Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Looking back No. 1

click photo to enlarge
Nostalgia isn't what it used to be - it's much worse!

Two of the principal culprits for the current obsession with looking over our shoulders at the past are multi-channel television and the internet. In theory the more TV channels you have, the more choice you have, and the better quality viewing you experience. In practice the expanded air time is filled with repeats of recent programmes or re-runs of ancient ones, because it costs so much less. The internet, via the likes of YouTube and fan sites, enable the nostalgic to indulge the most obscure tastes in music, comedy or drama. You like Bagpuss - there he is, Mouseorgan and all. The Goon Show - easy to find. Obscure and not-so-obscure 1960s rock groups abound, and on the back of this new exposure polish their Zimmer frames and hit the road again. Not so long deceased pop groups are revived after ever shorter periods out of the public eye - was it only 10 years ago that the Spice Girls and Take That were assaulting our ears with their vacuous ditties, and why are they doing it again? Oh yes, the money!

There is an upside to the ready availability of the past. It means you can find a better alternative to today's offerings! A while ago, when the evening's TV offered little but reality twaddle, I discovered the Pogues' excellent version of the Ewan MacColl song, "Dirty Old Town" on YouTube - a Salford man's piece from 1956, covered by an Irish band in 1985, and introduced to me in 2007! But this recycling of the past also means that the current producers of popular culture don't have to try as hard. If pop songs and TV shows are no longer the disposable fodder that we once thought them to be, then there's no need to make as much new stuff, and it doesn't have to be as good - because it can easily be leavened with sprinklings of yesteryear's output.

All of which leads me to this photograph that I took at the end of September. I was looking back through the images that I took during my absence from blogging and this photograph of St Andrew's church at Sempringham, Lincolnshire, caught my eye. This building is the only above-ground remains of Sempringham Priory, the monastery where, around 1130, St Gilbert started the sole English-founded monastic order, the Gilbertines. The order was unique in admitting both men and women, and, far from ensuring its popularity, this fact may have accounted for its relatively poor acceptance!

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 11mm (22mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/500
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -0.3EV
Image Stabilisation: Off