by Simon Reynolds
Flipping through this book is like rifling through vinyl at a second-hand music stall: you haven't a clue what you'll find, which makes discoveries more exciting. Simon Reynolds argues that the past has elbowed out the present in the form of archived memories and retro-rock borrowing from previous styles. So the 2000s, he contends, have been more about decades of yore repeating themselves than about innovation. Revivals, resissues, remakes and recycling of the immediate past have come to define the start of this century as pop-culture vultures have pandered to a fetish for 'period stylisation expressed creatively through pastiche and citation'. Reynolds asks whether nostalgia is preventing our culture's ability to move forward or whether it's because our culture has stagnated that we have no choice but to look backwards. Although music occupies most of the book, Reynolds also addresses retromania in fashion and furniture. Unfortunately, the book rambles but certain chapters, such as Turning Japanese, are well worth the hunt for that elusive little gem.