Writing inspirations – Hollywood-style magic from the golden age of deco

Today’s writing inspiration – for NaNoWriMo entrants and for writers of all persuasions – is a photo I took in Napier, New Zealand. The self-styled ‘art deco capital of the world’, and a place where architects consciously looked to Hollywood and the magic of the movies when re-building the city after a devastating earthquake in 1931.

Party time in Napier's main 'art deco' precinct, February 2014.
Party time in Napier’s main ‘art deco’ precinct, February 2014.

I took this during the annual Art Deco weekend in February 2014. It was a wonderful moment to be in a city that deliberately looks to the magic of the age of deco. Not deco as it was, but deco as we want it to be; art deco in which Clark Gable or  Ingrid Bergman might step out of the nearest doorway; art deco of the golden age of cinema. And that, I think, is inspiring for any writer.

Copyright © Matthew Wright 2014

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6 thoughts on “Writing inspirations – Hollywood-style magic from the golden age of deco

  1. Rather like Nero’s personal fantasyland after the great fire of Rome… although a tad more democratic ~wink.

    Quite interesting from a philosophical point of view – a dream of a dream of a dream, but built of concrete to cover over the very real concrete physical trauma of the past… or in other words… nice.

    1. Exactly! The reality of Napier deco in the 1930s and as it stands today is a mere symbol for the dreams around which these smallish structures have been wrapped – and re-wrapped. It’s this recursion of concept that, for me, makes the place so amazing.

  2. There are some styles that we hope never come back, but I wouldn’t mind a resurgence of Art Deco. I like the curves and sweeping lines of it. I’ll bet that’s a fun festival.

    1. It’s a fabulous festival – and I don’t say that just because it’s an excuse for me to head back to my old home town. It draws in SO much – the reality of the ‘Pacific Rim’ culture shared between Australia, NZ and the US West Coast over more than 150 years but especially in the 19th century – layered up with a sense of being on a Flash Gordon movie set (or, better still, actually IN Flash Gordon🙂 …). Then there’s the vintage car and aircraft aspect – this has become the biggest 1930s car meet and WW2 air show in New Zealand. And that’s just from my perspective. Others go for the 1930s dress-ups, the organised tea parties, or the dozens of other things that happen around the place at that time. The way that the festival fires the imaginations of all who go there is simply extraordinary.

      1. Wow! That sounds extraordinary. I love the Flash Gordon aspect of it. My wife would love the costumes. I think I would really enjoy this, especially the ww2 airshow.

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