no fear of old things
C came back from the Saturday fleamarket with a Triang Mini Hi-Way “Daytona”. It has knocked about a bit since the 1960s. Missing: windscreen, steering wheel & driver. Also the exhaust ducting. The paint job is pocked around the front end, indicating that it’s been rammed into a skirting board or two in its day. But not bad for a pound. The front end & pan assembly are die-cast–some kind of Birmingham metal–in one piece, but the upper is rickety pressed tin, bent at the cockpit edges. It’s blue. Royal blue & white. Some attempt has been made to represent the suspension & fuel injectors of the Lotus type 25 on which it seems to be modelled. Suddenly I remember those thin tyres they had then, still featuring deep parallel grooves & nocked edges, sending up glorious individual rooster tails of spray during a wet race. This returns as a very clear image, then vanishes again, because though I cared deeply in 1963 I don’t care at all now: except perhaps that I feel protective of the me who cared then. While I think about this, the remaining element of the 1950s electric fire in my writing room makes a brief, high singing noise. Then it’s all quiet again. The young use old things then throw them away & move on; the old use old things because they still work. Only the middle-aged have issues with nostalgia. They make a thing of it. Their fear is a fear of the loss of agency; they suffer momentary panic, taunt each other, grind themselves “forward” again in the attempt to stay in denial & keep their kids at bay. Are they doing the right things ? Using the right objects in the right way ? They’re not sure they know anymore. I use “middle aged” in its original sense, of course, not the modern one.