I’ve been reading a few old favourites in the last couple of months – books from 1950s and 60s - and one of the things that really makes an impact are the references to cigarette smoking, often used, I think, to make the characters look modern and sophisticated. Now it really hits you that this is a book from another time period.
It's the same on stage and screen, with plays and films from an earlier era. If you go to a play by Noel Coward or Terrance Ratttigan the characters are always reaching for a cigarette. And what about that heart rending romantic trick with the two cigarettes in Now Voyager?
Cigarettes now having a bad press, what has taken their place as the yardstick of glamour? Alcohol? Do we have more scenes set in pubs, clubs and bars? I suspect we might. Is sipping a mean Margarita the height of sophistication? It will be interesting to see if a time comes when booze also goes out of fashion.
Cars, shoes and consumer goods also have their place in setting a scene, and it's not all product placement. Maybe they will also fall away in cash strapped times.
I'd be interest in other opinions. What things in a book date it for you?
Before you leave - American Title V begins the last round to day. If you want to know who made it to the final and read the love scenes - rumour has it that they are hot, hot, hot - drop in to the Romantic Times site to cast your vote.