Here We Go Again… 2011!

Well the hangover has finally worn off and having now emerged bleary eyed and hopeful, 2011 seems to have kicked off to a spectacular start. Once again, any faith in the New Year improving on any of the nonsense the previous year had to offer has been totally unfounded. Naïve I know. How are we to expect anything better, given the sorry state of affairs that reached its culmination but a few short weeks ago? The year kicked off with a political and economic situation so fucked to present as a solution not one, but a momentous union of two absolutely feckless upper class moron leaders who inspire, at best apathy, and at worst the desire to massacre the pair of them. Or at least cut off their expense accounts and make them go and live with the poor people. God forbid. The best hope we have so far is that they’ll manage to raise education fees to the extent that eventually no one will be informed enough to understand the intricate and self serving motives behind whatever it is they manage to screw up next.

It also seems to be a year in which everyone has lost faith in any modern relationship having even a hopeful and underlying chance of survival. Monogamy and lasting love seem to be a quaint fifties notion, cemented by the fact that most couples had to stay together bonded by financial necessity. This is a situation the current government seems keen to replicate by economically penalising those who mess up their relationships. To err is human. To financially castrate is divine. Apparently.

But hey, it’s not like any other applicable solution seems to have presented itself. Why not look backwards with rose tinted glasses (the modern addition may now be rose tinted 3D specs, although the fifties also had the 3D cinematic phenomenon sorted I believe) if the only alternative is to look forward into a world where having failed to distract ourselves with nightmarish fairy tales of potential terrorists lurking around every corner, the only distraction we now have is watching ‘celebs’ eating kangaroo bollocks in a fake jungle setting or the X Factor. I mean, who cares about relationships or politics when we can ponder whether or not Cheryl Cole will get her tattoos removed or if she’s screwing some dancer.

We can’t even afford to drown our sorrows down the pub anymore. So down to Tesco for some tinnies and back to the sofa it will have to be. And what are we urged to do in order to change this situation? Get famous. No one gives a damn how. Get your tits out maybe. Sing Over the Rainbow. Tell the Sun just how much Meow Meow messed up your life. Or ketamin messed up your kidneys. Or seek out the next fashionable drug to sweep the streets, name it something catchy and ban it without bothering to listen to any researchers on the matter. Just make sure the sensationalist media is listening. We don’t need research. Sod investigative journalism. We have Wiki Leaks or the anonymously tipped rumour mill to keep us going. Maybe try and catch some callous nutter chucking a cat in a bin on CCTV. Everyone will quickly forget about the larger tragedies and corruption the world.

The moral to 2011 seems to run thus; Don’t think, don’t expect anything to last, and for God’s sake don’t expect any of it mean anything. It’s not the modern mantra to strive for any substance. Unless a token glance into some Eastern spirituality will ease your conscience and give you a fleeting sense of purpose – do yoga or a meditation class for a couple of weeks. It is January and therefore time to resolve to try, and the rapidly fail at committing to something after all. We just need to keep chasing our fifteen minutes. Or money. Or just buy something. Or try for better looks. That’ll make us happy. And we can chase the dream for longer now that we can fill our faces with botox. No one will know the difference. If you pick that route they wont even see the frown lines or the pain and emptiness in your eyes at having failed so miserably to achieve a goal that was an ephemeral fallacy in the first place.

We’ll all be so beautiful that you wont even notice the pointlessness of it all.

Interview with Radio 1′s Dominic Byrne about their band ‘Folkface’ – playing @ Prom in Bristol Aug 6th.

Interview with Radio 1 breakfast show’s Comedy Dave & Doninc Byrne

Dominic Byrne & Dave ‘Comedy Dave’ Vitty are ‘FOLKFACE’ – Interview about their first Bristol gig

What did you make of Bristol?

Bristol was great! We’ve both been here before, but never as Folkface. Its night one of our tour, and we couldn’t have asked for a better crowd. We had major rehearsals before hand in the village hall where I live, which at least gave us a rough idea of what we were doing. The crowd was brilliant, the venue was great, and everyone here is called Dave – and I like Dave’s!
So Bristol hasn’t put you off doing the rest of the tour?
No. I think Bristol really suits us. We were saying so when we were driving in. Bristol has a lovely arty feel to it. It’s really laid back, and although we aren’t really that arty, we are really laid back, so it suited us well! We couldn’t have asked for a better start really.

