Thoughts on the Lost Generation

This term is one that has found itself haltingly applied to a part of the structure of modern society that could be called the shame of our time, an emblem of the many failures of this little world we’ve built for ourselves.

Unemployed youth. The hope, the future, sitting around doing naught but play computers all day. Some by choice, the wilfully idle, the product of a western decadence that instilled in them no puritan work ethic, marched them to no field to be cut down by machine gun fire and left them weak, listless, unable to take a step in any direction because they have not been prepared for failure.

Others have idleness forced upon them. They toiled through the system educational only to be cast from the Ivory Tower amidst an economic recession that cut the areas in which once they might have found work like the reaper’s scythe, leaving them bereft of employment and none the better for their £20000 (or more) of debt.

I, your humble scrivener, am apart of this latter grouping. A Bachelor of the Arts in English of the class of 2009, sitting in the home in which I grew up, applying for jobs that would once have been scorned by a 16 year old school leaver with but an ‘ology to his name, just to slake the unending thirst of that insatiable beast the Job Centre Plus (plus what? Who knows?) in return for a pittance a week.

To what end all this toil? Is a question I have asked myself often. I worked to this point with no clear goal, no aim or intention and here I am, becalmed amid a sea of missed opportunities, casting out curriculum vitae like lines into the cold, unending depths in the hope of catching but the smallest minnow of a job, that I might escape, move on and move forward, towards… what? That I don’t know either.

Someone once suggested that no wind was favourable if you don’t know where you’re going and while I am loath to continue to nautical metaphor, the man had a point. Should I secure a position as an administrative assistant at a window company, then what? I work there until I get old and die? Or better yet, work there for a few years then leverage my position into that of full on administrative officer? Where does life, love, adventure fit into all of this? Should it be restricted to my 25 days of annual leave?

No. Life is too short to fill with things. Get a job, get an iphone, get an ipad, get a macbook pro. Oh new iphone’s out, better get one of those too. All this work, all this effort, just to fill the time between now and when my heart beats its last. I want to die knowing I did something, left some mark on the world, created something, not surrounded by crap bought with the proceeds of a soulless office job.

It has been said that to truly find one’s self, you must first be lost. I don’t think I am yet. I am still tethered to the strictures of the world that led me to this point, still trapped by the procedures of how to live within a world that has betrayed myself and my generation that I cannot yet figure out how to live beyond it, how to carve out my own reality, instead of being bound by the old.

 

Such dreams, such thoughts, will always be brought down by the rigours of the real world. There is no fate, no destiny, no great truth over the rainbow. There is just this stinking world and the petulant creatures within it.

Feel free to let me know if you’ve found your place in the world, I begin to doubt I ever will.

Yours, The Idle Spectator.

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A Belated Editorial

It has been a tradition of this blog to begin each new entry with an apology for the length of time between posts, usually these would come after a month, perhaps two, and be followed by another fine and incisive example of the journalism that has been a hallmark of this production for the entirety of its history (excepting a brief period in the 1920s when the magazine functioned as a trade publication in the brothels of a number of European capitals). However, given that it has been some 18 months since last our electronic edition reached the etheric news stands of the internet, the editorial staff felt such an apology would ring hollow, mostly as the bulk of our loyal readership have shuffled off their mortal coils in the meantime.

No apologies then. Instead I welcome you once again to the online edition of the Idle Spectator, sure to be updated with vigour, at least until I tire of the process. Feel free to ignore any earlier entries, they are but the ramblings of one with a loosening grip on reality. Mayhap my grip is looser still, but my prose more mature.

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The State of the Railway

Many a reader of The Idle Spectator has contacted this magazine with correspondence that, were it relayed in person, would be accompanied by gesticulations of the wildest variety. The subject of these missives, while usually varied and diverse, a carpet-bombing of reactionary prose reminiscent of Any Answers on the BBC’s home service, has been, above all else in recent weeks, the railway system of this fine kingdom and the indignation many readers feel at paying vast amounts of beer tokens for a service that is frequently late, uncomfortable and above all else, not even adequately divided on class terms.

