Twenty-Five going on Thirty

Note: The following is an absurdly personal projection of anxiety.

Having turned twenty-five earlier this year, and it’s impossible not to realise that there are roughly five more years until my single, barely employable, living back in the family home status is completely abhorrent to anyone with an ounce of self-respect.

Settle down they say, as many do at this point in their life (though millennials are increasing this age by the minute), get a stable job with a good income and career prospects in a field you have a keen passion for (yes try this when you have a 2:2 degree in radio and have had several awful jobs in the past year). And of course, find yourself a place to live and make your home, (indeed do this as a single male on minimum wage paying off a University overdraft, a credit card and house rent).

These indeed all sound like completely sad and if anything bullshit excuses, but these are realities that I and a large number of the population are faced with that are completely unavoidable in their significantly urgent existences. Despite the odds being stacked against us, there is a deeply ferocious desire to tackle these problems which are increasingly endemic in the current day.

Being Twenty-Five raises the volume on the swirling voices begging to have these basic needs and desires tended to with dextrous wit and the utmost care.
The broken horizon should be littered with plans, things to look forward to and goals to be netted, and yet the glitter of prosperity is indeed fogged with clouds of uncertainty.

Then where do we even begin?
The most painstaking of them all perhaps, romance?

No romantic interests on this horizon, regardless of the undeniable yearning for the affection of a partner and despite these churning yearnings, there is no single intention to have a romantic interest, let alone a partner.
The risks are far too great at this moment in time; in times of uncertainty what one needs above all is concrete ground to stand upon and at least a view of more solids on which to stand in the near and far future.
A new relationship would lend itself only momentarily to the cement mixer but only to clog it and turn far too stogie as the spins reveal cracks in the floor before it had even begun to exist.

And beyond that, were there to be no cracks, no problems, no worries, that is only for the foreseeable future. Women this age (mid-twenties) are seeking a man ready for the deepest of all commitments, and desire long standing emotional contracts with which you fulfil their needs and they yours. Indeed it’s a beautiful thing and envy is the only word that springs to mind when considering those who are capable of delivering such heavy goods.

The social media feed is growing rampant with pictures of fresh, new born children in the arms of those I spent time learning or partying with. And, untraditionally my response is to shudder and feel sorry for these people seemingly ‘happy’ with their fleshy amalgam of shared genes.
These seemingly concrete and powerful eventualities of human life only bring with them one additional certainty and one alone, that is that you can produce a child; other than that, what you have done is begun to turn the key to your very own Pandora’s Box.
And that is something anyone should avoid if they are not certain it is what they want or know it to be a weight that they cannot hope to carry. It’s not just your life that you’re fucking with now.

So, with no clear line of career, the previously mentioned topic should not even be within the scope of possibility. Having no idea of where things are going and no confidence in the semi-motivated, semi-aggressive pursuit of the ‘big dream’.

Whilst confronted daily with ‘entry level’ positions with a salary range of £11,000 – £20,000 a year that require a year minimum experience and proven track record, is it any wonder why minimum wage work is so popular with graduates now? Did we perhaps enter in to the University game too late when the fee’s trebled in size and the graduate workforce became too saturated? (My guess is yes). This generation of highly educated hard working grads is taking a pounding from the Job markets inability to facilitate such a huge number of fresh graduates with more debt than ever in a world where the economy is bust.

All this potential for prosperity and yet, two years past graduation, there has been a deep swell of rejection emails and phone calls to verify that you have not got the job, for reasons such as ‘the other candidate lived closer’, they ‘negotiated a lower wage’ (yes that does happen), ‘you lacked the experience despite this being a job that comes with training’. The list goes on and rarely does it come down to lack of skill and at times it has come down to being ‘over experienced’ and the employer has a ‘fear of holding me back’ from what I truly wish to do in life. Which is one of the most insulting phrases I have ever heard as if that was the case, I wouldn’t be here.

It’s pure savagery, and frankly it’s exhausting.

So if you haven’t had a child yet, or a secure job with a decent career and a partner, then you most certainly have not come close to flying the nest.
You most certainly did if you went to university and were fortunate enough to find yourself in a position to stay in your University town, but things aren’t always so simple nor are they easy for the average working class graduate.
Then again, sometimes you have to bite the bullet, and move back in with the family.
What an adjustment, what a knife to the pride in your spine. You were so close.

