The Passion List Podcast | Josh Clack on Nostalgia
Just when you thought Tier 4 couldn't get any more frustrating The Passion List Podcast pops up for another installment! Who knew you two'd be spending your holidays together? This week photographer and Master of Fine Art Josh Clack gathers around the metaphorical fireside to talk about the two sides, positive and negative, of nostalgia. Of course we touch on everything from childhood memories and interests to the use of film stock and, strangely for the second episode in a row, Pokemon. Not only that, but a very festive guest drops by to offer both an intro and an outro to the episode! I wonder who that could be?
he show’s logo and primary image were created by the wonderful Molly Massey, whose work and contact details can be found here.
The smooth, jazz-infused piece is again by the talented Kristen Kenyon, whose music can be found here.
Now I know what you're thinking. 'But George, I'm fed up with using my boring old ears all the time. In fact, I've recently had surgery to remove them in order to make me look more like my Cyberpunk 2077 character and I think I look quite dashing. The only problem is it was a botched job and now I can't hear ANYTHING!' Well bully for you! I just so happen to transcribe every single episode of the podcast so you can't have any excuse to miss out. There will be a test. It has an 80% pass rate. I'm not good at devising exam questions...
Hope You Enjoy! And Merry Christmas!
*Josh does the vocal exercises from High School Musical*
JC: That’s the High School Musical thing…just in case you didn’t realise.
GM: Oh yeah, don’t worry I know. You ready?
JC: Yeah, yeah I’m in the zone now.
GM: Good. Good. Well now you’re in the zone let’s give it a shot – hi Josh.
JC: Hey George.
GM: How’s it going?
JC: It’s good man how are you?
GM: Yeah you know, pretty locked up.
JC: Still locked up!
GM: Oh yeah, holly jolly Christmas! Erm…what is your topic for The Passion List Podcast?
JC: Well today we’re gonna talk about nostalgia. The good and the bads and the fakes and the truths. How it’s just a crazy concept that can be either good or bad depending on how you interpret it in your entire life.
GM: So people probably know it but what is nostalgia?
JC: So nostalgia is like the thought of something that’s already happened that can bring joy or sadness in your life. It’s kind of like the idea of thinking about stuff that’s previously happened in your life or an emotion that’s previously happened and it’s usually linked with something. I can give you like a fuckin’ textbook analysis if you want?
GM: I mean please do.
JC: Please do! ‘Nostalgia is a sentimentality for the past. Typically a period or place with a happy association.’ But then nostalgia can also bring back bad memories for a lot of people who have trauma that don’t want to talk about it.
GM: Yeah that’ll be where the bad nostalgia comes from.
JC: Yeah it’s an underlying problem.
GM: You were talking to me earlier about ‘real’ and ‘fake’ nostalgia, what’s the difference between them?
JC: So at this time where we’re able to consume a lot of different information that wasn’t previously available en-masse when people were growing up, before television and radio and internet so like, before the 70s or 80s mainly when films started growing hugely…
JC: Nobody had this concept of understanding how other people lived in the same period of time as them. So now we have this availability, all these films, books, everything in photos – people now grasp the concept of what was in a film or something and associate it with times in their lives that they should have been living. But in reality, they haven’t experienced the same experiences as that person, it’s just the thought of being involved in that scenario. A big thing of this is ‘coming of age’ films. During the period of time when The Breakfast Club and all that came out-
GM: Yeah the 80s…
JC: Yeah yeah, a lot of people, this is where it started getting written about a lot more because of those coming-of-age films, they became a really big thing. People were being asked about their high school experiences and stuff in America and relating it back to films like The Breakfast Club. When in reality, that stuff never happened to most people that lived there. It became this thing of false nostalgia and people associating their past with other peoples’ pasts that weren’t experiences of their own.
GM: It’s essentially false memories isn’t it? You’re implanting this sense of wholesomeness and a sense of power in this coming-of-age feeling that never actually existed in your life, it just felt like it did because you’ve seen it in films and TV shows.
JC: Yeah because obviously when you’re watching it you get enjoyment and good chemicals in your brain, then you associate that release of chemicals with watching a film and then to your own past, which possibly isn’t actually a part of your life. You could have had a horrible experience and you’re just repressing that memory with this fake memory. But then it brings goodness to your life…brains are so mental.
GM: It’s so strange isn’t it? Because even when you’re pitching a film there’s an unwritten rule that, when you’re pitching a coming-of-age film you have to appeal to the previous generation in terms of the film’s release. So now for example, we’re going to start getting in the next few years coming-of-age films set in the early 2000s.
JC: Yeah we haven’t even got to that part yet have we? The biggest coming-of-age film that’s come out to my interests has been Mid 90s. I was born in 1997 I’m not a 90s kid. I’m on the tail-end of it, but then I’ve got the idea in my head that, not on purpose, some of the things in it are relatable in some way to me. You get the idea of ‘oh that’s how I would have loved to live my childhood’ even though it’s not a fucking good childhood.
GM: Oh yeah he’s got a horrible brother and tonnes of shit…
JC: Yeah yeah, it’s just a mental concept that coming-of-age films – we’ve not even got to the point where they relate to our ages of growing up, yet we can already relate to them so well. In some aspects, at least. We’ve not lived through most of the stuff they go on about.
GM: No, not at all. Do you think Mid 90s in particular appealed to you because as well as the coming-of-age stuff, it also tapped into your interest in skating and things like that?
JC: Oh yeah. 100% man. I just love Jonah Hill too. I just think he’s so sick in everything, he’s probably not many peoples’ favourite person but I just like everything he does. And yeah, I like skating, I like the cast members and when I was watching it I just thought it was sick. I don’t know if everybody likes coming-of-age films, it’s one of those cliché things where it’s just like ‘everybody loves them’ but they’re so good at doing what they do – bringing this fake memory to you. Then you re-live parts of your life through the films.
GM: They give you constant realisations, don’t they? When you’re watching them you’re like ‘oh my god…my life could be this or my life could be better.’ It’s a teenage thing, isn’t it really?
