Gregg Nunney: A taste for the past

Downton Abbey's popularity is part of a wider obsession with the past, says Gregg
Downton Abbey's popularity is part of a wider obsession with the past, says Gregg

Do you ever wonder why we seem to be obsessed with nostalgia?

It’s not like we can do anything to alter the past, unless you’re a time traveller – more on that in next week’s column.

So maybe it has something to do with our in-built “grass is always greener” syndrome.

The same thing that makes us think television was much better when we were children and the thing from the menu that the bloke on the next table is eating look much nicer.

A new 1940s themed café has opened in Kettering and, in principle, it shouldn’t work.

The windows are taped up as they would have been with a possible air raid on the way and the general theme of the place harks back to a time that most people would like to forget.

What it manages to capture, however, is the sense of togetherness and camaraderie that was evident back then and that we have seemed to have lost now.

It has proved a hit and, although I haven’t been yet, I’m looking forward to a night out there later in the month.

Similarly, McDonald’s has launched its “1955 burger” – a product similar to those the company sold when it first launched in the states.

And the 1920s are the in vogue decade on television with Downton Abbey and Boardwalk Empire two of the biggest hits worldwide.

It can’t simply be about looking back at an era through rose tinted specs as I wasn’t around back then, so maybe we’ve become attached to the past as a nice antidote to the present.

It’s a chance to step back from our over-connected generation where people spend more time playing bingo in cyberspace then they do socialising and a trip to the shop can be completed with a click of a button.

For me, I think it gives me a chance to wear my trilby in public without feeling like an idiot.

Although, saying that, I don’t think I’ll take it to McDonald’s any time soon...