So is this the first step on the road to bidding farewell to the Radio stuff and becoming ‘proper’ musicians?

No. It’s something that started on the Chris Moyle’s show, and we thought it would be interesting to see what we could do with it. Venues like this are absolutely perfect. In our heads, we’re playing Wembley stadium. It’s an indulgence for us. Genuinely I thought the crowd were lovely, and there were lots of hands in the air, which is always a good sign. We don’t want to give too much away about what we do in the gig, or we’ll spoil it for anyone who may come to the future gigs, but it’s not just music, there’s a certain amount of audience interaction, which is really fun. Obviously it was the first night for us in Bristol, and you never know quite what is going to happen from one song to the next. I really enjoyed not knowing what was going to happen. And Dave’s noseflute was amazing this evening I think.

How different is performing as Folkface from your dealings with radio 1? What did it feel like being the ‘feature’?

It’s weird, because we’re used to being part of the backline I suppose. We’re usually just part of the team. That’s quite comforting really, because in a nice way, you don’t get all of the attention. Then walking in tonight you panic and think, ‘Oh God, they’re all here to see us’. It carries with it a certain level of expectation and responsibility, but there was no animosity whatsoever in the crowd. It was a bit like doing a gig for family and friends. The fact that it was so friendly meant that we were totally at ease. I mean, well, any gig that has a raffle half way through has a friendly vibe! That and the self appointed Q & A session. I mean the Arctic Monkeys never did a Q & A session. And they’ve definitely never done a raffle.

When you’re interviewing famous band with Radio 1, have you always had the itch? The feeling that you want to be there, doing what they are?

Well, we get a lot of bands through the doors at radio 1, and an awful lot of them are very good. I wouldn’t even dare compare Folkface to any of them, but there are few who you think, well, they shouldn’t even be there, let alone be being played on Radio 1. Not naming and names obviously. But Folkface, well it’s just tongue in cheek. It’s a bit of a laugh. We’d just like people to like it, and that’s the only level it’s at. We wouldn’t want it to be more serious than that. We took rehearsals quite seriously. But all we wanted to do was hope that we didn’t massively screw it up, and to remember at least most of the words. And I don’t think we screwed up majorly. It was ok. No. Scrap that. Bristol was a triumph. Prom was a perfect starting point, there were lots of friendly faces, and we had loads of fun.

So will you continue Folkface until you get bored?

Well, who knows. Either that or until everyone else gets bored! I think the decision about how long we will continue will be made for us by the fans. If we have any!

Any plans to release an album?

Well, who’s to say. The world is our oyster. It would be nice though, having a folk album. Who knows. Maybe we could do one and call it who knows.

Check out www.theprom.co.uk for gig photos & upcoming gigs

Bitter, Moi?

What is the point of relationships anyway?

Am I too young to realise what great importance they provide us?

You’re raised from an early age to believe that this is the aim of all things (that and a career obviously). I don’t mean this in a feminist way. I’m not going to get on my high horse about the wrongs and misguided notions of Walt Disney. Men have been raised the same way. And it isn’t the fault of the fifties, the golden age of unbroken marriages and prosperity. It isn’t the fault of idealistic notions of marriage and children. It isn’t the fault of all the love songs we have all listened to all our lives. It’s the fault of the human need to organize everything, and make it mean something, and be recognizable to someone else.

It doesn’t mean anything. Who the hell said nothing means anything else unless it’s recognised by someone else. I’ve never been the romantic type. I’ve never thought anything I do is going to end happily. I never minded. Until now. Until the guilt was put upon me by parents, friends, friends of boyfriends, and boyfriends themselves.

What the hell are you doing?

That’s what they ask.

Some out loud, and some by inference.