JC: Yeah. But then as well as stuff like that you’ve got the next jump up and, for me when I was a lot younger, I watched a lot of American Pie. I know, whack. It’s just one of those things that were going around my friendship group. Probably 13-14, going up in the ages. I look at that and I go ‘that hasn’t aged well whatsoever’ but it’s still entertaining in some aspects. But if I actually lived my older-teenage years like they did, that’s not something I wanted to do.
JC: But again that’s a coming-of-age film for an older generation in a different period of their lives to some extent it’s just that it’s heavily based around comedy.
GM: Yeah if they all did another reunion film you’d be the first in line.
JC: Oh 100% man. I love that sort of thing.
GM: Apparently the easiest way to advertise to millennials is nostalgia, that’s the primary way to get through to us apparently through advertising, films and TV shows…
JC: Oh yeah, well massive things have come out recently like Sex Education and The End of the F****ing World, all of them are now portraying the look of the early 1980s/90s when really it’s set in the present-
GM: And it’s slightly American…
JC: Yeah because that’s what we’ve all been brought up on – American TV from the 90s. I don’t know about you but when I was younger all the biggest TV shows were like How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory, basically anything on E4. You’d just put that on during the daytime and it was there. It’s not anyone’s idea of a childhood in Britain but everyone loves it.
GM: Do you think it’s dangerous though? If it harkens back to the days that we never actually had, our brains are very good at convincing us that the past is better than the present…
JC: Oh yeah you can repress trauma in that kind of scenario.
GM: Oh so much. So much. Especially now that everyone’s been locked away for the best part of a year. We’re all vicariously living through these teenagers who are apparently in England even though it’s always sunny and it’s beautiful and that whole thing…
JC: Yeah man it makes no sense. You think you live in this outside world but really you’re just trapped inside your house.
JC: My big thing with it is, I don’t know why people just don’t wanna go enjoy their own experiences in life instead of re-living other peoples’ experiences.
GM: There’s safety in it, isn’t there.
JC: Yeah yeah. I mean, this probably needs to be fact checked or something but I have read up on it quite a bit, people who have really high anxiety end up rewatching the same TV shows and films over and over again because they know it’s going to be good and they know exactly what’s going to happen so they don’t have to be scared of anything going bad within it, and if it did they already know what’s going to happen.
GM: Oh I know far too well about that, Josh…
JC: So you find with a lot of kids now, this is gonna sound a bit whack but, a lot of people from [my] generation have started understanding mental health a lot more-
GM: Oh for sure.
JC: And understanding that anxiety and stuff is a real thing that’s happening. And if you look around at some people and think ‘wow they only ever listen to the exact same music, they never branch out, they only ever wanna watch the same type of stuff’, these little things all add up for you not experiencing things for yourself anymore but rather, taking experiences from someone else adds to your joy.
GM: Yeah they reckon nostalgia is more about the feeling than the emotion. That you watch this coming-of-age film and you have this euphoric feeling of wholesomeness – that will be your nostalgia rather than the memory itself.
JC: It’s sentiment isn’t it. If you’re listening to sad music you can separate yourself from it and think ‘wow this is sad and it’s not actually my story’ or you can link it to a part of something that’s happened to you. It’s all about linking memories and then forcing it into a nostalgic box I’d say. I’d say this was a massive thing with Midwest emo and pop-punk.
GM: Oh god yeah. The mid-2000s.
JC: Yeah you get stuff like Modern Baseball and The Story So far and all these emo bands…what they were talking about, hating their home life and stuff, is not your own fault. It’s planted into your head by all of these people-
GM: Not in an insidious way though…
JC: No no no not at all. They probably do hate their hometowns.
GM: Oh definitely, yeah.
JC: People will have the thought and then it will multiply and stuff. Now if you go back and listen to a lot of that music now you’re like ‘damn this is still so good.’ It’s because you’re remembering a time where you tried to be rebellious to some extent.
GM: Oh yeah.
JC: The brain is a mental place.
GM: It’s scary. Everyone has that period of like 6, 7 or 8 years where every song they listen to like that they’re going ‘oh my god this song’s so deep, it’s so about me’ kind of thing. You hold those songs dear for the rest of your life whether you know it or not. At some point, 30 years in the future you will hear that song again and still have those feelings of like ‘I’m an abandoned teenager who never got his worth’ kind of thing.
JC: It’s so relatable. A few months ago now I hadn’t listen to any pop-punk/emo music whatever you want to call it for ages, and then I started listening to Modern Baseball who came up on a random playlist and I had never listened to them before when I was younger. But now it’s like my favourite band and when I listen to it all of these memories of being younger, which I never actually had because I never listened to them, came to me. I still connect everything they say in their songs to stuff that happened to me. But it wasn’t part of me growing up, so why do I now associate them with that?
GM: See it’s films for me. There’s a huge emphasis on nostalgia, especially in horror at the moment. It has to appeal to 80s horror or 90s horror; bring characters or franchises back and reboot them, that kind of thing. In my head I’m like ‘ooh! Oh my god it’s a sequel to Halloween II from the 1980s or whatever’ but then I wasn’t alive in the 80s. I watched Halloween II when I was 16. But I’m still feeling that nostalgia for the 80s that I never lived in.
JC: Yeah, it’s crazy. Obviously I’m not a big fan of horror films but they’re regurgitating and redoing all of them now, aren’t they? Halloween’s just come out again, every year they just bring back another film. Why can’t people just let stuff die and make new stuff?
GM: Some of them are good. The new Halloween’s good and Candyman’s coming out and blah blah blah, but there’s a new Paranormal Activity being made and that’ll come out in 3 or 4 years. By that point, there will be kids who have grown up with the series releasing a new film every year, you know what I mean?
JC: Are they still making them?
GM: No they haven’t made one for five years now.
JC: I was gonna say. I remember 1, 2 and 3. I think I’ve watched 1 and 2.
GM: Yeah there’s 6 of them I think…
JC: How are they still doing the same thing?
GM: Well we don’t know what it’s going to be like, but it’s appealing to that nostalgia isn’t it for those kids who…you know, when you start to go see horror films in the cinema when you’re 15. You go with your mates to see something with jump scares and be edgy.