But here you are, twenty-something and back with the family, what a god awful situation, independence graced your lips like the first sip of a hot drink in the morning and with haste spilt itself all over your now scolded crotch.
With ‘generation rent’ as the current housing meme, we find ourselves at a difficult fork in the road; to your left is cohabitation with your partner, friends, family or complete strangers and to your right is remaining at home with the family. Because a bedsit with shared kitchen and showers at dismal squat like conditions with nosebleed London prices of £600+ a month. Or  cute and quant studios upwards of £900 a month, is it any wonder at all there is so much room for complaint?

Am I just a classically symptomatic millennial, supposedly ‘entitled’ and have too high expectations of the world, or is it really all caving in, crashing down upon us like a sprung booby trap that only Indiana Jones could evade?

If this situation is still apparent when we hit that sweet three-zero mark, then god help us all.

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A note on Mother’s day, and other ‘days’.

Note to Reader – This is the amalgam of the writers’ own hatred for card companies and forced falsities; projected thus unto the page and therefore the reader.

Christmas, Birthdays, New Year and the multitude of religious festivities/holidays are the only ones of note in the calendar.

Mother’s day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s, Easter, Shrove Tuesday, Bonfire night, Halloween etc.; These all, are cancers on society; for people like me anyway, which is people who know all to well the original message of the holiday has been lost in card companies, high expectations and pointless, false, forced fun.

It was recently Mother’s day, it ranks high in the blight of pointless holidays because of the enormous pressure applied by women on to children and men to readily and eagerly (desperately) deliver some disposable cards, breakfast in bed and some sort of gesture to ensure that woman in question doesn’t break down in tears, feel undervalued and go insane with disappointment.
It’s not the recipients’ fault that they act so righteously, they have spent a lot of time being told just how important mothers are, how it is the hardest job in the world and about how special it is.

Well, there is nothing special about being a mother, much more than it is special to be a father.
For generation, eons, men have been ejaculating in to women, producing sprogs and then providing, protecting and raising them.
Much like women, who for generations have been ejaculated in to, then to inevitably carry the child, push it out, feed it, keep it clean and raise the little sprog alongside their father (A growing rarity these days…)
Well done all of you, you did exactly what every other successful species has done, you took part in procreation, a phenomenal achievement, outstanding! Well done!
But now, we need to devote our time, energy and money in to a holiday that forces you to show ‘appreciation’, patronisingly, almost as if you never really did or do.

If it mattered so much, we wouldn’t need a month worth of adverts or the incessant lists of ‘top ten mother’s day gifts’. Or a reminder of the ‘Greatest Mother’s this century’; this shit is pathetic, which applies to father’s day and the aforementioned other cancerous dates. It really needs to stop; all this self-congratulatory, pat-self-on-back business.

It, is, nothing, special.

The only thing that these mass-marketed, over-advertised, money saturated twenty-four-hour periods have ever achieved is create expectancy, entitlement and standards of which the minimum must be met or, be prepared to suffer the consequences.
Things like this should not have a day set aside for them, if you love your mother love her every day, treat her whenever you can, no?

Much like if you love your romantic partner, love them every single day and when YOU decide to do something special, go ahead and do it. Because making your own date in the calendar is surely, far more admirable than joining the queue with the rest of the lot, stampeding in to the Card Factory and then Waitrose for some chocolates with a bow around them.
There is nothing less thoughtful than using a national holiday as an excuse to get the romance for your partner, or admiration for a parent out of the way so it can be done with for the rest of the year.

Was it really special to take her out and sit in a restaurant with a hundred other families and their mothers?
Was it really?
Or was it a lacklustre attempt to smooth over an already cobbled family union, prevent tears or rid oneself of guilt?
Well, whatever you did. It most likely was not special. It was what was expected of you to do, just to keep the peace, just to fit in.

The truth is out there.

We may find that in the current day, we circle a maelstrom, aboard our little computer rafts as the swell of the ‘mainstream’ media vortex swirls and grows as it infinitely consumes and distributes of information . It’s an odd fact that despite our ‘woke’ minds; our conspiracy laden tin hat wearing brains, we still believe in the mainstream media enough for it to manipulate the truth and thus our perceptions of the truth.