Well, what the hell are you doing? Feeling proud? Of course you are, it’s written all over your face. Well, answer me this. Without me, without the fuck up, the useless yardstick by which you measure yourself, what the hell are you doing? If everyone were like you – building a home, holding down a paper pushing pointless job, making plans you’ll never follow through, getting engaged with whichever ring outdoes the ring the other guy in your department bought – where the fuck would you be?

You. Coasting along without being noticed for anything either pitiful or proud. You’d have no one to patronise without me. No one to belittle. No one to look at and persuade yourself that you’ve done better. I may not be happy, but neither are you. So run it off after work. Buy the matching shirt and tie. Act rebellious and sleaze on the secretary after work when your missus isn’t there. Take her to business dinners and try to impress her. Or your Boss. Or anyone who is bored enough to notice you.

You’re still an attention seeking child, still a rebellious teen, just as much as I am. And if learning to hide it is being successful and adult, then here’s my adult response. Fuck you. Shove your judgement up your arse. We’ll both probably die in the same boring, ephemeral, drawn out way. But I’ll do it with a glass of wine in front of the fire, and you’ll do it with an earl grey in front of the Aga.

And neither of us will deserve it more than the other. We’re both as pointless as each other. So what’s the difference fool?

For all you facebook addicts…

Facebook rant

Another Birthday…

Right, it was my birthday on Friday, and, as such, I am attempting to turn over a brand new leaf.

I got mightily hammered on the night itself, had a wicked time, sewed myself (I think anyway) an excellent Noddy outfit, complete with blue hat and bell and made a complete and utter twat out of myself.

So, as with every passing year, this one is no exception. I am full of good intentions. I will be a real person now. Less drinking. Less humiliation and self loathing. More direction. Less cynisism. Better behaviour toward my fellow man. Do some excercise. Apply myself to writing more. Write less when drunk and miserable. Be more positive.

You know, the usual.

So, I start this makeover of the soul with a trip to St. Ives, which I will enjoy and find relaxing. I’ll report back. I’m sunny side up already. This blog has thus far tended to illuminate the negative, out the irritating and generally have a little moan. But no more. The report of my couple of days away will be less the painful regret-tinged hangover, and more of the bit when you feel tipsy and the night is full of promise.

You’ll see.

Probably…

Oh no, not another Tesco…

My day was put out when I spent ten minutes waiting for a bus outside Somerfield on Gloucester Rd before I realised that all the busses had been diverted – the road through Stokes Croft was closed due to some kind of ruckus. So, only slightly miffed as it was such a sunny day, I set off to walk into town. As I got into Stokes Croft I thought there had been some horrific accident. The scene was chaotic. Police vans, a cherry picker, a lot of noise, and a couple of TV camera crews… and what was all this chaos about? ‘The Say No to Tesco’ campaign.

Squatters had taken over the site (previously Jesters comedy club which is due to be turned into the new Tesco) and ingeniously cemented themselves into barrels and super-glued themselves to poles in protest. The obvious way to encourage change I‘m sure you’ll agree. The street below was full of the usual crusties who turn up at demonstrations shouting at police about ‘behaving themselves because they have an audience’, about ‘the residents right to defend their area from the evils of capitalism’, and an array of chants, music and generally irritating noise blaring from a loudspeaker which was probably having the biggest effect on the neighbours who must have been hoping the police could get the lot of them moved on asap, whatever their views on Tesco.

The first thing that occurred to me was the massive police presence. Who was watching the rest of Bristol, and ensuring no proper crime was taking place? I’m sure the police were happy to get out of the office and out in the sunshine in any case. The prospect of another Tesco popping up in a rough area like Stokes Croft is firstly, surprising, and secondly, something which will undoubtedly damage business in what is currently a famously independent and vibrantly characteristic area. However, all this being said, is cementing yourself in a barrel on a roof top with your mates the best way to go about changing the minds of the chaps who grant planning permission? I doubt it. And, yes, they received a lot of attention, and given the sunshine, a lot of supporters who were more than happy to while away an otherwise boring Tuesday milling about to see if the bloke was successfully dislodged from the bucket. But sorry guys, despite the fuss and the general disruption, I fear your efforts wont amount to diddly squat in the way of persuading the powers that be to change their plans.

