Last week, Ant and Dec have said they want to bring back SM:TV live, for its 20th anniversary. Wow, 20 years you cry in shock and horror. I did too.
It seems as though everywhere I turn (mainly on social media, so the turning is metaphorical, and more of a scrolling and swiping movement), there is some kind of blaring reminder of how many years have passed since a particular event, or images of products, television programmes or bands which have since folded into inexistence. An invitation, or encouragement if you like, to exclaim “oh gosh, I’m really that decrepit? Stop the ageing! Eminem’s daughter can’t be that old!”
Aside from the picture of Slim Shady’s offspring cropping up at least once a year as a reminder of the hasty speed at which we are travelling away from our youth, other markers include constant reporting on the ageing process of the cast of Friends, and how many years it has been since ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’ was released. (The two defining markers of a generation.) There is even an app which pressures us each day to view a timeline of what we were doing on this day in years gone by. Another invitation to marvel at the sheer distance between my over-worked, tax-paying, commuting, student-loan interest accruing mid-twenties self and a picture with friends flailing about in the park with cans of Lilt in 2008. I could delete the app, but then I would be missing out on that daily hit of bittersweet nostalgia.
Everyone has a different moment of enlightenment – the realisation that they are no longer technically a ‘young person.’ Two pivotal moments for me were realising that I only have one opportunity left to enter The X-Factor before I am in the Overs category, and secondly noticing that the ‘young people’ of Eastenders are actually nearly a decade younger than me. When the realisation comes, there is often an urgent need to regress and divulge in pastimes spent in what seems now to be a care-free youth. I was, not long ago, extremely close to spending £35 on Sabrina The Teenage Witch seasons 1-6 in CEX.
I’m not alone. Our need for nostalgia is reflected in the relaunch of the formidable Nokia 3310. Until recently, there were jokes abound of its brick-like hilarity, which have now been replaced with an excited buzz about the return of the practically indestructible device. Do we yearn for a time where our phones did not need charging for at least a week, or is it really an insight into a nation-wide longing for a pre-Trump, pre-Brexit, pre-Freddo inflation era?
Obviously I know the mid-twenties are far from old, and the constant reminders of the passing of time will remain into our 50s and 60s, as we laugh at the inadequacy of the iPhone 7 and find it hard to recall a time when some people actually owned houses. So we better learn to laugh at it, otherwise we’ll be crying into our £2.20 Freddo.