Wednesday, April 15, 2020

The truth about wallpaper

Their satanic majesties successfully requested and the wallpaper industry answered. For my generation, the wallpaper designs of the mid twentieth century inflicted upon us as youngsters have resulted in a great deal of damage being done to our development and mental health. It's the unseen, unresearched, unspoken curse of Boomers, we were sabotaged by decorative cruelty. Now we are but shadow people, stunted and afraid, turned in on ourselves and shattered. Perhaps it was all a government plot or some side effect of the Cold War, I can't be sure.

Growing up in the fifties we (?) were subjected to constant daytime and bedtime torment due to having to fall asleep or play staring at horrid, shoddy designs plastered onto damp walls by well meant but poorly advised family members. Houses all over and particularly bedrooms were zones of terrible design and decoration carnage. The sitting room was no better, the wallpaper there had even bigger and more lurid patterns, if you could ignore them then wooden bodied radios screamed at you in brass band tones, laughed at you via Worker's Playtime or confused you during Children's hour with plummy English accents. No wonder we stared into those patterns looking for escape but sadly finding only more confusion.

The horror of it all still haunts us: patterned demons, open mouths, dragons and foul beasts, crazy patterns that drained away or fired up your imagination, faded colours and damaged surfaces. I could go on and I am. Some ugly papers were also badly fitted, bulging into corners, not stuck down properly, overlapped or scored, stained and faded, plain smelly with damp and condensation marks. Ugh. So the walls were bad but worse was to come. The floors!

Linoleum, the killer of dreams from Kirkcaldy. The tattered edges, the breaking down, the aging process, the ill fitting cuts, the patterns (again it comes back to those patterns). No wonder we're in the mess we're in. Little did we know that fitted shag pile was lying in wait for us in the 70s.

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