I agree that another Tesco is going to be damaging to local independent business. It’s also unnecessary – there are more than enough in the area already. It’s also great that people are willing to stand up for their beliefs, making themselves (blaringly) heard over the ever dominant soulless behemoth corporations that invade every corner of modern life . But focus your energies at the right people. Yes dipping your limbs in cement shows dedication, but this, like all other hippie type protests about all manner of other concerns will be forgotten this time next week, and the evil and mightily powerful Tesco will continue its plans to take over the consumer market and capitalise on everything, one little area at a time.

Appeal the bad decisions. You’re much more likely to get somewhere, and it looks a bit more professional. It also means you don’t have to spend most of the day stuck in a barrel of concrete or sitting in the road waiting to get removed one by one by the old bill. If you’re going to do that, at least exhaust other avenues of complaint first. Wait till the day they start building. Even the mighty Tesco doesn’t have the brass balls to concrete over you, even if you’re quite happy to concrete over yourself. Although they probably would if they could get away with it. What’s the slogan again? Every little man crushed on the road to total market domination helps. Or something similar.

The Mid-Twenties Crisis

Argh. What the hell am I doing?

I have spent the last four nights fidgeting in bed, unable to get comfortable no matter what I do. And after failed flailings and grumblings, I have resigned to lying on my back, listening to my boyfriend snoring, and thinking. Or, like now, getting up, drinking wine, and writing nonsense.

Thinking.

Horror of all horrors. Thinking, pondering, and worrying, about a million different things. I have then woken, knackered and stressed, and headed off to work.

Now this is not an uncommon scenario, and I don’t expect any sympathy. Many people have the same experience, and with much more regularity than me. And I’m certain they have pondered problems with a lot more gravity than mine. However, the thing that worries me most, aside from all the practical considerations, is the big question. The one big question that has foxed me. ‘Aren’t I too young to be thinking this much?!’

And so starts the mid twenties crisis.

For Gods sake! I’m young, I’ve not got a heroin addiction, I’m not living on the street, I’ve not got any illegitimate children to raise all on my own. I’m not married, or divorced. My boyfriend doesn’t beat me. I’m not out of work. I’m in good health (relatively) and I have good friends. I studied philosophy and so should have a good handle on life. I read proper literature (occasionally) and enjoy other people’s perspectives on life. I’m in debt, but so is everyone. It’s Labour, it’s a recession. It’s expected. And besides, I’m not the sort of person who gets stressed.

And what does all this positive rationalisation grant me? Guilt on top of panic! I haven’t even earned the right to get myself into this state! I can just hear my mother in the days I lived at home saying ‘what on earth have you got to be stressed about? Wait till you get to my age…’

And before any of you start…

Yes, I am young, and I have plenty of time to ruin, (ahem) achieve my hopes and dreams. But, you old and you wise, think on. And I say this because I have often been advised. The wisdom you impart is grown from the mistakes you have made. And, from my always-eager-to-listen experience, many of the mistakes you have made occurred in your mid twenties. The mistakes you make in your teens are just the inexperience of youth, easily dismissed. The mistakes you make later are (whether you really believe it or not) passed of as faux pas; things you knew were wrong, things that despite your better judgment, you did anyway. Wryly and knowingly you laugh at yourself when things go tits up. At least later problems can be classified by others as ‘proper’ problems. Mortgages, divorce and the like. But what about that segue, that limbo between blind hope and regret? The middle bit where you’re neither taken seriously nor taken with a pinch of salt.