TIS shares in this indignation, but we also detect the stench of corruption that makes the decidedly Freudian image of a train going into a tunnel seem all too appropriate. The source of this stench, National Express. Most rail companies have the decency to absorb a little lost here and there, it provides a decent excuse to hike up fares, but that provider saw fit to, when the bloated pigs of its board realised their trough was empty, saw fit to run away from their contractual obligation and jam their fat asses back onto their coaches. Pigs and Asses, national express is a veritable farm yard of ill management.

Of course, this does highlight a deep rooted problem with the public/private system, in which losses are passed on to the taxpayer and profits to shareholders, but this is a capitalist system in which we live and thus, if someone’s pockets are being lined, then all is probably fine.

At this point, it would be usual for The Idle Spectator to offer an outlandish solution to such a problem, as we did with our answer to the economic crisis some months ago. However, as that would be far too much like hard work, we instead posit a simple question; while do public services need to make a profit?

While this may indeed sound like leftism of the lowest order, and would seem to have a simple answer in that they need to run, it does trouble the minds here at TIS. After all, the railway service is just that, a service, it exists to transport large numbers of people from one point to another, though admittedly born out of a desire to make money, but have we not moved on from the Victorian era, or are we still doing things in exactly the same way?

Perhaps the answer is not a (urgh) root-and-branch review of the franchise system, but instead to use an entirely different tree. Perhaps making the entire system free, with an appropriate rise in taxes. This may be an unpopular move in the short term, but the long term benefits would be vast. There, Mr. Brown, is your legacy. That and the death of democracy.

Of course, all this does sound strangely French. If that be the case, what can we say but vive la France.

Yours, The Idle Spectator.

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The Truth About Vegetarian Meat Suppliments, Exposed.

The Idle Spectator would like to issue yet another apology for a prolonged absence from electronic print, it appears that while time does not actually fly, it can get away from one when other concerns take precedent over that which is is business here at this esteemed journal. The reasoning this time was not due to an ongoing legal process, but simply because all of our key members of staff were involved in  a exercise of investigative journalism that will now, if you will permit us, be revealed below.

Over the last twenty or so years there has been a slow but distinct rise in the number of those among the populace that choose not to eat the flesh of beasts, some call these people vegetarians. While TIS has nothing against these people per se we do hope that this article will give them pause for thought next time they are poised above a plate of Quorn or Soya, slavering with anticipation, for we can now reveal that those products are not as friendly to either the environment or the animals of the world as they might have us believe.

Let us take first Soya. The common conception is that this product originates from some kind of bean of the Orient, a similar etymology to the Soy sauce that is popular in the cuisine of that part of the world. Our interest piqued, TIS dispatched an investigative team to that part of the world to track down a supplier of such beans. After an extensive period of investigation, centred largely around the opium dens of Shanghai, our man found someone willing to talk, at great risk to his own neck, about the true origins of Soya.

Firstly, our correspondent, who asked to remain anonymous, asked if the product did come from the beans, to which our informant replied, ‘the sauce, that comes from the beans, sure… but the other stuff, the stuff people eat… you don’t want to know where that comes from.’ Our intrepid correspondent pressed that source from more information, but all he gained was the cryptic message, ‘look west’, and the address of a warehouse.

A few days later, having tracked an incoming Soya shipment back to its source, our man found himself in the back of a truck, heading along the ancient silk roads to eventually, the Ukraine, specifically, Chernobyl.

Our man was in a pig farm far inside the zone of exclusion and in this dark, desolate corner of the world the truth was learnt, Soya comes not from beans, but is, in fact, irradiated pork. Here at TIS we had long suspected something was up with such a product, but to have the sickening truth exposed in such a way was beyond our wildest nightmares. The Food Miles that product undergoes our, frankly, outrageous and as such, boycotting is the only viable course.

Running parallel to this investigation was another into the true origins of Quorn, However, the truth behind this product is so sickening, so vile, that it can hardly be discussed in good conscience. But it is our duty to do so, and we can now reveal that Quorn is not, in fact, people, as was the common belief in our offices, but made from protein rich Fungi. There is only one word to describe this, and that word is EW. I mean, really, what’s wrong with a good steak?

Yours, The Idle Spectator.

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Proliferation Problems, or a rant on a number of subjects, some related.

