There seems to be a huge interest in the good old days recently and TV and cinema are both filled with period dramas: ‘The Iron Lady’; ‘W.E.’; ‘Call the Midwife’; and of course ‘The Artist.’
The latter film takes us right back to the silent era, with two hours in black and white with no words but plenty of glitz and glamour. The film has won many awards already and with the Oscars coming up next month, it’s sure to win even more.
Since I was a kid I’ve been obsessed with the twenties, thirties, forties and fifties. I’ve written biographies of Marilyn Monroe; have worked on a project about Clark Gable and I’m currently writing a biography of a silent film star who died tragically in 1935.
My idols are old-time movie stars such as Marilyn, Jean Harlow, Bette Davis and Clara Bow. I buy old-time photographs; wear 1920s-style hats and jewellery… I could go on and on.
Even my daughter is getting in on the act recently, by wearing a 1920s hat to school and practising how to put on lipstick ala Clara Bow.
I encourage her to take an interest in the old days and spend a lot of time telling her tales of when my grandparents were little; in fact that’s really when my obsession with the old days started.
When I was a little girl I used to stay at my Gran’s house most Saturdays and she’d tell me tales of the adventures she got up to with her friends in the twenties and thirties.
They’d make up their own plays and put them on in the backyard under rows of washing; they’d play out all day and dream of becoming movie stars when they grew up.
All these stories sunk in and have inspired me ever since.
I think it’s fascinating why so many of us have a real affinity with the old days, even if you didn’t actually live through the twenties, thirties or forties yourself.
It would be hard to pinpoint an actual reason why those days fill us with such a warm feeling and I guess it is different for everyone.
I wonder if one day we’ll be looking back at these days with great nostalgia.
Will we crave the days when David Cameron was Prime Minister or The X factor was on TV?
Will we look back in awe at the tracksuit fashions and falling-down jeans?
Hmmm. I have my reservations, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.