My name is Clem Bastow and in 2014 I am going back in time and living in the 1970s.
So you’re really doing this, huh?
I sure am!
While my instinct is to reply “why not?”, there are a few more compelling reasons. Chiefly, I’m trying to reset my relationship with capitalism and consumerism: by wearing and buying only second hand clothes, I eliminate my main source of witless expenditure (i.e. disposable fashion). It goes all the way: by making only ’70s recipes, with their reliance on things like mince, iceberg lettuce and grated cheese, I will avoid the heavily marketed (and hyper privileged) world of “health” food, which I found so overwhelming in California. Beyond that, from a cultural criticism perspective, I want to examine the ins and outs of the ’70s, in Australia particularly; I think it’s time to reassess the things that we dismiss as “daggy” or “embarrassing” about the ’70s (like disco), as well as for a critical reevaluation of the things we accept as “revolutionary” (like punk).
Why the 1970s?
Aside from the fact that I love ’70s fashion and interior design, because it seems (to me at least) to be the 20th century decade that everyone seems so quick to write off as ten years of mortifying embarrassment; that’s a pretty surefire way to make me want to explore something in more detail.
How hard are you going to go, wardrobe-wise?
With the exception of a few pairs of era-appropriate shoes that I already own, and a laying in of a few packs of baggy-arse cotton undies from Big W, pretty hard. Having to rely on what I can get at op shops or from a handful of eBay/Etsy sellers (more on the Vintage Fashion Industrial Complex at a later date) means that I will have to disconnect from the notion that I can get whatever I want, whenever I want, which was a habit that really came to the fore while living in the USA courtesy of Amazon Prime et al.
So are you going to get rid of your computer, then?
Well, no. This isn’t a total “opting out” endurance test. I’ve got rent to pay, and a job to uphold; I don’t have the privilege (as many “my year off the grid” experimenters have) of being able to drop everything and grow my own biodynamic mungbeans. I’m not going to start hand-delivering typed pages of HTML to my editors. I am going to try to wean myself off my texting addiction and try to make more actual phone calls, however. If and when I can find an appropriate phone at an op shop, that is.
Are you growing your muff back?
Excuse ME! (yes)
Why “Twenty Seventy”?
It’s a gag, geddit? 2070? Living in the 1970s in 2014?? Ah, forget it, Jake, it’s Chinatown.