I haven’t got married or had children. I don’t want to right now. But should I want to? Lots of my friends have. Many of my friend’s parents had by the time they were my age. Will that desire kick in? Maybe it won’t. We’re in an age of equal opportunity. Should I feel bad because I haven’t felt that desire, or should I feel bad because I’m worried that I haven’t? I went to uni, and I wanted to be writer. I wanted to make a difference, to have a job that is unique to me. Should I feel young and naïve because I’m still clinging to the dream despite no tangible signs it will work out? Should I just a get a job that ensures I can pay all the bills and be done with it? Am I drinking and going out too much? I should have be acting like an adult by now. Or, maybe I should be doing what I’m doing and enjoying my youth. I’ve only just managed to secure a job that pays an average wage, and I’m really pleased that I can afford the rent, and some booze on a weekend. My mother is upset that I have a degree and she’s disappointed that I’ve not done better. Is she right? Am I being practical or defeatist? Should I scrape by and add to my already massive student debt in the hope I can do better, or should I take what I can get? Should I be proud of my degree or should I talk in dry and cynical tones about the fact that in the real world it doesn’t mean much? Should I keep my options open, or commit to the moment and build for the future? When people at work, who have been in the job much longer than me disagree and patronise, should I assume they are older and wiser, or should I challenge them despite my youth and inexperience? I love the man I’m with right now, should I think of that as forever, or should I think of it as fleeting mid twenties fun?

And that is just a small selection of the questions that my supid sleepy brian poses at night.

I’ve only got a few more years until I’m thirty. That’s when you should know where you are, you should have the career, that relationship, the family, the plan.

Unless, I suppose, you’re being spoken to by someone who’s forty. Then you’re still a kid.

That is, unless you’re forty and being spoken to by someone who’s fifty. Obviously.

I suppose the only conclusion I have to draw, from philosophers to parents to children to husbands to friends, is that none of us knows what the fuck we’re dong, despite the wisdom we impart. I think it just makes us feel better to have someone to impart that wisdom to.

But, despite that, I’m still in debt, and I’m still a woman getting older and uglier saggier and running out of time to build a successful career, whatever that is. So I’d better stop this panic, put down the wine, and try and get a good nights sleep so I can do my best at work tomorrow. Even though I hate the job. Besides, I’d better keep the boyfriend happy, he’s sober and in bed now, and he might be the one. I’ll keep trying at what I really want to do, but quietly, and on the sly, because it’s not as endearing a dream as it was when I was sixteen. It’s a bit embarrassing to say you want to be a writer out loud at my age, unless you’ve anything to show for yourself that is.

But with all the other commitments, it’s hard to find time to fit it in. Never a minute to myself. Well, it doesn’t do to complain. Just get on with it, keep your head down, think of the pennies…

Oh Shit. I sound just like my mother.

The January Blues

Another Christmas has been and gone, as hectic and uneventful as all those which proceeded it, the distraction of planning where to go on New Years Eve has passed, (we went to Thekla, and a fun, if slightly messy time was had by all) and here we are again, edging slowly, gloomily, through January. In an attempt to explain the conundrum I refer to as ‘The January Blues’ I will relay to you a misery inspiring top five of the mirthless topics of conversation I have been dragged into so far this week.
1. The weather. Numerous accounts of what terrible, cold, grey weather we are having has passed between myself, people at work, people on the bus, people in the newsagents where I buy my cigarettes (another resolution broken already), in fact between myself and people anywhere that warrants small talk. We English really do need something new to discuss.
2. Ahem, the weather. Again. An extension of point one really. The discussion of the terrible weather inevitably leads on to the discussion of the lack of sunlight, of useable hours in the day, and to getting up in the dark, and returning home in the dark. This leads to the assertion that you, I and everyone I speak to suspects they may in fact have that January specific illness, Seasonal Affective Disorder, complete with glib acronym, SAD.
3. Money. The amount of debt everyone has accumulated over the merry Christmas present buying period, which at the time of accumulation presented the dream of happy smiling faces Christmas morning, but that now looks totally different in the grey light of January. ‘Its not as if Christmas was that special anyway’. Every year.
4. Sickness. Everyone has either a cold, or more often (at least as they tell it) flu. People are ill. People have no energy. If you aren’t ill yet, you’re paranoid that you may get ill. There is no time for illness in January. You need to work all the hours you can to pay off all that Christmas debt after all. This leads to you sitting on the jam- packed bus on the way to work, next to some bloke coughing his guts up, covering your mouth with your jumper sleeve and praying you don’t inhale any of his germs.
5. Vital Statistics. The other conversations I have been begrudgingly involved in are those ‘informative’ ones, where someone has picked up apparently factual statistics, collated by no-one knows who, worked out for who knows what reason, and obtained, no-one knows where. Statistics this week have included; ‘did you know today is statistically the most depressing day of the year?’ ‘Did you know that statistically the most suicides occur on this date every year?’ ‘Did you know that most couples break up on this date every year? Really. And all in January. It’s apparently a very unlucky month.

