I was asleep. The overheated bedroom woke me up. Then I got to thinking and my mind got …hungry. Not for food, but for images, from which spun ideas. YouTube is quite good at feeding the hunger. Every image is a banquet. In just the course of a few minutes, I saw a home movie of Germans in the Rheinland, around Easter time in 1939. They act oblivious to the cyclone forming in their midst. These good burghers in their Sunday best would be, as it would turn out, enjoying their last Easter in peacetime for seven years. How many of these men would be alive in 1946?
There were moving pictures of a society fête in Paris in 1928. There are musicians, dressed as gauchos, performing. For these partygoers, the Depression awaits, and political instability that made France oblivious to the monster awakening, East of the Maginot Line,
An English county fair in 1902 shows aristocrats enjoying the day. Downton Abbey is over a century away. The clothing in these pictures aren’t costumes. The people actually dressed this way. We must use our olfactory imaginations to get a sense of the smells. Bathing in this time was quite the impractical experience, heating the water, filling the tub. Sweat, from bodies, manure, from horses, filled the air.
I see a picture of a boy, age seven or so, at this fair in 1902. Would he later join the British Army in a pals’ regiment, dying at the Somme with his friends, members of, say, the Bradford Chums?
We can only imagine how the stories end. The camera will run out of film long before the end.