The in-vogue 1950s is a very apt choice for the theme of this year’s Golden Days festiva
l. Every even year, the organisers choose a time period (in 2010 it was the 1700s, in 2008 the 1920s), as opposed to a general theme (in 2011 it was faith, in 2009 the human body), and spend considerably more money remembering it.
Apparently it was a time of structured lines and minimalistic approaches, and those fashion trends are currently seeing a resurgence. It’s funny, but it only feels like last week when somebody wearing that clobber would set off your weirdo alert. Now they’re the hippest swingers in town.
Personally, I’ve always found the decade a desolate one. There were rebels, but there was nothing to rebel against. There was television, but not really that much to show on it. There were space rockets, but they were invariably empty bar the odd terrified ape.
In retrospect, it was a decade in which nothing much happened, like everyone was waiting for the 1960s. Elvis rocked the house but nobody seriously took up the mantle until the Beatles; Rosa Parks stopped that bus, but the Black Panthers waited for the next one; and the Korean War raised a few headlines, but it was Vietnam when everyone started taking notice.
Nevertheless, there was one consistency: celebrities and their penchant for dying spectacularly in vehicle accidents. From Ritchie Valens, Buddy Holly and James Dean, to Patsy Cline, Rocky Marciano and Jayne Mansfield (who was decapitated), the trend continued through both decades, providing the inspiration for the ongoing View exhibition
, which intriguingly includes a series of graphite drawings that reimagine the last view of a dying musician. Immediately, we thought of Brian Jones (swimming pool ventilation unit), Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix (vomit on carpet) and Michael Hutchence (his own errection).
Elsewhere, if krump is your style, you’ll appreciate the Detour Urban Dance Festival (see G9), or if Rasmus Klump is still your style guru, you’ll enjoy the Buster Film Festival
. Hey, he was created in 1951 – another reason to hate the 1950s.