JC: Yeah see now you’re saying that…Paranormal Activity was like the first scary film that I remember everybody watching at secondary school.
GM: It had good word of mouth.
JC: Yeah yeah, that’s 2007. So that’s 13 years ago and I would’ve been 10. Was I really watching it at 10 years old? I don’t think I was…I remember it going around in secondary school. I don’t even think I was interested in it on first release.
GM: Outside of films, when Pokémon Go came out a couple years back that banked on nostalgia. Hugely. Hell, Pokémon rests on nostalgia.
JC: Oh yeah 100% man. I was looking into this the other day. My first handheld was the Game Boy Colour, not the original Game Boy. Me and my brother both got them. I got Pokémon Yellow and he got Pokémon Red and my stepbrother at the time got Pokémon Blue. We all had it for Christmas. Pokémon Yellow came out in England in 2000. I would have been 3 years old. Why can I remember playing that? Obviously I never had it at 3. Why would my mum give me a Game Boy at 3 years old? That makes no sense in my head, yet I can clearly remember playing it. And I thought I would have got it at release, that sort of thing, but I’m gonna guess that it was years on.
GM: You felt like it was such an important thing to you at the time…
JC: But I don’t think I was 3.
GM: I mean it’s not uncommon to give a 3 year old a handheld games console.
JC: I have no concept of what a child growing up is. I have no idea about anything from birth to when you start walking and talking.
GM: Very few people do. If you did I’d be a bit more worried, Josh.
JC: At 3 years old I don’t believe I was conscious enough to be playing a handheld Pokémon game and understanding it. Could I read at 3?
GM: You couldn’t read Pokémon.
JC: It messes with my head so much when I look at release dates and I can remember doing stuff.
GM: But that’s a thing isn’t it? Your memory isn’t actually your memory it’s just your brain remembering the last time you remembered something.
GM: Which is why memories go missing or memories change or you remember stuff that never actually happened.
JC: Yeah going back to Paranormal Activity…2007? I remember that being a massive thing in secondary school so I would have been like 12 or 13 in order to be able to go to my friend’s house and actually watch it.
GM: Yeah my dad has a very strict one that he adheres to which can’t be true. He had a Mega Drive, you know?
JC: Yeah yeah.
GM: And he says he used to play Sonic the Hedgehog before I was born, when he was little. So I got curious and I look at when Sonic was released… it didn’t come out until the 90s. It was only a couple years before I was born. So he would’ve been with my mum and I said ‘that’s bullshit, you were not a kid playing Sonic the Hedgehog you were a grown adult and you make fun of me for playing games.’
JC: I’m just looking now. The Mega Drive came out in 1988, and was produced until ’97. So if you were born in 1996-
JC: ’95 even, you’re old man.
GM: Well Sonic came out in ’91 or ’92…
JC: So yeah he would have been an adult.
GM: Yeah. This is a fake memory he’s got that he brings up every single time anything Sonic related is in the news. When the film came out he launched into the memory of like ‘oh I used to play this when I was younger’ and I was like ‘no you fucking didn’t.’
JC: ‘Dad this was released in 1991 when you were about 28…’
GM: Do you think franchises that do yearly releases bank purely on nostalgia? Because let’s face it, stuff like Call of Duty banks on everyone remembering playing it through secondary school.
JC: Yeah, 100%
GM: Do you think that’s a negative thing? Technically they advance very little year after year – Fifa-
JC: Oh Fifa makes no sense to me. But we’re both not interested in football very often. But Fifa makes no sense.
GM: Yeah, you could release DLC every year…
JC: Just move the players around. Surely that’s what it is. I don’t know if we’re just getting to this age where we’re realising there’s a lot more we could be doing with our lives instead of sitting down and playing video games, even though they’re a form of escapism and enjoyment but, you can sit down and do so much more stuff. You don’t even have to sit down. You can go outside. It’s such a mental concept innit.
GM: It’s a lot easier to get that endorphin rush from nostalgia from a screen though by just putting a disc in.
GM: Or playing a Youtube video.
JC: It’s very easy escapism. But when I bought Modern Warfare during the first lockdown we went in to, getting back on that with a headset and playing with everybody again in an Xbox Live party…that was good enjoyment. I’ve not had enjoyment like that in years. And now nobody wants to play it so it’s just dead boring again now. You realise that the only thing that brought joy with the game was sitting in an Xbox Live party with your mates. It’s not even necessarily the game that brings the joy it’s having times with your friends. And right now in this world where we’ve all grown up, finished university and moved to different cities, we don’t talk everyday and we don’t hang out everyday. But that enjoyment of being like ‘wow I can be here with six of my mates playing a game all at once online’…it’s mental.
GM: We all have these apps now that tell you ‘on this day so and so happened…’ and it’ll send you a video of a party you were at or a time when you were surrounded by friends and you get that…sadness, a little bit. You know?
JC: Sadness that I’m no longer surrounded by friends.
GM: Yeah that’s the dark side of nostalgia isn’t it.
JC: You can’t live in the past.
JC: You’ve got to always be looking forward to make things better.
GM: Well that’s the things, apparently there’s a thing called ‘anticipatory nostalgia’ right…
GM: Where you feel nostalgia for something that’s still happening now, but you know it’s going to end at some point soon.
JC: But surely that’s just enjoying the moment?
GM: It’s almost preventing you from enjoying it because you’re wallowing in the fact that it’s going to disappear. I did this towards the end of university a lot. I was a downer on nights out, I’d usually at some point turn to someone and go ‘I can’t believe we’re leaving in three months’ and they’d go ‘fuck off!’
JC: Yeah George because that’s just not the outlook you’ve got to have on life! You’ve got to see the positives! You’ve got to be like ‘hell yeah I can enjoy this now.’
GM: There’s a study on it as well, apparently it weakens your relationships as a person and makes your social skills worse because in your head you just kind of dwell on the fact that it’s going to end.
JC: Everything comes to an end.
GM: Yeah so I might as well not bother…
JC: I’ve looked into this a little bit at some point but for my Master’s degree, for people that don’t know – nobody knows, I mean who’s listening to this that knows us?
