Every single day an email from Pinterest shows up. Maybe twice.
Hipsters, models posing as gardeners and the promises of the perfect life presented persona brought to my email doorstep this morning by Pinterest imagery. I thought of my internet searches and my media uploads here on WordPress. Mostly items of a vintage nature. Are Pinterest accessing? Maybe. Maybe not. After wondering I thought ‘Write a blog’. Which image to choose though from the library of choices for this header? ‘That’ll do’ I thought. A hat and some poetry book titles. Maybe appropriate. Maybe not.
‘Gray, you’ve got a good eye’ or ‘Gray, these ideas are so you’, Pinterest say. And they’re not far wrong. They, whoever ‘They’ are, push the buttons of your love of specific thematic choices. Art, clothes, lifestyles, vintage, visual artefacts, etc. They are Alexa…. but in email mode. They are in the background watching. Collecting information. ‘They’ are modern technology.
I began thinking this morning, after a dip into the Pinterest email linked visual theme proffered of ‘These vintage photos are proof our Dad’s were the original hipsters’. (I would also add Grandads actually. Or, my title, Grancha’s). I was old at 17. That being in dress sense, item ownerships and other influences on my life. A naïve 17 year old mentally though. Learning slowly through gentle life choice influences. And here was technology actually working me out in the blink of an eye. Albeit, not naively. From my internet search choices. Those words this morning of vintage, hipster, Dad’s and photos. Each and every word in that small sentence a gentle finger prod in the region where my heart belongs. Where my heart internet searches. They can’t find me in the reality of physically entering second hand book shops, camera shops, clothes shops, etc. Or can they? Can I be on some security camera being witnessed to buying a Harris Tweed 1960s beaten up and well worn jacket and then the camera’s eye technically beams back information to Big Brother base land to inform them of choices made?
From aged 17, it has taken me 50 years to gather insights to get at the collective of my favourite things. Both in real touchable entities or in simple knowledge of their existence. I’m 67 sooner than later. I’m pleased that I do feel and, some say, look younger. I suppose I do. My family genetics are on the lucky side of nature. Even though I do moan about my old aching bones. Or. Maybe it’s because the head lives in a different time. A better space than this modern craziness. Views the vintage past as iconic. Gentle and of a slower pace. The longevity of old familiars. Washes over your psyche and brings certain calm. Your surrounding environment, spirituality and mindset helps too. Synergy of garnering life choices that harmonise well together.
The choices made in life? Very many of those years, the majority actually, in getting favourite lifestyle additions was borne from situations of good old healthy ‘hunting them down’. As said just previously. Find a second hand vintage clothes shop, book store, charity/thrift shop, film camera store, VeeDub Bus get together events, guitar shops with old valve amplifiers and glorious vintage guitars, fountain pen sellers. It is a gentle exercise of stretching the senses. Seeing by visiting, olfactory experiences, touching items, hearing music over the shop system. Music? I own a gramophone with 78rpm records, buy cassettes and have 8 track ones too. Vinyl rocks and is back in fashion. Cassettes are making a comeback too. My MP3 Walkman technology is from the 1980s. Still all useful. Useable.
I walked into a vintage clothes shop in Worcester a few years back. The visual imagery truly rocked. But the smell on entering that shop will live with me forever. Glorious. A blend of such harmonious intermingling that I wanted to bottle it there and then. I asked the owner what it was. ‘Lavender’ she replied. I couldn’t detect it. It lay within everything and its contribution was as the conductor of an orchestra of odours. Musky in an earthy primal way, it deeply affected the limbic system and transported me back in time. I could close my eyes, block out vintage imagery and was ‘memory sitting’ in my grandparents potting shed at the bottom end of their orchard area. Dried herbs hanging in the rafters and old gardening dungarees and jackets hanging alongside terracotta pots. No visuals unfortunately. I can’t do ‘picture memories’. But a resonance of past times nonetheless through odour. As Rudyard Kipling wrote, ‘Smells are surer than sounds or sights to make your heart-strings crack’.
Past times or current time TV programme choices. I often wonder why ‘Call the Midwife’, ‘The Darling Buds of May’, ‘Gone Fishing’, anything ‘Alan Titchmarsh’ and other programmes of similar content are so popular. Presentations with an undercurrent of good form, camaraderie and ethical values.
Technology of the modern kind hands it to you on a plate. And in a ‘consistently knocking on your door everyday’ fashion. As Katherine May says in her excellent book ‘Enchantment’. ‘Even before the global pandemic arrived, we were trapped in a grind of constant change without ever getting the chance to integrate it’. Her book is very insightful. Very much worth a read.
Technology whispery sings in your ear a seductive tune. You fall for it, try to grasp at its plethora of choices and then it ups and leaves you by going out of date within a year or two. Encouraging you to upgrade, update, upload.
So in finding pleasures from the email links and looking at the memories within vintage photographs of hipster vibe, old fashioned gardening methods, annual holidaying in a VeeDub Bus or under canvas, fountain pens, calligraphy styles and in finding other visual photographic joys containing simplicity and quirky nature. Technology can be useful.
So yes. I suppose modern technology in finding these connections through Pinterest has actually been helpful in reminding myself that ‘Yes. I do have, and have had, a good eye’.