Martin Smith column: Feeling nostalgic yet? A week is a long time without football...

Remember when football was the most important thing in your life?

Monday, 23rd March 2020, 4:02 pm
Updated Tuesday, 24th March 2020, 4:30 pm
Sheffield Wednesday fans

You know, last week? When all that seemed to matter was watching, listening to and talking about your team?

Happy days.

Now we have a new world to consider and staying well is the only game in town.

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Already we are nostalgic. Nostalgic for tedious train journeys, the whiff of a burger van, the snort of a police horse. For pubs, cafes, even going to work.

Nostalgia, as someone once hilariously said, isn’t what it used to be.

It used to be about Currie, Cantona or Chris Waddle. Now it’s about getting a haircut or going to McDonalds.

There is a phenomenon psychologists call the ‘reminiscence bump’. A period in our lives in which we have the most vivid memories and association with the world and people around us.

It’s usually a time in our late teens and early twenties. A time we look back on as a sort of ‘golden age’ of our own lives, when most of our: ’remember that time when…” lines come from.

Of course the world being what it is, marketers and bots know that we, usually men, are most susceptible to this wistful reminiscence of our ‘glory days’ when we are in our 50s.

When life hasn’t perhaps turned out exactly as we’d hoped and we turn to our semi-mythical past for comfort.

Whether that involves selling us Stone Roses t-shirts or lost episodes of Minder, it works and we normally go all-out for all that stuff. But now we long for anything other than THIS.

Casting round on iplayer on Saturday night for some alternative to Match Of The Day action and came across Rick Stein in his Long Weekends series, sitting at an open-air cafe in Bologna sipping wine and chewing on something Bolognese. Easy, normal stuff that now seems like a lost paradise. The social media memes that tell us previous generations had to fight wars and all we have to do is stay at home and watch Netflix make a valid point, annoyingly patronising though they may be.

But our nostalgia now is for days out, guilt-free hugs, holidays where you can walk through a market, buy a beer at the beach, go to a match.

The good old days now are all about the simple stuff that happened less than a fortnight ago.