Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Graduates Are Better

Nowadays I get my news from Channel 4's catch up service on my nifty iPhone app. It keeps me abreast.

Yesterday we had the news that applications to university this year are down on last year, unsurprising as tuition fees have been significantly raised. Of course, as the professor says in the interview above, graduates are still the first choice for employers when recruiting for all sorts of interesting and life-enhancing jobs.

There are other benefits of obtaining a degree, too. The professor, at 04.25 above, says, "All the evidence that comes out of the OECD is that graduates have a much better quality of life. They're better parents, they're better citizens, they participate in democracy, they're healthier..."

And who could argue with her? Generally, middle class people are better than working class people in this great meritocracy we live in. It goes without saying that a doctor, a lecturer or an accountant is a better parent, a better citizen, more politically active, and more healthy than a plumber, an office clerk, or, especially, a scummy chav living on benefits.

And all children can do it, they can be whatever they want to be. All they have to do is knuckle down at school, "do the right thing" to better themselves if you will, and a golden future awaits them.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Carol McGiffin Nation

One of the joys of not working is the ability to watch daytime television at the time it is broadcast. Instead of having to record The Jeremy Kyle Show I can now join the other skivers and pensioners simultaneously looking for members of our communities.

Most days I catch some of Loose Women. I've seen some awful condemnation of this show on Twitter. People call it all sorts of names.

But it is the best daytime programme and more watchable than some of the evening programmes feted on Twitter such as Sherlock, Doctor Who, Come Dine With Me, Antiques Roadshow, X-Factor, Masterchef, The Apprentice, Question Time, etc. Actually it is better than anything that has a fucking hashtag in the evening.

Yes, there are the guests such as Cliff Richard, Larry Lamb, Dave Spikey and Sue Pollard, regulars who I have no interest in, but it's when the women get down to current affairs that the show shines.

And no one shines more than Carol McGiffin. She is truly the voice of the nation. She talks a lot of common sense, understanding how ordinary people think, giving them a voice. There is a crescendo of applause every time she gets on her high horse about benefit scroungers and those who do not want to work and those who are on the dole as a lifestyle choice.

They're not interested in statistics, your ordinary people aren't. You tell Carol or an ordinary person that there are six times as many unemployed people as there are job vacancies and that a lot of those vacancies will be filled by the currently employed, or that only one in eight people claiming housing benefit is unemployed, she will look through you as if you were talking a foreign language she never took the time to learn. And, of course, the truth is a foreign language millions of people never bothered to learn but they don't like their opinions to be blighted by the truth because then their opinions wouldn't count and they'd have to shut the fuck up.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


The previous post was my last serious one. I've had enough with real life, it's boring. From now on I'm going to restrict my posts on here to the media which as we know is far from real.

The other night we saw a conversation between Ken Russell (not long before he died) and Peter Blake. I didn't know that Blake had grown up in Dartford, though I should have guessed by his accent.

For the first half of the programme Blake asked the questions and Russell answered with few words. It seemed that only one of them wanted to be there.

Blake was very serious. I'm sure Russell, though he couldn't have been feeling 100%, must have been longing for some levity. He was still making films in his back garden at the time, using old friends and anybody who knocked on his door, even the postman, as actors. Still having fun behind a camera.

Blake's life, though there was more of it left, seemed less fun. Designing Fred Perry shirts, a collage for Adidas and Chelsea football club. Russell didn't seem too impressed with the knight's assimilation into the establishment.

One of Russell's 60s TV documentaries was about four pop artists, Blake being one of them. As Russell started to ask Blake the questions he asked him if he still had the pyjamas he wore in that old film. Blake didn't. This was a disappointment to Russell. As it would have been to any film-maker. That was the essence of Blake, the old young rebel in the stripy pyjamas, not the long-time Fulham fan who took the Chelsea dollar.

Monday, January 16, 2012

"Think of all the starving children"

Now I've learnt as much as I want to about Microsoft Excel 2010, I'm ready for my dream job. The next time I go to an interview and they ask me if I can do pivot tables I'll say, "Yes, they're a piece of piss and I wasted a hundred quid on software from which I've learnt very little. It's all common sense, innit?"

I say the next time I go to an interview but maybe there won't be a next time. You see I'm looking for a part time job, a few days a week. I've had enough of the Monday to Friday grind. I was interviewed for a part time job last year. The man interviewing me inferred that I should have been looking for an 8 to 6, Monday to Friday, me not being a married woman whose kids have grown up and who's just looking for a bit of pin money. A man needs to work and work long hours to prove his manhood.

I'm now unemployed but not part of the government's statistics. How many of us are there, living off our savings, taking an early retirement we didn't ask for? The careers adviser said I should be doing some voluntary work to put on my CV. But there's bugger all of that around locally unless I want to do the petty cash for five minutes a week for the Scouts.

Work still has the ability to make me anxious. I still wake up in the middle of the night thinking dark thoughts about my experiences of the past three years. Then I tell myself I've been lucky, look at all the people working in horrible jobs on poverty wages. All the people with no hope trying to survive on poverty benefits.

But that doesn't make me feel better about myself. Why should it? When a child is egged on by a parent to eat something they hate the taste of, does being told "Think of all the starving children!" actually make the food taste better? If the child has any sensitivity they will get depressed about the starving children and will want to not eat in solidarity. They will make themselves ill. In the same way that my anxiety is fed by constant news of how shit the world is and constant confirmation that we are led by cunts. How can anybody feel optimism?

Friday, January 06, 2012

It's Like That And That's The Way It Is

I like to be educated by the programmes I watch on television. And when knowledgeable celebrities are talking about things that happened in the past, I like to have a comparison with something I have experienced so that I can imagine what the real thing was like.

In Armando's Tale Of Charles Dickens, I was transported back to Dickensian times, realising more and more just how much we've got in common with Victorian Britain. For example, Iannucci describes the excitement of a Dickens' public reading. I immediately tasted the flavour of such an event when told it was like "Lady Gaga coming to town".

I'll always remember Lady Gaga's readings at the local Methodist Hall last year. You could cut the air with a knife as her fans listened intently to the story of a poor one-legged wastrel girl who battled against overwhelming odds to become world famous as an entertainer.

Then there was Timeshift: The Smoking Years in which Stuart Maconie gave us probably the most evocative description possible of entering the smoky atmosphere of the upstairs on a double decker bus. "It was a blue fug of cigarette smoke...Like being in a foxhole in Vietnam".

Now I've been in a foxhole in Vietnam on one of my discovery holidays and let me tell you, those Vietnamese foxes smoke like troopers, one after the other.