GM: Millions and millions of people Josh…
JC: True, true…
GM: There’s definitely not 30 people…
JC: 30’s a lot. If 30 people came through the door right now you wouldn’t know what to do with them so be appreciative.
GM: I hate how optimistic you are.
JC: This is what I always think. When people are bummed out going ‘oh I only got 15 likes on this photo…’ if 15 people walked through your door right now and told you that they liked your photo you’d have no idea what to do with yourself.
JC: But yeah, for my Master’s degree I looked into the idea of nostalgia and people living through memories that weren’t their own and like, your experience of someone else’s experience isn’t the same experience as them having an experience. As hard as you try you can’t make their experience your experience. But you can…experience their experience in a way…
JC: I think this is gonna be a massive thing when we grow up, now everybody vlogs and if you go back and watch the start of Youtube vlogs, it’s gonna be the same sort of thing.
GM: It’s scary because now we’ve got it on tap. We can access it whenever we want to.
JC: Do you watch people who don’t make Youtube videos’ old Youtube videos?
GM: Of course, who doesn’t?
JC: Exactly. But every so often you’ll find a Youtube channel that you’ve never watched before and they haven’t uploaded in like, five years so you rewatch all their videos and you’re like ‘wow, this is such a good experience, I wish I had it. But I’m experiencing it now and I didn’t experience it then so am I really experiencing it?’ Everything in your brain has changed to the point where you understand a lot more about the subjects and everything. So you weren’t experiencing it on the same level as they were.
JC: It’s gonna sound so bad but it’s like when you go back and watch old videos or old films now and you realise that certain people are dead or in prison for stuff. You realise you probably shouldn’t enjoy them, but when they came out people enjoyed them because nobody knew about all this stuff-
GM: That was going on in the background, yeah.
JC: Yeah. So should you still enjoy it?
GM: I think you should yeah but I don’t think we should have as much access to it.
JC: It’s just crazy.
GM: We are, technically, the last generation that will have had at least some period of time without the internet.
JC: Yeah. I can remember not having a computer.
GM: Yeah, definitely. Online was like an hour treat thing until I was like 10 or 11.
JC: See, on our computer we weren’t allowed games because games created viruses or slowed down the computer apparently according to my mum back in the day.
GM: How wrong we were…
JC: So the only time I can remember playing games was going to my mate Michael’s house and he was the only one of my friends that I remember growing up that was allowed games on his computer. All in CDs too. The games he mostly played were like…Civilization? Like an Egyptian thing…I think it might have been called Pharaoh? I just googled it, it came out in 1999. But yeah that’s the only thing I can really remember. I live in the moment right now so I’ve got no worries in the world because my life’s going alright and that’s the best way to think about it.
GM: Yeah, do you think that by living in the moment you’re actively creating more nostalgia for your future?
GM: That’s how it works!
JC: But can you create nostalgia? Surely nostalgia’s just good memories? So if you’re purposely going out to create a nostalgic sense of being you’re going to have really obvious tells around you like ‘oh, I only drank that bottle of beer on that one night so whenever I have that bottle of beer I’m going to remember that night because it’s an associating subject that I’ve only done in that one period of time.’ I’m not doing that. I’m just having a good time with my friends doing whatever I want to do because I’m at this period where I’m 23, I have my own money, I live in my own place, I can really just do what I want.
GM: Yeah, it sets you up for failure almost, especially in social situations where you’re so nostalgic for something. Like when everyone gets together I know in my head I’ll constantly be like ‘why doesn’t this feel the same? Why isn’t this as good as that other time that I’m remembering?’
JC: Yeah yeah I get that yeah. We all have times where you go and see your mates and it’s not as good as the last time you saw your mates…but you can just be doing something different, you know? I think you’ve got to appreciate every time you see your mates for different reasons.
GM: But then a couple years later down the line, you’ll remember that time where you thought it was disappointing in the moment but actually it turns out it wasn’t disappointing because it created this new nostalgia that you’re now feeling.
JC: Yeah there’s gonna be parts of everything that you enjoy. Say someone hates their job, you probably do hate your job but there’ll be a part of you that slightly enjoys it and you’ll look back on that job negatively except for that one co-worker. They were enjoyable so maybe I didn’t hate it as much as I thought I did at the time.
GM: They reckon that’s why people who grow up with abuse tend to marry into abusive relationships and things like that.
GM: I mean they’re not seeking out the same thing actively but there’s a subconscious level to it.
JC: Because you’re remembering it as not as bad as it was.
GM: Yeah. If your parents did it then technically it feels normal for your partner to do it.
JC: That’s a bit, bad isn’t it…
GM: We’re in the bad half Josh! We’re talking about bad nostalgia here.
JC: I wouldn’t even call that nostalgia that’s just pure trauma.
GM: Nostalgia used to be classified as a disease, did you know that?
JC: Nah man.
GM: Apparently in 1688 the term ‘nostalgia’ was created as a disease by a Swiss Physician called Johannes Hofer and he said that nostalgia was a deadly disease with no cure and that it mostly affected soldiers. So he was likening it to PTSD a lot.
GM: There was even a Swiss song called Khue-Reyen which caused such strong nostalgia for many members of the public that if you played it in public, it was punishable by death.
JC: But wasn’t this also the period of time when they were giving cocaine to people with headaches?
JC: So how deep can we look into theories from –
GM: And it wasn’t far removed from drowning women for supposed witchcraft.
JC: Yeah, it’s interesting to know what they were thinking back then but man… the developments in learning have come so far. Even in the past 5 years.
GM: We’re never gonna have locked off experiences anymore. Even when I was a kid I remember specific days or holidays where you’d get stuck in a caravan or whatever and nobody really had a phone, no one gave a shit about technology or anything, you weren’t up to date with the news you had to watch the news at 9 o clock in order to gauge anything. You know?
JC: Yeah yeah…I remember being on holiday and the only thing we could do was go see the dodgy man with the car boot to get DVDs.
GM: Oh yeah.
JC: And that was it. In the caravan we didn’t have anything.
GM: Was that nostalgic Josh? Are you nostalgic for that?
JC: Uh…yeah I love Skegness.
GM: Nostalgic memories for you then, can you give us an example maybe?
