Folk nostalgia and ‘generation wuss’

We don’t know about you, but we’re feeling crippled by nostalgia. From Great British Bake Off (hashtag GBBO to its fans) to Keep Calm and Carry On slogans, a longing for the past – specifically a pastoral England that never existed – is everywhere. Culture is riddled by it, and ads are full of it –  we reckon the most hilarious one is this sick advert for Richmond Sausages (put a fork in it, thanks).

Gags about twee advertising have been running for ages, but we’re more interested in how our obsession with nostalgia has affected youth culture and our ability to engage. Cheryl recently went to a talk on ADIDAS’s branding and their decision to focus on reworking vintage classics rather than design new trainers. Any brand appealing to young people must evoke their childhood, the branding expert said. The more you can create a black and white filtered vision of the trusted past, the more likely young people will buy into your product.

The observation is grotesque because it’s so acute: the advertising guys have got our generation nailed. Youth culture is full of inaction and looking back: we are recreating a nursery world where we can stay safe forever. Brett Easton Ellis, one of the key generation X writers, recently called us ‘Generation Wuss’. But it’s a weird time to be alive. To be engaged in the situation we face today means taking responsibility for issues that feel insurmountable, like imminent environmental collapse. So is it any surprise we choose to remain passive as a generation.

That’s why our next 10 minute work in progress for Drunken Nights III will  call on our audience to take action in their lives. With a shot glass or two, we’re going to invite people to become their own hero (like Matthew McConaughey in his own Oscars speech). Share what you always wanted to say, take action by pouring a drink over our heads.

Come along, it’s going to be FUN. And it’s in a PUB!

Drunken Nights III is at the George Tavern on 19 November, 8pm