Speaking of Trafalgar, I can’t believe it has been 200 years. I haven’t really been thinking of the Regency as being so long ago–no idea why. But time does slip away. I’ve noticed more and more that events I lived through are being seen as old history by my younger friends. I am old enough to critique costumes and attitudes of the sixties if anyone wants to reenact the time. I even have a clue about the 5o’s, although from a very short perspective. ð
I still have this thing about artificially faded jeans. They bug me. Worn jeans should be truly worn. I had pairs that were worn tissue thin in the knees, and when they ripped, I patched them. And wear patterns were very distinctive. Wear occurred in the knees primarily, to a lesser extent in the derriere. Men wore the imprint of their wallets in their rear pockets. Pronounced wear did not occur on the thighs and some other odd areas where mechanically faded and worn jeans make them (keeping in mind that I grew up in northern New York, not ranching country). And…worn jeans did not take on that brownish tinge unless the owner didn’t wash them regularly! Whenever I see worn jeans in stores with that “tea stained” look, I automatically think they look as though the owner wasn’t clean.
You tie-dyed your own T-shirts. You wore the same pair of Hurache sandals until they were falling apart. The Peace Symbol meant something. No one was trying to be a fashion statement unless you were square, and then you dressed like Jackie Kennedy or Twiggy (women!) or if you were male, your hair was very short and you wore glasses with the black plastic rims.
The idea that rock groups would age was funny. Remember that bar scene in Star Wars with the gray-haired rock band? That was hilarious when the movie was new.
I don’t know why I am saying all this–I’m just trying, I think, to show how we look through a distorted lens when we look back. We can’t truly know how people of a time looked or acted or felt or spoke. We can only do as much research as we can and be careful of our sources, especially if the source is another historian’s work or a movie of the time. Diaries, on the other hand, are more helpful…and not enough people write on paper these days! I worry that all the electronic evidence will be lost, and generations from now people will be struggling to understand what this time was all about.
And by the way, back to the subject of Trafalgar, I thought I’d provide this link to Nelson’s Navy–Life in the 18th Century Royal Navy. Great Britain’s Channel 4 has some great history pages.
Be sure to check out the Georgian Underworld too, by the way…