JC: Oh dear. George, are we talking about good things now?
GM: I mean if you’ve got a bad one I’ll take it?
JC: I don’t have any bad memories George they’re all repressed.
GM: Oh alright then give us a good one.
JC: So during lockdown recently I’ve been getting back into Warhammer. Something I did between the ages of 10 and 14. I’m not able to buy my own stuff so now I can enjoy things that I want to enjoy, that I think I enjoyed when I was a bit younger…it turns out I still enjoy them a lot now.
GM: It sucks when it’s the other way round.
JC: But then you’re like ‘wow nostalgia’s such a powerful thing.’ But am I enjoying it or am I enjoying it just because I think I used to enjoy it?
GM: Judging by the photos I get every day of updates on how far you’ve got with painting something, I’d say you enjoy it.
JC: I do enjoy it. It takes me ages to sit down and be like ‘I’m going to paint today’ but as soon as I do I’m like down for a good few hours. The setting up of doing the activity takes forever though. I’ll put it off for so long and I don’t know why.
GM: It’s linked to the Warhammer though, isn’t it? It’s not something that you remember because of a specific memory.
JC: Yeah I used to go out and play in competitions and paint and do all that stuff, hang out with my friends yet again doing it. So would it be that? Is it the idea that the thing that I’m doing is then linked to hanging out with my friends which I’m nostalgic about because I’m locked up on my own? Or is it giving me some sense of joy? Like, I do really enjoy it…this is the thing. But when you start thinking about how you enjoy stuff it just gets mental.
GM: It’s giving in to the marketing a little bit, but the marketing works because people do wanna re-live those moments.
GM: In an uncynical way…like, I bought old Batman cartoons that I used to watch as a kid because they give me that feeling. And I’m re-watching them and I’m just feeling warm inside. If I watch Bagpuss or something I get that warm feeling.
JC: But do you actually enjoy it George? Or is it nostalgia making you think you enjoy it?
GM: It’s a bit of both. Sometimes I will watch stuff or engage with stuff that wasn’t a part of my childhood and, granted a lot of it is Christmas-themed because I’m a big sucker for Christmas…certain songs come on the radio or I’ll Youtube them just for that little hit of dopamine where I’m like ‘ooooh yeah’ you know?
JC: Yeah. It’s like the Christmas films…Home Alone? Everybody watches that at Christmas. Elf? Everybody watches that at Christmas.
GM: I’m a Muppets’ Christmas Carol guy…
JC: But that didn’t come out when we were kids…
GM: Yeah it did.
JC: Nah fam I remember that as a teenager I swear.
GM: Nope. Let the record show that I’m about to be proven right.
GM: Yep. I grew up with a worn-out video of it.
JC: Did they release a new film when we were teenagers then? 2011?
GM: There was The Muppets in 2011…
JC: Yeah that’s what I’m thinking about.
GM: You know there’s dozens of Muppets movies, right?
JC: I can’t say that I’ve ever been interested in them.
GM: That’s…horrifying because The Muppets are great.
JC: But when you watch The Muppets film, does your dad like it?
GM: No but my dad didn’t like it ever.
JC: This is what I’m trying to say right. If you watch Home Alone or Elf or…what’s the other big Christmas film that comes out every year?
GM: Stuff like A Miracle on 34th Street, A Nightmare Before Christmas…
JC: A Nightmare Before Christmas? No I wouldn’t even say that is even a good one. What I’m trying to say is the good ones appeal to both kids and adults, and you’re at that period of time where you’re a child and you’re enjoying it for certain factors, and then you’re nostalgic for it so you’re like ‘oh yeah let’s watch this every single year’ and when you get to our age and start growing older you’re finding more aspects of those films that you actually enjoy.
GM: Yeah it’s got adult humour in it.
JC: Yeah and it’s stuff like that that’s very well written.
GM: Oh yeah it helps when the films are actually good.
JC: Yeah yeah but it’s this transitional thing where you remember it being so good from your childhood and you re-watch it and go ‘wow there’s so much more to this.’ So when you get older, which age are you gonna remember enjoying it at?
GM: I remember watching Toy Story at a certain age and I started getting jokes that I didn’t get before and being like ‘oh that’s a sex joke!’
JC: So do you enjoy it more now or then? Or are you enjoying it more now because you enjoyed it then?
GM: I think that. Like Toy Story 4 came out and blew me away and I cried because the franchise is as old as me, you know?
JC: Yeah Toy Story is good.
GM: But it’s about nostalgia because it’s about the toys…
JC: Yeah yeah it’s about kid’s toys isn’t it?
GM: The fourth one came out the day I had to leave Lincoln.
JC: Oh no… did you have to wait ages to watch it then?
GM: The moment I got home because I don’t live near a cinema I asked my dad to take me and he said yes.
GM: What else are you nostalgic for, Josh? You were talking to me about film photography and things…
JC: Oh yeah this is a massive dive into my entire life…
GM: Josh is a very good photographer, everyone.
JC: I’m not. It’s a lie. I just take photos every so-often and not even anymore because my life’s become a lie. So recently now you’re seeing so many people shoot movie films on actual film. You see a lot of people taking photos on film. A lot of people who are doing this weren’t practicing this when film was a thing. But they love the look of it and they love the look of everything that was done previously to them. But then it becomes this idea that, if you shoot your stuff on film it’s automatically better because of the look and the sense of thought that is being processed by peoples’ head just because of the medium it’s been done on. For me, I love seeing a film that’s filmed on film. I think it looks so much better, but do I actually? Am I actually enjoying stuff?
GM: Is it just because it’s pristine and it’s more expensive, and it’s more ‘arty’ to shoot something on film.
JC: ‘The grain looks alive in the background’-
GM: But have you seen Knives Out?
GM: Oh, okay. Because that’s shot on digital but they edited it to make it look like film.
JC: Yeah. Well we can go back to Mid 90s, Jonah Hill’s first film so he technically has no real experience shooting stuff properly but that man was alive during the period of time where film was used for movies and whatnot. He’s a lot older than us. But why was his first feature length set in the 90s and filmed on film? But the storytelling would have been exactly the same if it was filmed on digital.
