The past week in the meatspace life of Pennyred has been spent guzzling pink drinks at goth parties, rolling in my own filth and trying to get a job. I feel a sinking sense of despair at the renewed realisation that we were all hopelessly lied to in our youth. Real life isn’t the thick slice of fun pie we were led to believe. For example: kick and wail at the notion though I may, I am resoundingly a spoilt Blatcherite brat by inheritance: bright, white and middle-class, scholarship to a nice school, degree from an Eminent University, lots of drive and ambition, relatively supportive parents, neither stunningly unattractive nor a pneumatic blonde fem-bot, both of which happen to matter a lot if you’re young, female and looking for work. In short, I’ve got everything going for me on paper, bar heteronormativity, mental equability and a Y chromosome, but we’ll save that little rant for another day.
And yet, to my great surprise, I have as yet failed to be head-hunted for a top job in media, government or M16; I have as yet failed, in fact, to secure any employment whatsoever since being fired from the Shop Job of Doom. And somewhere deep in the saccharine-sticky recesses of my middle-class soul, something feels that this isn’t quite fair. This isn’t how it was supposed to go! They told us we would be okay if only we worked hard and tried to be pretty! They told us we’d be successful if we studied for the exams, wore the right shoes and had the right parents! They LIED to us!
This city is over-run with kids like me, thousands of us, stunned by the acrid complexity of the real world, weighed down by debt, overdrawn, underpaid, poorer than we’ve ever been, chasing the rag-ends of dreams we’ve been encouraged to entertain since birth. Smoking, drinking, guzzling vile chemicals and dicking around with one another’s hearts, because it numbs the anxiety, gives us a break from the cruel meritocracy grinning back at us through the curtains of our shabby living-rooms. Begging anywhere for work experience, internships, trying to polish our shiny young faces and even shinier CVs until they glisten with desperation*, paying our way with insecure minimum-wage work that saps the soul and leaves us grubbing in our battered wallets for the coppers to make up tonight’s beer.
This was supposed to be the future.
We are probably going to be fine. But it won’t be soon, and it won’t be in the way we were made to believe. We can’t expect to win by playing along, but what else can we do? After all, they’re the ones with the power. They’ve got the money and the guns and the government and God, they sign our paycheques, mark our exams and grade our various crawling efforts to please. What have we got to challenge that?
I’ll tell you what we’ve got.
We have Art and Beauty and Love and Truth. We have a flourishing counterculture that’s more alive than anything the mainstream has produced in the last twenty years. We have semiotic sorcerers and guerilla literary theorists. We have Chaos Majick. We have sexual deviancy. We have the talent and the information-delivery media to reprogramme the minds of Young Corporate Leaders and drive them, frothing, into the sea. We have memetic attacks and the vote. Most importantly, we have much better hair.
This was written by a good friend of mine over two years ago, when we were young, stupid and indulging in wildly intellectual drunken reprobation at said Eminent University. To it I shall now add:
Unlike you, we are truly hypertextual. We have the information and communications technology to entirely re-imagine the concept of socio-political power, and we are bright enough and brave enough to use it. We are multi-ethnic, multi-gendered, multi-talented and massively up for a fight, we are no longer frightened of your disapproval, and we have bombs.
Love and Squalour bombs.
Up yours, Mr Meritocracy. We’re going to win this our own way.
NB: Pennyred is a CV-enhancing excercise written by a nice cardigan-wearing girl from Richmond who would vote Tory. If you have enjoyed the writing of Pennyred, why don’t you mention this blog to your employer? Pennyred is available for children’s parties, corporate events and layby buggerings, and is happy to receive payment via Visa, Switch, Sterling, Yen or Euros (no $US) although will accept services rendered, sexual favours or the blood of the innocent.