Friday, 13 November 2020

Unexpected second acts in the lives of pillow cases.

When this whole present embuggerance began, I bought some home-made face masks from a nice woman who was selling them for charity, back in the 'Blitz spirit' stage of March / April. I bought six or seven, and I've worn one or other of them almost every day since. 

Today, it occurred to me that I therefore now have a collection of half a dozen objects which, when I come across them again in ten or twenty years, will be enormously evocative of this specific year. Just facemarks in general will be that too, of course - a type of clothing most of us never wore before, then wore every day for a year or two... and then, let's hope, never wore again. But since six masks turns out to be about enough to wear in rotation, these six designs I randomly ended up with will be particularly 'nostalgic', if that's the right word for something I plan to look back on with no fondness whatsoever. 

But then I noticed that the designs all have quite a nineties look to them - and realised that of course the maker had just used whatever scraps old material she happened to have. And so these objects, which in the future will sharply bring back 2020/21 to me, would presumably right now remind some complete strangers of, say, their childhood bedroom, or visiting their Granny in 1997. 

I don't know what my point is. Possibly I don't have one. ...No, I don't believe I do. Anyway, here are some of my masks. Try imagining a Seinfeld slap bass sting as you look at them.  

Da-bababa-wow-wow wowww. Boink.


Tealin said...

Ooh, I'm guessing that top one is from about 1992 ...

This is such an odd time – no one will want to relive it, but it'll be impossible to escape in fiction, I fear, and fifty years from now politicians will try to invoke the 'lockdown spirit' and a generation of people who never knew it will get all dewy-eyed about Clap for Carers and volunteers buying food for the shielding. At least it's a good setting for a murder mystery.

Although, that said, are there any lasting cultural artefacts of the 1918 flu? It seems its primary legacy is the wild abandon of the 1920s, rather than any memory of the pandemic itself.

I made my masks out of an old shirt while listening to Simon Kane reading Journal of the Plague Year – March/April was not a happy time, but there is a certain coziness to that narrow slice of it, for me, and coming across the masks in future, I'll probably remember that more than the fraught bits.

Anonymous said...

Rarely are blog posts and replies both as good as each other - just want to say this is the exception to the rule, that's all. Obviously this one now stops that run...

Anonymous said...

Less Seinfeld - more Golden Girls :)

Alan said...

The wife of a friend is a very skilled seamstress and, when the whole mask thing kicked off, made masks for them both from a couple of her old bras.

A mutual friend commented on the good fortune that the bra fitted the husband's face to which I could only respond "Well, if the cup fits..."

Timothy said...

Congratulations, John. If your blog was not already a cultural artifact, the Cabin Fever series and this entry on masks particularly reflect the spirit of 2020.

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