JC: But it’s so much more enjoyable.
GM: But why Josh?
JC: I have no idea. It’s just that false sense of enjoyment because of the painstaking hours this man has put in to record and everything that could have fucking gone wrong with it. Have you seen the video clip of someone who’s got it on VHS? It looks even better.
GM: Yeah, that’s the new trend though. That’s the poison of nostalgia, things are being released on VHS and tape again-
JC: I have a tape player, I have a VHS player…
GM: Yeah I’ve still got all my old tapes. But that doesn’t mean I now want to get more tapes.
JC: This is the thing man, why am I paying so much more for a tape?
GM: In the past month I’ve bought new albums from McFly, Tim Minchin and Gorillaz…three artists who I’ve listened to at various points throughout my life. Old Gorillaz I’ve still got on tape. All three of them had the option to buy the album on tape. Who is that for? I know it’s a collector’s thing most of all…
JC: But have you listened to a new release on tape?
JC: Tape deteriorates the more times you listen to it so it’s more characteristic. You get a lot of hiss, you get a lot of hum and buzzing and stuff. Now if you listen to a modern tape recording tape, it’s clinical to the point where it sounds amazing but you’re still getting those properties from the player. So you’re just like ‘wow this on tape this is a physical format I can get some enjoyment out of.’
GM: A physical thing. That’s the big seller.
JC: Yeah it’s like how vinyl’s such a big thing again. It’s good to see that they’re such a big thing because it’s something that so many people enjoy.
GM: You can actually hold it and touch it, you can go play old ones from the 1960s the exact same way.
JC: Yeah I can hold on to that tape or that vinyl, I can play my nan’s vinyl and she can play mine. If we’re going back to photography and stuff, I couldn’t tell you where my photos were from 5/10 years ago. But I have all my negatives and I can look through my archive and pinpoint exactly what date and stuff something was shot. That’s because I have the physical thing. I’ve never got to worry about when USB changes from A to C or B or whatever’s going on now. People don’t want to lose stuff. That Mid 90s film, it’s on a massive fucking roll. If all the DVDS and stuff get destroyed-
GM: They’ve still got that original copy.
JC: Yeah some random dude in a warehouse somewhere, a temperature-controlled building, still has this master roll of film with the entire thing spliced on together. It blows my mind man. But then you get all these people shooting photos and stuff, are they shooting photos because they think it looks cool or are they doing it because they’re scared of losing everything in their life and not having anything to remember it by? Then it gets to the point where you’re not nostalgic about the process you’re nostalgic about what you’re doing. You’re taking this artefact to remember something you otherwise should just be able to remember yourself. It comes back to that ‘living in the moment’ mentality where you should be enjoying experiences instead of documenting them…do you ever just sit there and contemplate you’re entire life and how nothing really matters and every moment you’re experiencing now isn’t new?
GM: Oh, all the time. That’s my identity, Josh. Have you ever heard of an idea called ‘Morphic Resonance’?
JC: No go on.
GM: So it’s this idea that’s sort of like telepathy, or this interconnection between thoughts, emotions and locations. For example it’s why they think dogs know you’re almost home or why people get phantom limb syndrome…some people also think it’s a possible explanation for the supernatural – ghosts and all that. The idea says that ghosts aren’t necessarily spirits trapped in a place they’re the collective experiences, thoughts and emotions that have happened in a location, haunting a place.
JC: Yeah. I just don’t believe in ghosts.
GM: But do you find the idea that it could be the collection weird? Because emotions are powerful things, right? That’s why nostalgia’s a thing.
JC: Alright, the big thing here is I feel like when you die nothing happens. Everything about you stops existing.
JC: So if that happens…why would a group mentality thought or something produce ghosts?
GM: Why do you feel nostalgia for stuff you’ve not lived through?
JC: Because I’ve experienced it in a different manner.
GM: Well the location or group or whatever has experienced-
JC: But how can an inanimate object experience something?
GM: This is the idea.
JC: I don’t know, this is far too deep of a conversation…I don’t know if I’m on the same level as you but if you go to an old place, a good one’s Lincoln Cathedral, if you go there you can see in the walls people have carved their name. Then it’ll have like ‘1804’ and stuff. I like the mentality that me in 2020 is seeing this guy from 1804’s handwriting carved into the wall. We’re sharing the same space at different points in time. And we’re experiencing the same thing differently but we’re both technically present, so I’m now thinking ‘who the hell’s Roger from 1804?’ But Roger from 1804 will have had no concept of the future that’s happening right now.
JC: And I don’t have a concept of what that guy might have gone though. I think a mad thing is school halls. If you go to a school hall and you look at the wooden floor and see how messed up it is, everyone who’s been to that place has had to do the exact same thing but they’ve all experienced it differently. Because that’s a place where you’re going to school. The majority of the marks on the floor will be from people doing PE or assemblies and stuff.
GM: Have you ever made a mark or a dent on a physical place like a location and thought about the people who will see it in the future or whatever?
JC: Yeah 100% man. I can’t even remember places that I’ve done that. Like you accidentally kick a rock or a wall or something along those lines…carve your name in a tree or something.
JC: Or you accidentally break a gate and you’re like ‘wow.’ You go back to that place later and see that it’s still broken. Me and my mates used to go out skating a lot when we were a bit younger and when you grind a lot you shred away the surface of a place or whatever across time. I can remember going to a metal rail once, riding it and it just snapped. The entire top bit of the rail just went. That rail still hasn’t been replaced.
GM: But that’s you. You did that.
JC: Yeah. But we didn’t remove it, we just left it there. Somebody could have just screwed it back in or something. But your effect on a place is always everlasting to some extent because you’ve done it and experienced it. If it gets replaced that experience has still happened there.
GM: Yeah that’s a physical act you’ve done more so than an emotional one. Although the reminder of the physical stuff…does that give you nostalgia for those moments?
JC: Oh yeah. But then you’re linking it to a place, aren’t you when really it’s just your emotion of being at the place. This should just be called ‘Josh Clack’s Mental Breakdown at 11 o clock in the morning Show’…
GM: That’s a catchy title. This could be a series.
