Category Archives: Society

Great Expectations: Life as an Unemployed Graduate

This summer university campuses across the land will bear witness to final-year students tossing mortar boards into the air amid scenes of jubilation to celebrate their collective academic success. Many graduates will return home for good in search of work and find themselves facing up to the grim reality of unemployment, a term synonymous with notions of failure and despair, and about as far removed from the joy of a graduation ceremony as you can get.

I graduated in July 2010. I’d had three years suckling on the frosty teat of independence, living away from home with friends and ‘finding myself’ as is de rigueur for the arts student. My student house was shambolic; the washing up never seemed to get done, we’d stay up all hours philosophising about life and no one ever had any milk.

The halcyon days of going to bed at daybreak and irregular mealtimes were soon over. I moved back in with my parents after my graduation ceremony with high hopes of moving out imminently and reclaiming that independence. Except living at home was different now. There were grumblings about how I would have to “pay my way” and “earn a living”. I couldn’t dangle the unconditional-love-of-a-mother-to-her-child carrot in an attempt to sponge off Ma and Pa any longer as this “child” was now a 21-year-old man. The good life was over, but who was I to complain? I expected to find a job soon enough.

I kept reading in the papers how I was part of a “lost generation”, as if I’d sacrificed myself in World War One or something. What if I could never have a career? Continue reading

Advertisements

The London 2012 Olympics is Over. Shame About the Closing Ceremony…

As the 30th Olympiad of the Modern Era, or The Olympics, drew to a close on Sunday night, a nation wept. This may have had more to do with the paucity of talent on display and the omnipresence of Lord Coe than the fact that London 2012 had reached its conclusion, though.

The 2012 Summer Olympic Games is officially titled the Games of the XXX Olympiad, which makes it sound like it is associated in some way with hardcore pornography. One can only imagine what qualifies as an Olympic sport in those Games. Continue reading

The Diamond Jubilee: Why I Won’t Be Celebrating This Carnival of Crassness

Bunting hangs from the thatched rooftops. Local councils are frantically rubberstamping street party requests. Graphic designers commissioned by the Daily Mail are frantically photoshopping a Union Jack emblem onto the paper’s masthead for the weekend edition. All this can mean only one thing: the BNP has won over hoards of floating voters. No? It must be the Queen’s diamond jubilee.

It’s inescapable. Whether it’s a daily two-hour documentary on ITV1 “celebrating” the Queen’s reign, or news coverage voxpopping whooping twats draped in GB flags, punctuated with talking heads banging on about the event “bringing people together”, republicans like me feel completely alienated by this carnival of crassness.

It’s bad enough advertisers trying to sell you crap you don’t need throughout the year without embroidering their products with pictures of a smiling, becrowned QEII, as if to give it the royal seal of approval. Even the decadence lovers’ supermarket Waitrose has held the acceptable face of the anarchic food revolution, Heston Blumenthal, to contract with his own mad take on strawberries and cream.

Some people get offended by tutting, or swearing, or gay marriage. I personally am offended by unearned hereditary privilege. I’m told this makes me irksome, a killjoy. I can’t help it if the mass fawning over the royal family bemuses me. In a country with over £1 trillion of debt, record levels of unemployment, and the continued employment of Adrian Chiles as a television personality, I just think we’ve got other things we should be worrying about.

It will cost around £1.2bn of public money for an extra public holiday to stage this circus show, but the financial cost aside, this is a day that more than any other celebrates and perpetuates a class system of inequality. We supposedly live in a country of social-mobility, achieved through hard work and equal opportunity, though the government is seemingly on a mission to put an end to this. (Obligatory attack on the coalition, tick.) An unelected, undemocratic head of state is antithetic to progress and equality.

Last year’s wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton seemed hellbent on pushing the feminist movement back 40 years; its iconic image being that of a man fully clad in military regalia kissing his new ‘normal’ bride, the privately-educated daughter of a multi-millionaire, who crucially doesn’t appear to have a job.

It’s on occasions like these that the tabloids and breakfast television programmes bask in the so-called “feel-good factor”, blatantly ignoring the general apathy of many Brits, and the amusement of our (republican) neighbours on the continent.

The BBC makes a mockery of claims of left-liberal bias by the royalist right-wing press, pulling out all the stops to cover the event. Huw Edwards will be overseeing the day’s events, flanked by royal experts, a celebrity with tenuous links to the royals, and undoubtedly Nick Bloody Robinson. They’ve even got Fearne Cotton on roving reporter duty. Fearne Cotton.

Presumably Fearne will be racing round the crowds, asking 30-something women what they thought of Pippa Middleton’s outfit while their husbands nod along a little too sagely, so as to deny any accusation that they were too busy leering at her bottom to notice the dress.

Royal sycophants, sorry, “correspondents”, largely exist to oil the wheels of the monarchy’s PR machine.  The Beeb wouldn’t dream of upsetting Her Majesty by placing the finances or tax arrangements of the Royal family under scrutiny for example.

The Republic movement will be protesting against the monarchy at the Thames Diamond Jubliee Pageant on Sunday, for what organisers have dubbed the “biggest republican protest in living memory”, in full view of the royal barge. Don’t expect this to feature in the televised broadcast though.

The royalist celebration won’t stop after the pageant as the jubilee is a four-day event after all. On Monday there’s a jubilee picnic and concert, organised by the BBC and the labyrinthine Take That singer Gary Barlow. So baroque is the Barlow-penned charidee single tie-in, it features Prince Harry banging on a tambourine. It’s like New Wave never happened.

The third most-talented Beatle Sir Paul McCartney is among the performers at the gig, so viewers can expect it to culminate in a fifteen minute chorus of Hey Jude with the Queen and Prince Phillip enthusiastically singing along. I’m loathe to label a publicly-funded charity concert for the Queen screened live on television a “gig”, though.

I’m a 23-year-old republican man with no real commitments. I don’t have a public image to maintain like more important people. This weekend I’ll be marking the jubilee by doing a bit of protesting against it; I might refuse to enter a pub decorated in bunting on principle, for example. I’ll definitely go to watch Prometheus at the cinema, though not in 3D, obviously.

My mum and dad, on the other hand, do plan to celebrate. Not in a big way though. They’re not making the two-hour train journey all the way up to big London to wave Union Jack flags in the Queen’s general direction while chowing down on overpriced, ironic Danish pastries from an opportunist street vendor. They’ll watch the jubilee events on television, briefly reminisce about the silver jubilee and bemoan the lack of a street party, then switch over and watch a repeat edition of Midsomer Murders.

This article was published on the Sabotage Times 03/06/12