As promised, normal service is resumed, thanks to the mercifully slow legal system of this fine Kingdom of ours. As such, The Idle Spectator seeks to return to what might be called its grass roots, after months of conjectural articles on a variety of subjects which an impending legal process may or may not prove to have been slanderous, an editorial decision has been made in the highest of offices that this august journal return to its former raison d’etre, that of conjectural articles about politics.

It falls to TIS then to write upon that most light and fluffy of subjects, nuclear arms proliferation. The reason such a ephemeral and transient of subjects was chosen was because of the recent news that the comedy Bond villain state of North Korea recently claimed to have conducted its second successful test of such weapons to much finger wagging from the international community. Whether or not Mr. Jong Il in fact intends to hold the world to ransom remains to be seen.

With recent moves by the similarly cartoonishly evil Mr. Ahmadinejad of the Persian territories towards a similar end as well as the barbarians at the gate of the nuclear armed state of Pakistan, the threat of swift and merciful obliteration in the form of a fiery apocalypse (or a slow death from radiation poisoning for those less fortunate) is as close now as it was at any point in the cold war.

To top all this off, as if emergent nuclear powers were not enough, the great old enemy of the last sixty years has once more begun to rattle its sabre, the big red bear has awoken from hibernation in the time of an economic crisis so severe it might just lead to that third world war we’ve all been looking forward too. This might seem like something of a leaping assumption, the very weapons that have been becoming dangerously profligate of late are what prevents such a version of world politics, Putin will not pull a Mussolini and invade Abyssinia because of the threat of the bomb. Also it would be a logistical nightmare.

Or would he, perhaps nuclear proliferation, everyone possessing the power to destroy everyone else allows a man like Putin, who like the aforementioned, could come straight from the pages of Flemming, the leeway to do whatsoever he pleases, as his excursion to Georgia last year can be seen to demonstrate.

Had the on-line edition of this magazine been published at that time, then the astute reader would no doubt have picked up on a certain anti-Russian sentiment at that time, with articles published such as the classic Cossack Dogs Push on Georgia, Stupid Americans pack up trailer and head for Mexico, before reaching border and being told its a different Georgia that is being invaded. The headline writer was fired shortly thereafter. Nonetheless, that sentiment still exists here, and those in the corridors of power would do well to note our sage advice to never trust that dirty Cossack for a second, to never turn the cheek as we did last year and to answer action with action, rather than words.

This magazine does not advocate war as a positive choice, but it is occasionally a necessary one, as a tool of foreign policy the strategic deployment of troops is an underrated tool, certainly such a situation could easily spiral out of control and lead to a conflict the like of which the world has never known, a conflict that, had American troops engaged the Russians in Georgia, we could easily be in the midst of right now. However, the threat of action partnered with a demonstration of a willingness to engage in that action when necessary, would be a more effective tool of foreign policy than any economic sanction ever could be.

Come to think of it, that does sound like an avocation of war. So be it. War is hell, we recognise this, but suffering is the natural state of things, all forms of life are in conflict and this is a Nihilistic philosophical debate that will likely be picked up at a later date if I get that kind of depressed drunk that allows me to lucidly discuss such matters. If you would allow The Idle Spectator, we will put it this way, we do not think war is a good thing, just sometimes, more often than perhaps we may want to think, a necessary one.

Back to the matter at hand, the impending apocalypse. The threat of such obliteration comes not just from nuclear armed states, as if that weren’t threat enough, but also from groups of people that might actually be stupid enough to use such a weapon on a city like London. The kind of slavering maniac that we have been trying to figure out how to fight since Viet Nam.

Strength of arms failed, diplomacy never stood a chance, assassinations just replace one slavering maniac with another, letting them fight it out didn’t quite pan out, nor did letting them have a bit of land, letting them be crushed under an iron fist works for a while but people seem to object to that for some reason. TIS has no answers, other than to point out that blind passivity is no more efficacious than terrorism, objecting to further military action because of the failure of past operations jeopardised the security of our own nations as well as the lives very people who need our help the most.

If Iraq had not been such a monumental clusterfuck, which it would not have been if it had been fought rather than managed, then the American war machine could have been put to good use in Rwanda, or against the Lord’s Resistance Army, saving lives, albeit by killing those who would threaten the innocent, a step that is in the eyes of this diatribe, acceptable.

If you are really lucky the opinions of this journal on the situation in Africa, as well as Cossack imperialism, will be revisited along with nihilism at a later date.

