Another important idea in this project is looking at how popular culture really played out from the point of view of ordinary people, rather than from those making mass media. I’ve come to believe that we need to start telling our own stories in our own ways about our own lives, rather than relying on the established media to rehash itself.
I’m thinking mostly of television programmes that purport to tell us what life was like in the Seventies by stringing together clips of television programmes made in the Seventies.
There are two problems with this approach:
1. That by condensing material made for a mass medium all you’re doing is reinforcing an already partial view of society and what we were like.
2. That it is subject to censorship for reasons of political sensitivity (no more TOTP if it contains footage of Jimmy Savile) or the complexity of gaining licensing rights.
3. We all, legitimately, have our own view of what happened in the past and none of us know the whole truth.
My belief is that television was no more representative of what was really happening then than it is now. Except now we can make and share our own media cheaply and easily and then it was hard and expensive.
I’m not just interested in collecting and sharing this material because of the nostalgic fuzz, as delightful as that can be.
This project is also about allowing us to say: “This is how we were, we had a life and a point of view that was influenced by dominant pop cultures and media but was also something we made ourselves.”