there are people out there who look upon us ‘vintage types’ with disdain, wishing we’d just ‘get with the program’, let go of the past and live in the here and now. Live in today. Well do I have news for them! We ‘vintage types’ are with the program and very much so. After all, what is more 2011 Melbourne than vintage? And I think that’s what good ol’ Woody may have been trying to tell us too. The adventures of my writerly friend weren’t in some parallel universe. Nor did he have to enter a space ship to arrive at them. They were in a city that still exists today (albeit in a slightly older form) and there was no incongruence between past and present. The past was the present.

No, I haven’t taken anything illicit or had a few too many bevies… If you think about it, it actually makes sense. At the end of the day all we have is today but that doesn’t mean our today can’t be a pastiche of yesterday, stuck on top of yesterday’s yesterday and the yesterday before that.

My gut feeling tells me that in fifty years time my grandchildren will look back on today with the same wistful eyes that I look back on my grandmum’s era with. Actually, I’m sure that will happen. Why? Well because we’re humans and, let’s face it, ‘the grass will always be greener’… and I love that because that shows that yes, we are humans but that hey, we’re also creatives and forever searching for something foreign, intriguing and inspiring with which to embellish our present.

I love anything and everything vintage. I love Woody Allen’s new film and I love having my very own ‘golden age’ but… What’s yours? If you could turn back the hands of time, just once, where would you go?

Happy week beginning xx

image by Sacheverelle

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