Luso-Retro: Past and Present Portuguese Representations of Mid-Twentieth Century Rock ‘n’ Roll and Americana Subculture

Published: 2019

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The American 1950s will not be left alone, continually revived every decade since in films, music, fashion and other artistic enterprises, this book explores this phenomenon and analyses its implications.
In the process of uncovering the possible continued international fascination and appeal of the 1950s, here in the context of the Portuguese proponents of this revival culture, discourses on nostalgia, commodification of the 1950s and Portugal’s historical and political past is brought forth, revealing various issues including Portugal and its empire’s initial experiences with rock ‘n’ roll culture during the Portuguese authoritarian regime and moreover, the contemporary representations of this past, that seems to avoid Portugal entirely, focused instead on an American aesthetic.

Supported by interviews with some of the leading Portuguese musicians and fashion designers of 1950s American style, as well as scholarly insights, the Portuguese 1950s vintage scene and, by extension, the wider contemporary 1950s scene – the Retro International is explored in ways that makes us think about the trajectory of culture, how many of us are mesmerised by the past, so much so, that it is perpetually recycled and brought back to life in the present, but why is this happening?