Our Friends In The North – Imaginative Time Travel and Experiments In Consensual Hallucination
My interest in culture that draws from and reimagines an indefinable past stretches back a fair few years now. In the years back when the nightlife subculture I explored was a small, dedicated niche that consisted of but a handful of people.
It predated the current, ongoing, now over ten years old interest in / fashion for all things vintage and existed / exists alongside but apart from the likes of say more traditional, orthodox rockabilly/1950s and similar past era recreations.
At that time I would treasure and hanker after visions of speakeasy-esque nightlife / cabaret from times gone by which were created and represented in films such as Dance With A Stranger or say a television series such as Our Friends In The North.
Then with the vintage “boom”, such places became a reality, filled with a hundred and one burlesque stages but it wasn’t really for me. I’m not dismissive of such things, it’s just that I think the world, scenes and settings that I thought of were more a cerebral, imaginative creation than something that needed to be present in reality.
Rather than requiring a high-definition reproduction or facsimile of times gone by, to borrow from author Rob Young, this was more a form of “imaginative time travel” or “an experiment in consensual hallucination“.
Although Rob Young used these phrases to describe aesthetically different cultures/subcultures than the one from which Afterhours Sleaze and Dignity draws, the concepts themselves are still particularly apposite in this case – and indeed have come to be particular touchstones for my Afterhours (and other) work.