Thursday, 24 May 2018


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Back in 1971 and '72, I was purchasing a variety of comics, though I no longer recall whether I bought them all concurrently or jumped between some of them from week to week (or week to month in the case of one of them).  Amongst the ones I got were SUPER DC, VALIANT & SMASH! (then TV21), KNOCKOUT, COUNTDOWN, LION & THUNDER, YOGI & HIS TOY, JET, the occasional WHIZZER & CHIPS, BEANO, DANDY, BEEZERTOPPER, and SPARKY.  I usually bought any free gift issues whether I got a comic regularly or not, so that accounts for some on the list.  I haven't bothered trying to place these comics in their proper sequential order, but let's not be too fussed about that.  I also bought the occasional copy of BUSTER, and TV COMIC, as well as one or two others.

All these comics I associate with the house I was living in at the time (as well as several comics from an earlier period starting from near the end of 1965), and some of them were still on sale when I moved house in June of '72, meaning that I likewise associate them with my new home.  Knockout was still on the go, as was the renamed Countdown (TV ACTION, which acquired its new moniker a couple of months or so before we flitted), Valiant & TV21, Yogi & His Toy (which became FUN TIME in November '72), Lion & Thunder, Buster & Jet, and the like.

Comics create 'atmosphere', and because I continued to buy many of the same comics while living in my new abode that I'd first bought when staying in the previous one, that same atmosphere, or ambiance, or whatever you want to call it, was continued from one house to the other (also helped, no doubt, by retaining the same furniture).  Gradually though, my allegiance switched to new comics like The MIGHTY WORLD Of MARVEL, SPIDER-MAN COMICS WEEKLY, The AVENGERS, DRACULA LIVES, PLANET Of The APES, The SUPER-HEROES, SAVAGE SWORD Of CONAN, SHIVER & SHAKE, MONSTER FUN, WARLORD, BUZZ, WHOOPEE!, etc., etc., and a new 'mood' was gradually created which supplanted the old one to some degree.

Because it was a gradual change, I probably wasn't consciously aware of the 'shift' at the time, and it's only really when I looked back on the period long after the fact that I saw there was a subtle shift in my perceptions of those years, with the second house developing its own 'flavour' that was no longer just a mere extension of the previous one.  When we look back on things years after the fact, we tend to allocate a separate 'compartment' to each new phase in our lives, as if each stage is sharply divided one from the other.  (And of course, sometimes they can be.)  However, a lot of the time, we seamlessly 'segue' from one phase into the next, because most of the other significant 'paraphernalia' (friends, parents, interests, hobbies, etc.) of our day-to-day existence is still present.

Reading the same (surviving) comics (and watching the same TV shows) on a regular basis in my new house as in my old one 'blunted the edge' (to some degree) of living in one house one day and a new one the next, and made the event seem more like a fade-in than a sudden splice.  It's not until old comics and TV shows disappear and new ones replace them, that the comfortable presence of the familiar that has accompanied us through some change in our circumstances, gives way to a new era with its own distinct flavour.  So gentle has been the 'changeover' though, that we're often unaware of it at the time, and don't realise it until long after the fact.  The same things happens in marriages too, with one partner, now that the kids have flown, seeing their husband or wife in a different light than previously.  Any perceived changes might be imagined, or, if actual, may have occurred quite a while before, but things like the kids leaving home or a partner retiring (or any significant alteration to everyday living), can bring previously unnoticed differences into sudden sharp focus.

So, what, in effect, am I blathering on about?  You expect me to know?  I probably had an idea in mind when I started this post, but my thought processes shift with the breeze these days, and I very often finish up at a different destination than the one I set out for - even if it's not too-far removed.  Just regard the preceding paragraphs as Plasticine, to shape into any form you fancy.  Then you can't blame me if you don't like whatever you end up with.  Hey, I must try that more often.


But that's a bit unsatisfactory, isn't it?  I guess I was trying to work out for myself why, living in the same home today as when I was 13, the house, the neighbourhood - the 'taste' of my life in effect - seems different to what it was when I first moved in and the following few years afterwards.  I can't help wondering what's caused this shift in my perceptions, and therefore took a stab at trying to determine what the reasons might be.  Was I successful?  Not really, but if I've managed to kick-start your own ponderings on the matter (in relation to your own individual situations of course), then the exercise hasn't been entirely futile.  And if you can't make head-nor-tail of what I've been on about, don't worry about it - there'll no doubt be a 'Babe of the Day' along to ease your throbbing brain before you know it.


Oh, now I remember where I intended to go with this.  I was going to say thank goodness for that 'bridging effect' I mentioned, because it shields us from the shock of sudden change that might otherwise overwhelm us.  It's probably far more difficult when one emigrates to the other side of the world where everything is different, but the pressures of short-range moves are alleviated when we're still surrounded by much that is familiar - even if it's only the comics or TV shows that we read or watch.  In my case, the fact that I still attended school in my old neighbourhood also helped, but the anchor of simple things like a few familiar weekly periodicals is a sure way of avoiding feeling completely sundered from our recent past when a change of locale occurs.  Long may it be so.   


Anonymous said...

Kid, you think about the past too much. It's not healthy.

Kid said...

Well, the alternative is to think about the future, CJ - and that only ends in one way (for all of us). That ain't too healthy either.

Paul Mcscotty said...

The healthy option Kid is to live in the "now" as that's all any off us can do and not focus too much on the the future, no one knows how long we have or whats ahead it could be great. I do agree that it is important even healthy, to keep in touch with the past (if its a pleasant experience as not everyone had a good childhood/past) but I agree with Colin spending too long doing that is not good for anyone your not really living your remembering (saying that this is a nostalgia blog so I assume your in the "now" more that we all may think). Perceptions of things (comics and those associated memories) change as your mind/ brain develops and as you age its not really that the items (comics, memories) have changed they are fixed (and memories of the past are romanticised - it wasn't always wonderful back then). Saying that when you get a good "nostalgia hit" its lovely but I think if you try to recreate that feeling / era (as you seem to be doing) too often then that feeling fades or becomes less potent (like drugs).

Kid said...

Well, of course, as most readers only 'know' me through my posts, it probably does seem that I'm always trying to live in the past - especially as (like you say) this is mainly a nostalgia site about the past, mine in particular. Actually, I never intended to wander off into the subject of why things seem different to me now, my main intention was to speak about the 'bridging effect' of familiar items smoothing the way when our surroundings change; however, I wittered on so long that I forgot where I was going with it and brought it to a close the best way I could. Yes, the best way to be happy is not to PURSUE happiness per se, but just be content with what we have. It's the same with memories I suppose. It's probably best not to fixate on them, just enjoy them when they drop in for the occasional visit.

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