Thursday 1 December 2011

Making your own entertainment.

I've received a few snipes about my last few entries here in the interwide-blogosphere. That's fine, I enjoy healthy debate... and I know where you live! I don't know, though, why you think I'm the doom-monger here;  I generally live as I write. Have you looked at yourself lately UK?

Let's take poverty and how it seems to be defined these days. Now I know there may be some genuine cases of hardship and the suicide couple in Bedworth were certainly food for thought, but on the other hand they were known mentals. And this was an isolated incident; it's not as if unemployed people are routinely jumping off multi-storey car parks. (That's wrong on so many levels.)

I keep hearing about 'child-poverty' and I am genuinely mystified. Was that expression coined merely for the promulgation of anti-government sentiment? It's been knocking about for a good few years now without challenge, so I'm going to challenge it. And along with it, the notion of 'relative poverty'.

How the Third World would deplore us if they saw what many of you believe to be poverty. The only really Big Issues we have here in Britain are for shelter and food. So long as you can stay warm and dry and fed your basic needs are being met. Did none of you watch Frozen Planet last night? All the rest is fake and frippery. Tobacco, alcohol, other drugs, music, entertainment, personal transport, fast food... self-esteem; all of it manufactured, none of it essential and much of it potentially harmful.

I don't yearn for a wholesale turning-back of the clocks to the nineteen-fifties, that would be ridiculous. And I don't regret one bit the fundamentally awesome advances in mass-media technology. I even applaud the way in which everybody has far higher aspirations than a generation or so ago. I wouldn't even deny that our current way of living is immeasurably better than it used to be. We really don't realise how lucky we are.

What - as some of you may have started to grasp by now - really irks me is that human nature is a perverse and flawed thing. Having dealt with basic survival, our instincts for possession have turned to the acquisition of ever more baubles and trinkets to line the nest. Our magpie minds have tricked us into mistaking want for need and just look what you've done. I mean, just look!

The $75,000 car standing outside a council house, the 72" flat screen inside and children of five with an accumulated spend of thousands of pounds on fast-obsolete parental fads in fashion, toys, games and (FFS) phones and computers. Handbags costing hundreds of pounds. Portable coffee. Glossy magazines on every subject under the sun. You don't need any of that stuff, you just want it really badly. Maybe it's time to break the habit.

You may not have noticed this, but the world is not dependent on friendless adolescent youths writing buggy games software from their fetid crash-pads. That's Hollywood you're thinking of there. No, the world is largely kept busy by the endeavours of the entrepreneurial, many of whom trumpet their utter lack of tech-savvy and higher education. All this scholastic immersion in technology is not breeding future leaders of industry, just lots of tech-drones for exploitation by future leaders of industry.

So, save a bundle this Christmas and beat the credit crunch. Cross off everything with a power supply from the shopping list and buy books instead (I'll allow Kindles). Get in some good old-fashioned board games, turn off the crap telly and this winter make your own entertainment.

(Yes, I know, the kids will moan, it will be miserable, the grandparents will talk of bringing back the birch, but you'll have had a good old-fashioned Yuletide to talk about for years to come.)

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