Even stranger, we live in a post-truth world.

Who would have thought? After 9/11, there was a surge of memorable, believable and outright crude conspiracy theories. Most notably ‘LOOSE CHANGE’ and ‘ZEITGEIST’.  Regardless of whether you or I think it was an inside job or not, we can thank the internet and the mainstream media’s considerably long and eventful history of deceptions, foul play and out right lying for catalysing a means for greater awareness.

Now everything is viewed under the powerful magnascope that is the World Wide Web. Any reported, captured or hypothesised eventuality can come under the critical scrutiny of anyone with a computer. And so everyone conspired, to unravel the conspiracies. And once all the truths had been examined and processed, a wash of strange stances and conclusions appear from truths bound not in logic, and reason. But Alternative facts, truths, clad in emotion and feeling. The post-truth reaction; is perhaps the most divisive of all sources for those who seek truth in conspiracy.

Conspiracies are very addictive and powerful. Not only do they dissect and surgically, construct a mathematical formula eventually leading to their equations conclusion using logic and ‘facts’ shall we say. But they also appeal to emotion.

If you completely disagree to a conspiracy you’re most likely in a frustrated, angry, ‘how could anyone believe this?’ mentality.

If you agree then you’re also likely to be in a frustrated, angry, ’how could anyone do this?’ mentality.

There are of course varying degrees for either response. But if you are like me, you find yourself taking every minutiae of information, with fists full of salt; even those that provide you with that gooey feeling of superiority when confirmation bias reassures you that you are indeed right.

Yes, ‘confirmation bias’.

A term I learned recently from Scott Adams, creator of the syndicated comic strip Dilbert who also happens to be a professional speaker, trained hypnotist amongst other brilliantly stacked traits. ‘Confirmation bias’ is the compulsion or tendency to search out and recall information that supports, defends and backs up our pre-existing beliefs.

Which news channel do you tune in to, which do you watch the most? And which channel do you not tune in to?  When you hear a breaking story on your go to channel, head to the one you hate the most. What you’ll see is a stark difference in reporting of the truth and the flow of the debate.

One says everything you think you already know and it confirms your bias.

“Well of course Obama didn’t found ISIS, he’s been bombing them and leading the war against them, that wouldn’t make any sense. It’s just radical propagandist people who spout such beliefs”.

For another person it can go differently.

“Of course Obama founded ISIS, he’s a Kenyan born Muslim who is seeking to destroy America from the inside. It’s just radical brainwashed idiots who can’t see the truth”.

For myself and others, it’s more a complicated inconclusive mess like this.

“Well Obama is fighting them and is acting against them as they are considered a threat, on the other hand there are his questionable drone strikes and aggressive military action that he and his predecessor, George Bush, conducted and successfully continued to screw the Middle East into dust. The problem is we’ll probably never know the truth and by the time we do, it won’t matter”.

The above statements are just examples so try not to take it personally if any of these sound like you or whatever; try to remember not to engage emotion as much as possible when digesting information, it get completely in the way of rational thought, a key to making up your own mind.

So you’ll watch those channels that contribute positively to your confirmation bias and pursue the narrative they provide as your own.  Well it’s time to stop as clearly, supposedly, there are no truths left to be found in the world.

And that is not meant as in, there is no truth. It’s that the truth is next to impossible to find and even if it were found, and shown to every single person on this planet, there would still be the naysayers and deniers, who will actively seek a counter argument, usually based off of something they’ve already seen or heard.

It’s an odd condition of the present era. With so much information available, so many sources and such touchy matters being at the forefront of social and political discourse; it’s no wonder everyone feels so tense, or they are too afraid to just speak their mind honestly. Since 9/11 there has been an undeniable build in social awareness; political deviance and the monstrous evolution of how information is used, abused and convulsed through its dissemination has created a society that even questions the truth.

We have all bore witness to the truth, we have all seen how much it can hurt, but it’s also a means to progress and lift ourselves upward.

Honesty, as things stand, is now such a highly sought trait, that men like Trump (love him or hate him) have been able to go so far off script and speak from the heart in order to achieve the highest available seat in the Western world. And now after his off the cuff and raw campaign, he can create and mould his own truths.

Alternative-facts, the perfect supplement for the post truth world.