So why must we be so morose about life at the start of every New Year? We need to fight back, slap January around its miserable grey face and think of all the positive aspects that this time of year can offer us. Right, having wracked my brains for at least five minutes, here are some positive things about January…

1. January sales. Although it is disturbingly hectic in town, and I had to practically physically fight for it in Debenhams, I picked up a beautiful new coat for a tenner! Also, although you know you probably won’t even attempt all that health and fitness related stuff you resolved to do, you can always ease you conscience the easy way and buy vitamins, which are also half price.
2. A clean slate. January is the best excuse to forget/ignore all the stupid and shameful things you did in the previous year. That bumbling, far from eloquent mess you personified last year has no bearing on the ‘new’ you. You have turned over a new leaf, and you can declare it to people. They might even believe you. You may even believe yourself.
3. Laziness. There are undeniably far fewer daylight hours, and baby it’s cold outside. So stay in. You have to wear bulky clothes, so you may as well eat as much junk as you like; no one is going to know (until summer) and the darkness means you can have lovely long lye-ins without the sun interrupting your slumber in the morning. Animals stock up on food and hibernate in the winter, and if nature dictates it, who are we to argue? You’re not wasting the day, after all, its only five hours long.
4. Being Grumpy. Even saints get bloody grumpy for no discernable reason sometimes. Those days where you just want to moan, put the world to rights, be arsy to clients at work, tell salespeople what you really think of them, start an argument with someone for the hell of it. Well, January is the best excuse in the world. Blame it on SAD. It’s a real illness. People may even feel sorry for you if you’re lucky.

So if you think about it, maybe January isn’t all that bad after all. It just depends on how you look at it, and while I have been writing this it has actually started to snow! Given the fact that it has up until now been raining all day, it probably wont stick, but looking out of my window Bristol really does look very beautiful, and snow, no matter what your age never fails to cheer people up. There are in fact lots of faces doing exactly what I am and looking out of their windows at the weather, and I just got a nod of mutual snow appreciation from a very cute bloke in a suit from the office window opposite. Hmm, could be the start of some beautiful January romance, after all, he’s probably single, it was ‘officially’ break up day at some point last week…

Show Hippies

Picture from SodaHead.com

I moved into a shared house in Bristol, because basically, the room was really cheap. I knew one of the blokes who lived there, and liked him a lot. And it was in this shared house that I met him. That modern day wonder, the show hippie. Not that he wanted to be known as a hippie of course. Having made the mistake of branding him as such, I was quickly corrected;

‘I hate it when people call me a hippie. I’m not a hippie’.

‘So what are you then?’ I had to ask.

‘Well… not a hippie. I just believe in being self sufficient. I hate the system… people get so caught up in the money and the materialism. They need to get back to their roots, to creating things for themselves, to live free from the man, maan’.

And this is how he talked. Nice idea right. I’m not a massive supporter of capitalism or anything, but there is nothing worse than a show hippie.

I got home from work on a Wednesday, another uneventful, long day in another indistinguishable admin job, to find show hippie sitting on the sofa, joint smoking lazily away in the ashtray, Xbox controller in hand, staring fixedly at the screen.

‘Good day?’ I enquired as I took my shoes off and put my bag down.

‘Yeah man. You?’ He asked without looking up.

‘Same old, I’m knackered’ I replied. ‘Fancy a cuppa?’

After a long pause, ‘Yeah’, he said, still not looking away from the things he was killing on screen.

So off I trundled, downstairs to put the kettle on. It took me ten minutes to locate the kettle and two mugs, and to rinse them in the small space between the pile of festering plates in the sink and the faucet, so feeling pretty pissed off, but not in the mood for a moan (I’m no one’s mum after all) I took the tea upstairs, got out a cigarette and sat down. But fragile peace was ruined as I took the first drag by the following comment;

‘It must get you down, yeah? Working for the man’?’