Yours, The Idle Spectator.

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A Date Most Notable

On this most midweek of days The Idle Spectator has (almost) reached a milestone. In the four months that the electronic edition has been published we have covered many subjects, from the trivial to the sincere, the political to the meteorological, the big to the small, the.. well, that is all. But it is upon this day the this most august of journals received its one-hundredth ‘hit’. If this is not progress, the The Idle Spectator does not care to know what is.

While this is clearly a good thing, it does bring to mind mixed feelings for the staff here, as it can be seen to be something of the end of an era, the era of double figures, as it shall be called in the annals of this magazine’s history. While the period was marred by corruption, greed, fraud, thievery, large scale post-it note theft and criminal miss management of the firm’s assets, it shall always be remembered as a more innocent time, when investigative journalists plied their trade it these halls under the delusion that they were making a difference and when editors did not feel their hands were tied by advertising revenues.

Mayhap this is also a moment of hope, when you, dear reader can look at this magazine and know that we are not bound by advertising revenue to print asinine crap, nor, by a curios legal loophole, are our hands tied by draconian slander legislation. As such TIS strides forward into this new era with a renewed sense of hope and purpose, at least until the next set of bills arrive.

Speaking of bills arriving, it appears that, like the hangman’s noose, the aforementioned legal loophole seems to be tightening around the neck of The Idle Spectator and the figurative wolves of the oppression of the press are here! The barbarians that would seek to choke the voice of humanity are at the gate! The boot is stomping on the human face for eternity! The coppers are in the building!

Barry! Barry! I told you not to open the bloody door Barry! Well its too bloody late now, Barry! Look, just start chucking computers out the window… Then shred these files. And burn the shredder when you’re done.

Ahem. Normal service will be resumed in due course.

You’ll never take me alive coppa!

What do you mean ‘why am I still typing?’…

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Humph and the Ingratitude of Man

The Idle Spectator has been remiss. During the period of our recent absence and even during the retrospective upon that period The Idle Spectator missed one of the most important dates of the year. Indeed, this date went unmarked by the vast majority of people, however at his magazine we attest that it should not have been so ignored.

The date of which we speak is the first anniversary of the death of one Mr. Humphrey Lyttleton. This may seem unremarkable, the man was old, and old people do die, but for the first anniversary of such a great man’s death to be ignored is in the eyes of this magazine an utter abhorrence in which our ignorant complicity brings shame of the highest order to our both persons and our reputation as a journal for which the words ‘honour’ and ‘respect’ are supposed to mean something.

It could be argued, of course, that the late lamented Mr. Lyttleton was not famous enough for the first anniversary of the event of his demise to to be marked by the kind of media coverage that will inevitably go to both Ms Goody’s posthumous book sales in twelve months, but such a view is typical of the sickening ingratitude to be seen how the modern media works, how contemporary culture is influenced and controlled by the sort of latte drinking scum that refuse to recognise the death of such a great man to be an event that warrants more coverage than is afforded to talentless nobodies that pervade our screens. Humph did something. This is a man who as a 2nd Lieutenant in his early twenties came ashore at Salerno with a pistol in one hand and a trumpet in the other.

Here we come to the crux of the issue. Mr. Lyttleton was apart of the generation who fought and died in the second world war, the ‘greatest generation’, those to whom we owe no less than the very freedom that is presently crashing down around our oblivious ears, those who fought in and lived through the most destructive conflict ever fought and may very well have never spoken about what they saw in those years ever again. Those who are presently dying steadily and unremembered in anything but a few lines of obituary.

To this journal the unmarked first anniversary of the death of Mr. Lyttleton represents the failure of this present generation to recognise and show gratitude for the actions of the greatest generation on a daily basis, certainly yearly remembrance ceremonies are apt and tasteful, but the focus of such events is upon those who fell in conflict, less so upon those who survived and achieved a great many other things with their lives. Thus The Idle Spectator would like to give thanks, even if doing so is all too inadequate, it is at least a start, to men like Humphrey Lyttleton, Spike Milligan, and thousands of others like them who lived the unsung lives of normal men who once defended our freedom. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you. And to those who still live, such as the venerable Mr. Alan Whicker, thank you too, and keep up the good work.

Yours, The Idle Spectator.

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