Sixes and sevens

  • I think standards are slipping
  • You find things rather challenging these days
  • She is completely set in her ways

I am finding this world increasingly alienating. (Blair, Bush, Iraq, tailgaters, processed foods, processed musak, processed thinking, global warming, multinational corporations, international terrorism…)

…slap me now before I get hysterical in public.

The question is, how much worse actually is it? Certainly, global warming is new, or does it just seems more likely? However, I strongly suspect that the reason I find the world nastier and scarier is because I am older, grumpier, more cynical and more easily spooked by things like Bush and Blair, liar Blair, it’s not fair, don’t you care? Nukes in Korea. Here and there. Iraq, terrorism, suicide bombers, suicide bombers with nukes, nuclear war no thanks, Chechnya, Georgia, Dubbya, Dubbya Bush, Wubbleyou Bush. Wubbleyou. Wibble you. Wibble.


I was fortunate to be born in a particularly pretty, particularly safe, particularly peaceful part of the UK. It was rural. Rural as in farms and villages and schools with 24 pupils. A smooth and rural prosperity. Roses above the door. Terrorists. Bombers. Afghanistan. More torture now than in the time of Saddam Hussain. More torture. More torture. Guantanamo, mo, mo, yo, yo. Yo! Blair!

These days two bedroom cottages are over quarter of a mil sterling, (that’s Mr Sterling to you and me), the pubs are restaurants, the post-offices are closed and the buses aren’t. Anything. The buses aren’t anything at all. They don’t exist. Exist. Exit. No exit. Extinct. Extinction. Sixth extinction. Specicide. Specious arguments. Extinctions. Extinction. Exit. No exit.

The place is full of television presenters, these days. It’s Surrey or Berkshire. It has no integrity and no soul. It’s suburbia for fex sake.

I moved away a couple of years ago, and though I blip back every now and again, I spent three nights there last week for the first time since I left. Never go back. No way back. Everything changes. No way back. No through road. No way out. No way forward. No oil. NO OIL. No way. No votes. Not enough votes. Steal an election. Steal a country. Hey, steal a country, why don’t you. Steal two. Steal three. Here, have mine. We don’t have it any more. Not since it was given away. A million in the street said ‘not in our name’. Not in our name. We’re sorry. Don’t kill us. Even though we’re killing you. It isn’t fai-ai-ai-ai-air.

I had been wistful about leaving, but I’m not now. The pubs aren’t pubs they are restaurants. There is nowhere for farm-workers to go wet their throat with a pint on the way home, because there are no pubs, and precious few farm-workers for that matter. The houses they were born in cost twenty years’ wages. But that’s ok. It’s all part of the global economy. International banking. International farming. Kenyan beans. Indonesian rice. Isreali avocados. Chilean grapes. Texan oil. Multinational corporations. Multinational manufacturing. Sweatshops. Five-for-a-tenner. Sweatshops. Slave labour. Slavery. Slaves. Gangmasters. Cockles and mussles alive alive o. Cocklers at Morcambe have drowned a drowned-oh. It’s ok – they’re illegals.

But is it me? Is this no madder than the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile crisis? Have we exchanged fear of tuberculosis, cholera and an early, painful, unnecessary death for fear of Tony Blair, Condoleeza and an early, painful, unnecessary death?

I’m glad I’ve moved to where houses are just ridiculously expensive, where my neighbours aren’t TV presenters. models, actresses and media whores, even if it is not dark here at night any more.

But is it me? Is it just that I’m older, or is the world nastier?

Whatever it is, I really HATE tailgaters.


9 responses to “Sixes and sevens

  1. Interesting thoughts AB – and awfully well expressed.

    I’m with the ‘life has always been awful but is now awful in a different way’. With the exception of childhood when everything seemed safe, but that may be a side effect of childhood.

  2. Surely it is only a modern childhood that has seemed safe. Back in the olden days the children would have been sent down the mine, under the looms or up the chimney, if they survived that long.

    Have you heard the song ‘Country Life’ by Show of Hands. Raises similar points to you in the way rural life has changed. Shame I can’t find an online source for the lyrics but I think you can hear a sample from their website.

  3. Blimey, it’s strong stuff Phil. I managed to track it down:

    Thanks for being so patient with my stream of unconsciousness up there. I’m rather embarrassed about it in the cold light of the internet.

    I think that the stakes really are higher these days, (global warming, 6th extinction, terrorist neuks, etc) though day-to-day life is cushier. Apart from tailgaters. Bastards.

  4. My Dad often tells us about being young in the 60s, and thinking that the next day could well be everyone’s last, as all-out nuclear warfare was just on the verge of erupting and turning the entire planet into a radioactive sterile damp rock. Oh, with cockroaches. Hence all the drink and drugs and mad sex. At least, that’s his excuse and he’s sticking to it.

    I suppose in a way it is easier to deal with BANG-all-gone than it is to deal with frizzle sizzle whimper could-we-be-doing-something-about-this?

  5. The thing is that we seem to be facing both the BANG-all-gone and the whimper-whimper at the same time. Yes, we’re all wearing rose-tinted glasses, but yes the world is also a pretty darned unpleasant place in many ways. There’s a blog post floating somewhere in my brain about foreign policy and the like, but it’s too depressing to put into words, so my next outpouring will probably be about chocolate cake or something.

    Your stream of unconsciousness is more eloquent than you give it credit for.

  6. it’s a powerful and right stream of unconsciousness you’ve got going on there, Ms. Behn.

    I’m in the “the world is awful in different ways” camp. Although we’ve had the benefit of history, we live such short lives and then it seems the next lot just start over, messing things up in new ways. We are not a very evolved species.

    But there is always chocolate. At least there is for now.

    xo, BL

  7. Glad you found the lyrics to the song. I thought they’d hit home after what you posted.

  8. I tend to think both that the world is a somewhat more awful place and that it probably is as awful as it used to be, only we’re told about it being awful quite a bit (rather: dramatically) more.

    Part of it – the being more awful part – I think may be because we’ve quite successfully madethe world a much smaller place. In a much smaller place there’s, figuratively speaking, more shoving and pushing to make yourself a space and you’re much more bothered by the other ones shoving and pushing. Whether it’s cultures or religions or economics, they want their space and end up stepping on someones toes. With bombs instead of feet, alas, sometimes.

    The other part is the awareness. The business of selling stories have taken on such a life of it’s own and along the way someone decided that to sell a lot, nothing is better than stories with horror, gore and tears. So we not only know about Jim down the road getting kicked by his horse, we know about all the Jims in all the villages being kicked by a multitude of domestic animals, so to speak. Also happened before, but we were blissfully unaware

    Or something like that.

  9. Reed, I have spent all of my life in fear of imminent apocalypse. I did not do anything about my pension in my 20s because I honestly thought that Tom Lehrer had the right of it, and that we would all go together … in one great incandescent glow. I was astonished that I made it to 40, and briefly hopeful. I think my first apocalyptic crisis was during the Iran / Iraq war in the 1970s. The problem is that everything I feared then is now true. Wibble.

    Singing Librarian, I find much of what I think is too depressing to blog. This one slipped past my gloomdar.

    Bloglily, you are so right. There is always chocolate. I have found some particularly splendid geranium flavoured chocolate which makes going to work All Right.

    SG V, you have a good point about the news making it all seem so much more proximate. I remind myself regularly that it was much much worse during the Black Death. What worries me is that it is currently that bad elsewhere and that it will become that bad here.

    I really do think that climate change and the 6th extinction are indicators that it is worse now.

    I wish I was an ostrich. I’d die the same death, but not waste energy anticipating it.

    Thanks all of you for reading and replying.


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