Fuck. Here we go again I thought. ‘The man’ The bloody man. I really was in no mood to get into this conversation, so I didn’t respond. Until came the next show hippie pearl of wisdom;

‘I couldn’t do it’.

Right, that was it. I was actively pissed off now.

‘So what have you done today?’ I asked. Intonation intended, but sadly overlooked.

‘Well, (big toke from his joint) I’ve been making these patchwork trousers’.

Right.

‘And I planted some more tomatoes’.

But no time to do any washing up. I thought silently to myself, and opted for the much less stressful option of not entering into any debate.

‘Cool’. I said, and left the room.

Thursday, I get home, and there he is, sitting on the sofa in his patchwork trousers. Attention glued to the Xbox again. Only today, I had a glass of wine after work, and when I got in I had poured myself another. In a paper cup left over from one of their house parties, because I really couldn’t face the kitchen.

‘Another day working for the man.’ He said.
And after another dope filled pause;
‘I couldn’t do it’.

Well, that was it. Today I had to get involved. Where does this lazy tosser get off (I thought) judging me whilst sitting on his arse, in his bloody patchwork creations playing Halo all day. Given all the weed he smokes, I’m amazed he can manage to be judgmental and shoot aliens at the same time!

‘So what would you like to do?’ I ask.

‘Well, (another big toke) I’ve never really found a job that suited me’.

‘What job do you think would suit you?’

‘One that helps sustain the planet. Where I’m not part of the system’. I just know I couldn’t work for the man’.

Argh! The man again.

‘So what would you do to sustain the planet?’ I ask, genuinely interested in what answer this lazy bum is going to come up with the save the world.

‘I don’t know. I grow things and I paint. I did a degree in art, but I got a 3rd because they didn’t understand my work.’

Tempted as I was, I managed to restrain myself from pointing out that you had to do a fair bit of work for an art degree, and that, rather than misunderstood genius, was much more likely to have been the key to his downfall.

Anyway, he continued, ‘I work at the health food shop on a Saturday, but I can’t do anymore hours because if I do, I don’t qualify for jobseekers anymore, and then they wont pay the rent and I haven’t found anywhere else to live yet’.

What? What? Jobseekers? What happened to hating the system? This little shit is getting his rent and his dope paid for, and I’m living in a cheap room and working in a job I hate so I can pay mine? So maybe he has a point. I’m starting to hate the man too. I put this point to him. And he says it’s a means to an end.

What he would like to do is be self sufficient. Build his own home, grow his own veg, be one with the earth. Like an episode of the good life but out in the sticks, with felicity Kendal in dreadlocks and patchwork trousers, and really high on weed.

‘So why,’ I ask, ‘do you not follow this dream? Why not move to the country and live out this master plan instead of signing on every week, playing computer games and growing the odd tomato plant in the centre of Bristol?’

And the following comment put an abrupt end to the conversation.

‘Because I really like the music and drugs scene here, it’s more fun than the country’.

I got up and left, and calling behind me, show hippie shouts;
‘Any of that wine left?’

Buy your fucking own I think. But the little bugger has it right in some ways.

Yes, his morals are nonsensical and really he lacks the conviction and motivation to follow any of them through. Yes, he is in his late twenties, perfectly capable of finding a job, but opting to spend his days sitting on his lazy disillusioned ass anyway. But, he does have enough conviction to at least attempt to expound some morals. He also is perfectly right to condemn the system and damn the man. Any system that finances this shit when genuinely struggling people don’t qualify is wrong.

However, what he has that I lack is the tenacity to ignore any social judgement and use the system to get his rent and living costs paid, to value himself, without any proof, as being above all the jobs that the rest of us take to get by.

I know it’s a recession and jobs are bloody hard to come by, but while we’re all trying, some of these show hippies are apparently doing better than we are, without the feeling of hopelessness, tiredness and pessimism. And the cheeky little gits are judging us as lacking in moral fibre whilst doing it.

Maybe I should just pack it all in, get down the social and take up patchwork.