Sunday, December 23

The glory of old stuff

I've never been content living in the here-and-now. As far back as I can remember I dreamed of a different era... lived vicariously through the old objects left behind by others long gone. I had relatives who fuelled the fascination with the bygone, dusty and musty. Uncle Mac, who took my brother and I on memorable rides on the bench seat of his lowline Ford Consul (long after the last one had left Dagenham), slipping from port to starboard as we rumbled around north London's bends; and my grandad Poppa Fleming whose garage smelled of polish and leather and housed the mid-sixties Wolseley that would, at 18, become my post-test wheels.

And now, the best days are spent tinkering with old stuff. Today was one of those rare, crisp, sunny winter days that actually makes you glad to be in England. I played rockabilly to the kids as I made their their lunch (it makes them jump around in their seats; no modern music does.) Then I enjoyed a rare hour picking on my '63 Gretsch and actually worked out the breaks in Hank Harral's 'DJ Blues'... something I've been meaning to do for years.

After that I exposed the Dodge panel to the sunlight and took it on a brisk 20-miler, refreshing the fuel tank, warming the engine and rolling the wheels to avoid lay-up flat spots.

Choose old stuff. It will always make you happy.


WhitelinePsycho said...

Perfect mate, just that.

Anonymous said...

Happy Christmas to you

JPP said...

You should be glad and I know you are! I remember driving to school with bicycle in -38C degrees in Finland :)

Roger Chambers said...

Couldn't agree more Guy....I was talking to someone today about the love of old machinery. When people say why would you want to ride/drive something old.....or build a bike that's a challenge to operate, I just say the difficulty is what it's all about. People are forgetting how to drive...I mean really drive! Most people just operate a vehicle, the art or driving/riding is being lost. I find old things bring so much more pleasure.....Merry Xmas mate.

DanC said...

I do agree with you but I would implore that you aren't too seduced by the merit of "old" stuff. It is 'quality' that we are really looking for; there is a relative abundance of quality in old things compared to the lack thereof in modern tat, but that isn't to say it can't be there. I'm not going to say 'you just have to look for it'; that's bullshit. Most stuff produced in the last 20 years is synthetic plastic crap.

I think we are the type of people entrusted to bring back some of the values that created those old objects and get rid of some of the ones that create the plastic throwaway crap we see so much of today. I think there's a movement towards this way of thinking at the moment and that is why these 'cultures' that you and I are part of at the moment (classic bike culture, craftmanship, handmade, indipendent mags(a necessity), heritage etc) are growing so much at the moment.

I'm only saying this because I think it's dangerous to look to the past too nostalgically, and not think 'what is it i like about these objects?' and 'how can I bring that to the future'. Not that I think you're not doing that anyway.

We are the vanguards.

/end pretentious philosobabble

Thanks for the blog/mag.

Guy@GK said...

Dan, I agree with you, but emotionally I am still drawn to objects that have a past: their quality doesn't come into play.

And I am hopelessly nostalgic. Every day I reminisce about yesterday.