He isn’t the first or last man to do it, but it’s evidence enough that things are going a little further sideways then they should be no?

There may be a solution to this all. To stop the infighting amongst us mere civilians and stop those at the top of the social food chain from taking advantage.

Those at the top would be:

  • Hollywood, the most self-righteous, pat-self-on-back community of all.
  • The 24 hour news networks, the lazy, lying, bias ridden streams of fear.
  • The politicians, who, whilst in it for themselves, have to ruin societies before they can achieve their goals.
  • And the internet / social media.  The loudest, most obnoxious and arrogant source of them all, where the conversation is taken too seriously, too lightly and never ends.

There are enemies to truth, whether they have reported the truth or not. They are all responsible for lying and twisting some truth somewhere to provoke your emotions. That emotional response is the ultimate fuel for their fire. All they need to do is enrage enough people in to protest, in to saying something crazy online and breed a new scandal or story, regurgitating narratives and talking points in order to keep that cycle of doom and gloom revolving.

See if for yourselves, look at this all through the cynical lenses of scrutiny and disbelief, rely on your logic not your emotions to look for the truth.

It’s not your fault that the honest voice has been buried so deep beneath hateful and emotional agendas. If you find yourself unable to make any sense of it, and the truth is nowhere to be found, unless it is your job or worth it, then leave it alone. You’ll only anger yourself and perhaps even distort the truth yourself just to make sense of this ridiculous world.

 

 

 

SLUMPED – New Year resolution(s)

1: Spend 90% less time on Facebook (including facebook chat)

We all know that Facebook is time consuming, annoying, upsetting, misery laden and full of cunts we don’t like for whatever reason. Nothing really super productive ever goes down on this website other than self-publicity, over-reactions, memes and organising birthdays.
Whilst we will still maintain a presence on Facebook, myself and Alex both agree that going facebook neutral, at least for a while, is good. It’s very good actually. I deleted mine for two weeks and it was pretty bloody relieving. A weight off my mind.
I returned to promote SLUMPED and now I’m back stuck in the fucking thing. So, through power of will, I will attempt to have a Facebook profile whilst simultaneously pretending I don’t.

That blue cancer can fuck off.

2: Put out more content – Laziness is bliss, but so is working on this

Yes we know, this post shouldn’t even be considered as content. It is a filler; it’s lazy and it has only come to me as I sit on my sofa, polishing off a tube of Pringles. Since our Launch at the end of October, we had a received a warm reception and even in our posting absence, we still do. What happened was classic SLUMPED. We fucked it all off for the winter goodness and set aside our love for the craft (of talking shit) to indulge in the craft of Christmas time (Eating, drinking, watching TV).

So, after a month of barely anything – we promise, to ourselves that there will be regular content, more attention paid to the site and to your privates.
‘It’s early days’ you know? There are plenty of other sayings to justify this laziness, but this one will have to do for now. Until it’s later days – By then there’ll far more shame weighing in on top of another guilt-ridden post.

3: Get better at Podcasting – It’s not hard; it’s just not easy.

Podcasting requires a little more organisation than you think. Regularly meeting, recording and putting out the Podcast may seem easy. But for two guys (remember two-guys?) on completely separate and inconsistent schedules, it’s not been the easiest thing. We also ran out of SoundCloud minutes so a bit of funding is due. But we are considering moving to Podbean; but again, we will see.

New Layout – Same Slumped

So with the lack of content and giving a fuck.
I did some tinkering with the website and its layout using one of the many free themes and then customising it to whatever degree I could manage to do so.

So as you can see, everything changed pretty much. I think it is a more sexy but the colours demand revisiting. It also doesn’t list the blog posts on the main portion of the page as I would like them to, perhaps a grid section would be good.
If anyone knows how to do this please, let me know. either @slumpedmag @thispleb or slumpeddie@gmail.com

All help is appreciated!

The next goal would obviously be to make this a far more palatable for
the vast majority of you who will probably be reading this on your smart devices.
I think an App is the solution in all honesty, but that could be a little while away as something like that would be multi-purpose, something functional for those bigger ideas.

Well, you know, it’s all dreams and plans.
Content coming soon, no Podcast this week by the looks of things too.

We’re terrible, we know.

Lots of love,

Eddie of SLUMPED : @thispleb

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Launched 31/10/2016 We're working on it.

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