by JAMILA RIZVI
It’s the ultimate topic for dinner party conversation: If you could go back and live during any era in time, which would it be?
Now obviously, for those of us who don’t have time machines (or a hot tub, as that’s what the kids are apparently using for time travel these days), this is a hypothetical question. I get that. But it’s kind of the ultimate hypothetical.
Because who hasn’t watched a film or read a book that is set during a different period and been totally transported to that time or place? The fantasy is at its most vivid when you’re a kid, when you can read a fairytale about a princess living in a castle hundreds of years ago and suddenly you’re that princess, yanking a prince into your bedroom window, using only your hair. Rock on sister.
And that imagination doesn’t disappear when you’re an adult. At least it didn’t for me. When I watch a truly wonderful period television show, I become entranced by the scenery, the costumes, the landscapes, the customs of the day and the characters. So much so that I often disturb the lovely people I live with, by becoming a little too swept up in my own imagination. (Note to reader: Don’t treat your housemates as if they’re your live-in servants).
With the Olympics on at the moment, all eyes are on England. So it got me thinking – which era of British history I would have most liked to be alive to see. I asked a few of the Mamamia writers for their views.
Here’s what Site Manager Nat thought:
There’s a reason historians have always referred to the Elizabethan era as the “golden age”. I would have loved to have been alive and part of the upper hierarchy, soaking up the spoils of the era. In my idealistic mind, it’s all very romantic; ruffly gowns made out of the finest velvet, pink cupcakes on fine china, fluffy slippers and decadent banquets. I am just the kind of person who would bask in their own private castle, complete with marble hallways and classic gold-framed portraits.
Senior Writer Lucy picked a very different era:
I’ve got two words for you. The Beatles. For me it’s London in the late ’60s and early ’70s. Give me Abbey Road, a record player and I think I’d be pretty happy. Add in The Rolling Stones (I’m tapping my feet to (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction right now), and maybe some Jimmy Hendrix and Led Zeppelin and, well, does it get any better? And did someone say mini-skirt? Oh yes. Hello fashion revolution. It’s just yet another reason I’m convinced I was born in the wrong decade.
And what about me? Oh I’m SO GLAD that you asked. It’s not like I was going to let this post come to an end without getting my two cents in. And this is it: England in the 1910s through to the 1920s.
Yep, I know – there was a war going on, roger that, couldn’t have been too much fun for anyone. But this is MY hypothetical so I can imagine prosperity, excessive wealth and a family of sisters and a husband who was too young for national service, can’t I?
My reasons? Well, first things first: the hats. Hats have been around since the first cave man walked outside his cave and realised the sun was shining in his eyes and that made it hard to catch fish for dinner. But the hats during the days of Downton Abbey and of Titanic? Well they were something else. Beautifully crafted, wide brimmed, decked out with ostentatious decorations. And I love a good hat.