Sunday, March 08, 2009


I've been thinking a lot about nostalgia recently. Studying dementia and its various non-drug treatments one starts to meditate on the issue. People respond to happy memories and associations, the more they involve all our senses - like touch, taste and smell the more likely (if it's a happy memory) they will respond. But we've been taught on our course to be very wary of nostalgia. Harping back to the good old days. It can make you forget the hardships people had to endure.

On the other hand, if a old farmer now seriously ill can get some comfort from playing with some hay, if an older woman gets a lot from her strawberry jam breakfast, what on earth can possibly be wrong with that?

I want to set up a museum of nostalgia - so the pleasant smells, tastes, colours of memories that people associate with the happy memories of their childhood can be experienced again. Sentimentality isn't a bad thing, as long as we're not sentimentalising about fascists. In fact in my filing system it's a category.

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