JC: I reckon it could be. Talk about different topics and me mentally breaking down…
GM: So let’s just remember some good times then, Josh.
JC: We all went to Wales in September. That was a good time. Am I nostalgic for that? Is it long enough in the past to be nostalgic about or am I just remembering it as a good time?
GM: Would that be a difference between nostalgia and remembering a good time? Is it a distance between it?
JC: I think it could be defined as a distance between it, potentially.
GM: Like, at least a year?
JC: I think remembering a good time is down to a T whereas nostalgia’s a feeling. I’ve gotten back into skateboarding quite a bit during this lockdown. It’s a good time but when I’m on that skateboard I’m not remembering every single good time I’ve had I’m being nostalgic about the feeling of riding a skateboard. So nostalgia’s based on feelings rather than exact remembrance. It’s the idea of ‘I had fun doing that’ rather than ‘I did this exact thing so I’m going to do this exact thing over again.’
GM: Yeah. I guess it’s the same if you’re in a relationship. ‘This person makes me happy, I’m not staying with them to maintain the nostalgia of being happy with them I’m staying because they still make me happy. That hasn’t ended.’
JC: Yeah exactly they should be making you happy every day. You’re not with them because a year ago you were happy. You should be with them because they still make you happy.
GM: Yeah, definitely.
JC: Let’s go over some good times George that we’ve had together.
GM: Together? Oh alright.
JC: I mean we can have together or we can have alone. One time I was walking home and George was drunk and petting a cat. That’s a good time. This is a good one! If you go to West Common now, I don’t think of one singular time I’m just nostalgic about the entire area and all the memories I’ve had there with my friends.
GM: See that’s all of Lincoln for me.
JC: Yeah. I’ve not been to Lincoln since after Frequency Festival last year really. But I’ve not been there with people who I spent four years of studying with, really. I feel like if I went with them now it’d be a completely different experience to me just going.
GM: See I remember stuff like shooting the 48-hour film.
JC: Yeah that was a good one.
GM: That was hectic but that was good.
JC: In reality George we weren’t really good friends until fourth year/third year.
GM: Until we lived together…
JC: Until we lived together… so we don’t really have any memories from ages ago apart from me coming to your house and telling you how much I loved you when I was drunk.
GM: With uni specifically, because I was in charge of the memories I made more than ever, it wasn’t a family thing I’d go out with these people because I want to-
JC: Yeah I chose to do everything. So you look back over that time with a lot more fondness because in those four years you probably crammed in a lot more fun than when you were growing up and you might have only done stuff on the weekends. Then even then you didn’t have the free choice to do what you want.
GM: Exactly, yeah. Now I’ve got to keep that up for the rest of my life.
JC: They always say ‘don’t live for the weekends’ but getting money is really hard.
GM: And if people have kids you’ve then got to face the fact that you’re gonna mostly be responsible for their memories and their experiences.
JC: Kids are whack man.
*The two laugh at the brilliance of that soundbite*
JC: Why can’t we all just freefall?
GM: You’ve genuinely had a breakdown throughout the course of this podcast haven’t you? You started off talking about living in the moment and being positive and now you’ve just deteriorated ‘oh why can’t we just give up and fall into whatever.’
JC: I’ve got something I want to talk about.
GM: Go on.
JC: I don’t know if you’ve been seeing this all over the internet…Pokémon cards. Everybody’s re-opening Pokémon card packets and there’s been a massive price rise. Nostalgia! It’s not as good as you remember, it’s just gambling. It’s 100% gambling.
GM: It was always gambling though wasn’t it? Pokemon card, Yu-Gi-Oh! Cards…
JC: But when you were a kid you didn’t understand gambling.
JC: You didn’t know that that base set Charizard was gonna be worth £70,000 or however much. Now the things from your childhood can bring monetary value and joy to other people. You can open a packet of Pokémon cards and earn £70,000 but you can also lose £1000.
GM: Mmmhmmm, yeah.
JC: It’s mental. If you look at all these big streamers now they’re just opening packs on packs on packs. It’s gonna run out eventually. Nobody’s gonna have that same enjoyment of opening old packs again. But then, it’s just gambling if one of those 11 cards is gonna be this Charizard worth a lot of money. I opened a couple packs of Yu-Gi-Oh! And a couple packs of Pokémon cards and I can say I did not get the same enjoyment as I did as a kid. I now understand that I could have pulled a £70,000 Charizard or whatever and I got disappointed with the fact that I didn’t.
GM: See you’re doing it for the monetary gain now.
JC: Yeah, I think most people are unknowingly because it’s gambling and gambling’s enjoyable.
GM: When you were a kid you just wanted cards that you didn’t already have.
JC: Yeah, and I can go on eBay and buy exactly what cards I want. Then all the Pokémon games that are coming out, like Pokémon Go was massive and got so many people back into it…
GM: But that was by just doing the first generation at launch.
JC: Yeah man, then Heart Gold and Soul Silver, I know that was quite a while ago now but I’m pretty sure that’s one of the games that holds its price the most. I think most of the time now it goes for even more than retail. And it’s just a better version of the same game you played when you were a kid. When Fire Red and Leaf Green came out that was my favourite game.
GM: Oh yeah. I spent hours and hours and hours on that game.
JC: The ones I put the most time into was Ruby, Emerald and Diamond/Pearl. I’ve been wanting to buy a 2DS or 3DS or whatever so I could buy Ruby and Soul Silver again. But they haven’t got a DS version of the originals.
JC: So that’s a massive thing they missed out on.
GM: But that was Fire Red and Leaf Green.
JC: That was Game Boy Advance.
JC: The Pokémon game has advanced to a point where it’s all just Eevees and stuff but you have to be super into it. The accessible level of the game hasn’t evolved. But if you deep-dive into it it’s gotten deeper and deeper. Then with this new advance onto Switch, it’s tried to evolve but it just hasn’t got to the point where people are as hyped as they once were. But that looks good. I wanna buy a Switch just to play it. But do I? Who knows? Will I enjoy it as much? Who knows?
GM: It’s not about enjoying it as much, it’s about enjoying the new thing for what it is.
