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78. Nostalgia

phonographIronically, the two things that white Brits love the most are in direct opposition to one another. On the one hand, they could not get through a day without their sleek and shiny gadgets, playing Fruit Ninja on their iPads and falling over themselves to call Steve Jobs ‘inspirational’.

On the other hand, they just love nostalgia. Show them a VHS or Mega Drive and watch them turn into bubbling excitable fools. They simply adore 35mm cinema prints, cameras with real photographic film, hand-drawn animation, vinyl records (in Stewart Lee’s words, “like a massive, flat mp3”), and they never, ever stop going on about how much they love the smell of books.

As with all things, white Brits are conflicted about this. They hate staring at screens, yet all their favourite activities revolve around LCD-lit devices of varying sizes. One of the things they like the most is complaining about how the digital world is depersonalising human interactions, where posting and ‘liking’ comedy YouTube or Buzzfeed links on each other’s walls has replaced actual face-to-face conversations.

But to their jaded, digital-native minds, just hanging out is no longer entertainment enough. No social gathering goes by without one white Brit showing another at least one viral picture of a cat or Ryan Gosling, or a Bad Lip Reading of a recent world event. Of course, they complain about this by angrily tweeting “So sick of social media and gadgets! When’s the last time you were on a beach or in a park? #boredoftheinternet” from their smartphone.

Hence Instagram: a faded, retro nostalgic device that you can only do on a smartphone, and which you can digitally ‘like’ without the trouble of physically meeting your ‘friend’ IRL.

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