Category Archives: ARTICLE

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.


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.

Blue In Greece

It’s just after midnight in Alimos, a small suburban part of Athens and I’m locked in the throngs of a time-warp. The weather is mild, as it always in Greece during the summer, and my wet head rests upon a pillow, still chilled from the cold water that came tumbling out of the communal showers that belong to the marina. In the morning we will set off on a short sailing trip around the Saronic Gulf, but right now, I’m struggling to figure out whether I’m in 2016 or 1998.

Take your phone out of your pocket and open whichever application it is you choose to listen to music. If you can, load up Eiffel 65’s ‘smash-hit’ Blue. This is a song that came out when was perhaps eight. I can remember, hazily, watching the video on MTV. The 3D rendering looked incredible then, as the little men danced around the screen regaling their tale of a world so blue, dabadedabada. I clapped along and danced at an age where novelty was all I sought in music. With little to worry about in my life, save for the prospect of Manchester City spending another season in Division Two, I had no need for music with any real message. The bounce of the beat was enough.

Blue is currently blaring out of the speakers of the marina nightclub. It’s quickly followed by Destination Unknown and then Tom Jones’s Sex Bomb. You can load these songs up too if it will help you drift deeper into the scene I’m describing. Better yet, take your phone and place the speaker in front of your mouth. Open and close your mouth, wide and then pursed so that you cut the lows and the highs, and give it that sweeping effect. That’s the sound ringing out over the harbour, past the masts and halyards and carefully through the hundred or so hulls that sit resting on the water. I’m at a loss to figure out why it is these songs are being played. I would put it down to some kind of themed late-nineties, early-two thousand nostalgia night. But just yesterday, whilst swimming in Aegina, I walked past a group of small children playing a type of volleyball in the water and together, as a group, they were all singing Blue. Then it hit me. It’s still 1990 in Greece, and they have no will or reason to change. From my cabin, if I stare out the portholes, I can see a row of cars. There’s a BMW 320i from the late eighties, square and rigid. I took a glance inside and it had only done forty thousand miles. There’s an old Golf GTI, cubic once more, but with fresh leather seats. Whilst the miles were slightly more, one hundred thousand in this case, it still looked as though it were a car recently released from the factory. This theme is consistent across Greece, and is not simply confined to Athens and the surrounding islands. In fairness, if something isn’t broken there is little reason to go out trying to get it fixed or replaced. The only reason we do so in England is this perpetual fear of appearing to stagnate. You must always be on the hunt for your next car, your next pair of shoes, your next dream job. Feeling content is a feeling for fools and slackers.

The DJ plays something from 2010, it might be that Party Rockers track, but then again all those songs sound the same. Quavers on the snare for four bars, then semi-quavers for four bars, then a further set of sub-divisions before finally a drop of the one and BANG, distorted, compressed 808 kicks and a female voice, autotuned soul. Woah, oh, ohhhhh. Each song almost identical, employing a kind of triplet, expertly designed to match the swing of a female bottom.

You know the sad thing about all of this is, as I was walking back from my shower, I stopped to take a look at the party that was taking place. It appeared to be a function for a group of young sailors I’d seen wondering around during the day. Their hats screeched in white letters MAKE AMERICAN YACHT WEEK GREAT AGAIN, a tongue-in-cheek reference to everybody’s favourite presidential candidate Donald Trump.

The DJ is playing a song with a chorus asking everybody to take a selfie.

The DJ is playing that song that sounds like Stephen Hawking is singing the chorus that goes ‘Push me, and then just touch me, so I can get my, satisfaction. That song wasn’t too bad and I masturbated to the video several times.

I paused outside the party and looked on in. Everyone inside was beautiful. The boys were tall and handsome, with tanned biceps that bulged in their t-shirts. Their golden legs were mostly hairless. Their sunglasses didn’t make their heads look small, even when their heads were disproportionally smaller than the rest of their bodies.

The girls were all stolen from advertisements for white teeth, spray tans and bondage gear.

In my pockets sat seven euros, probably just about enough to buy myself a neat brandy. But I know that I never would. Music like this depresses me. Without meaning to come across as a knob, its lack of soul eats away at me anytime it enters my ears. The DJ keeps wrecking the mix, fading too early or too late or not at all. Everyone there doesn’t care. They just want to have a good time and music is beside the point. As long as there’s a beat, there’s no problem. I would only go in there, get my glass of overpriced liquor, stand at the side looking moody and hope that someone would come over and speak to me. I wouldn’t go over and speak to me, with my sour face, judging everyone in there just because they’re enjoying themselves. I would avoid me. I would talk to the chap who’s pouting and pointing to the sky, whooping in rhythm to the build up and then trying to start a chant of OI OI OI OI when the beat kicks in.

I retired to bed just as that song with the sax at the beginning started. I still have to listen to their shitty playlist, but at least here I don’t have to feel sad watching other people revel in commercial chart music and overpriced alcohol.