Next time you have a few hours to kill – I imagine between the hours of midnight and two – take a look at Retronaut. It’s a eye-widening photo archive of pop culture and oddball snippets from history that says the past is a foreign country and Retronaut is your passport.
The obligatory famous/sexy femmes shot are there, like colour photographs of Brigitte Bardot at Cannes (1953) and before and after pin-up girl shots from the 1950s. But there’s also some fascinating stuff that seems to make up the B-movie of the last century or so. Some of my favourites include the selection of The Beatles waiting to cross Abbey Road in 1969, Jimi Hendrix meeting Mr Spock in 1968 and famous American architects dressing up as their iconic buildings in 1931.
Elsewhere, you can run into all sorts of painstakingly crafted pieces of work that might nudge some inspiration out of you: a steampunk Pinochio or a 200 year old French love letter, found in the arm of a chair in Gloucestershire.
Still, in my headline I said I want to be a part time Retronaut didn’t I? Having recently watched Woody Allen’s very sentimental and silly Midnight in Paris I’ve been thinking about what time period would have suited me best. The 40s or 50s maybe for the fashion. Or the 60s and 70s for the freewheeling hippie vibe and seeing all that amazing music live. But as Gil realizes he quite likes antibiotics, despite his love of 1920s literary Paris in the film, I’d caution against becoming too obsessed with retro and vintage culture.
Here’s ten things I love about right now:
1. Contact lenses 2. Skype 3. The whole world being one flight away 4. The pill 5. Wes Anderson 6. Festivals with alt-rock/indie AND dance music 7. Magazines (and blogs) 8. Women having as much freedom as they’ve ever had 9. Hackers 10. People who stay mysterious in the face of the big web giants