GM: And merchandise nostalgia is dangerous because of that. That’s why it aims at millennials with nostalgia because no matter what, if the new Call of Duty game is shit people will still go ‘aw yeah but the old ones were really good though weren’t they?’ And you’ll still play it.
JC: I’ll give it a go I suppose…life’s just so mental. It hurts, George. What am I doing? I mean, in a positive way nostalgia’s a good thing to some extend because you do enjoy a lot of things you still enjoy. I don’t think people should think back on it negatively, they should ignore everything I’ve just said for the past hour, hour-and-a-half, two hours or whatever it is. It’s just me going crazy, man.
GM: Well like we brought up earlier, nostalgia’s being used to treat serious diseases and they actually think that nostalgia can have a positive influence on things like creativity. If I’m trying to write something and I wanna evoke a specific emotion I will go and watch something or try and recapture something that makes me feel the same way I want that line or scene to feel. It makes you pine for enthusiasm If I’m feeling nostalgic for a song and it’s blaring in my earphones, I want to put that energy into something.
JC: Yeah, you’re still enjoying it the same amount or even more but for a different reason so that’s a positive.
GM: Do you think it’s going to get better or worse in the future?
JC: Oh false nostalgia’s gonna get worse I think because there’s gonna be more stuff made about our generation now. We’re gonna have coming-of-age films of the early 2000s coming out soon. We’re gonna see people getting their first phones and stuff like that. Technology’s such a good way to date film and TV, but coming forward it’s just such a hinderance.
GM: It’s distracting.
JC: Yeah yeah. It’s just mental. This has to be called ‘Josh Clack’s Mental Breakdown Podcast – The Christmas Episode.’
GM: Ho Ho Ho! So you don’t have any nostalgia necessarily for Christmas.
JC: I enjoy my Christmas’ I have very good Christmas’. As I get older I realise that my parents provided to me a lot more than I thought they did, and I think that’s just an understanding of money now because I’ve grown older. I was talking to my mum the other month when I first got back into painting Warhammer figures again. I asked her how the hell she bought me this stuff when I was a kid. You gotta check your privilege and keep in mind how much your parents actually put out for you. So I have very fond memories of my parents being very nice to me. Especially my mum. She was a single parent and she always provided very well for me.
GM: Yeah, this is what I was saying when you’ve got a kid, you’re responsible for their memories so you’ve got to ensure that they have good Christmas’ and birthdays. Like our tree was always huge and the whole house would be filled with decorations.
JC: Yeah yeah. You’ve got to make it this overly sensitised thing. So when they grow up and look back, it’s great. My Christmas’ were like, pretty amazing. I remember nan and grandad would come over, I always made LEGO. Still even if I make LEGO – it’s so fun. LEGO’s sick. But we’re not talking about LEGO though.
GM: That’s the adult in you fighting with the child in you.
JC: Yeah and I just need to let go.
GM: But Christmas is the time you’re allowed to let go briefly.
JC: Yeah man…but I do wonder what’s gonna happen this Christmas.
GM: It’ll be a bad Christmas and then it’ll be a better one next year because of it.
JC: ‘Hey guys, I sure hope you know that the only reason podcasts are getting really popular these days is because nobody listens to radio now and people prefer having the choice to listen to their contact in the same manner. So you’re all getting nostalgic listening to radio in the car when really you’ve just grown up and realised you can make your own choices in life so this is why you choose to listen to this sort of thing instead of radio which you can’t choose with no adverts. Have a good holiday…’
GM: WHERE DID THAT COME FROM?! Is this just the antithesis, the end of your breakdown? Are you gonna become this super scathing, omniscient, Charlie Brooker-esque like-
JC: George I really don’t know anymore.
GM: Well maybe in a year’s time we’ll look back on this podcast itself and feel nostalgic for the conversation we had. ‘Hey you remember when you had that breakdown?’ ‘Yeah…that was a good breakdown.’
JC: How do you end the podcast?
GM: Well, we end it by asking you if what your socials are in case anyone wants to follow you…
JC: Oh I have no social media.
GM: That’s a fucking lie, Josh.
JC: Nah I’m not on social media-
GM: What about your photography pages?
JC: Nah, it doesn’t exist.
GM: Do you really not wanna advertise them?
JC: No I’m alright. I don’t need to advertise myself.
GM: You’re comfortable with who you are as a person.
JC: Yes George, I’m going to go put everything on private now and delete myself from the internet.
GM: Oh my god…
JC: ANYWAY! I’m Josh. It’s been good being on the show George.
GM: Oh you’re very welcome Josh, have a merry Christmas.
JC: You too, I’m sorry I’ve just had a mental breakdown on your podcast.
GM: It’s all good, it’s good for drama. It’s good for retention. Get those analytics.
JC: Oh nice one. Hopefully some people will listen.
GM: Yeah. And I’ll see you soon, possible, maybe if the world doesn’t end.
JC: Nah I won’t see you for another year mate.
GM: I thought I was comin’ round when Little Nightmares 2 came out.
JC: When’s that?
JC: Ah okay, catch you in February man.
GM: Yeah alright. So as we always say on the podcast Josh, you ready? Ready for the classic saying?
JC: BYE GUYS.
No matter what Santa says the podcast will be back in the new year. Remember to get in touch if you have decent internet and an okay microphone and want to talk about something you love!
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I know for many of you this holiday season will be lonely or confined, I know how angry some of you are and how many of you feel trapped. But I'd like you to remember a couple of things. First of all, remember this anger and this pain. Keep it in your head the next time an election comes around. Remember the decisions that weren't made until the 11th hour by those in charge. Remember how much more that hurt than if you'd have had two weeks of accepting a quiet Christmas. The second is don't suffer alone. Thanks to the internet, even a facetime with someone can help turn a day around. I know in a year like this that seems obvious, but it's the same for so many.
Here's another small reminder to take 10 minutes out of your day in order to stay up to date with what's going on in the world.
A useful list of what's going on across Africa right now
A now up-to-date carrd on World Issues.
Remember, it only takes 10 minutes a day of research to stay informed.
Thank You for reading/listening.
Stay safe everyone, I hope you all have a lovely Christmas period.