The Price of Your Free Market

People aged 17-24 are facing a financial crisis. The latest warning from the charity Citizens Advice attributes the growing number of young people in debt with increased dependency on high-interest pay-day loans. Seems our youth are being forced to take out loans to keep up with the rising costs of their financial obligations; food on the table, roof overhead, smartphone contract, etc.

With increasing numbers of people turning to charities and food banks to survive, I’m left crossing my fingers that there’s a charity to help me cover the rent in the next 5 years, or I too will become a bleak pay-day-loan statistic. Continue reading

The Accepted Oxymorons of the Bovine Masses

I’m a modern man, a man of the millennium,
highly in need of low-income housing,
a lowly employee in a high-rise flat.
I’m down and out but rough and ready;
an over-sized, undernourished
heavy-set lightweight
Drinking expensive beer in a supposed ‘free’ house.
I’m a premature poster-child of postmodern prehistory,
an introverted exhibitionist,
a faux intellectual;
a genuine, highbrow, middle-class, low-life.
A hypocrite.
I send an email from an Iphone
and use broadband to broadcast
the broad thoughts of my small mind.
My Facebook is kneejerk,
I over-celebrate understudied
private opinions on public forums.
But I’m small-fry in the grand scheme;
a long-term, short-stay, part-time, busy body.
An uptown, downtrodden, hyperactive, under achiever
that’s low-rent and high maintenance.
I drew the short-straw in the long-run
as my revenue stream has no cash-flow.
It’s fair to say, I’m psychologically, anatomically
And economically
Fucked.

Do Not Feed the Birds

[EXT. PUBLIC PARK- DAY]

Outdoors. English springtime afternoon. An old lady sits on a bench beneath a tree, throwing crumbs to the birds and the background.

POLICEMAN:   Yes, we have learned a lot from psychotherapy and its relation to criminality. It’s given us a great insight into the human psyche, which, in turn allows us to do our jobs more effectively.

REPORTER:     Could you elaborate on that?

POLICEMAN:   Hey?

REPORTER:   (impatiently) What discoveries have been made? How have they improved policing?

POLICEMAN: (smiling smugly) Oh, well for instance we have completely revolutionised how we go about making an arrest. We have managed to reduce distress to the public, the perp, and the officer in one fell swoop, in turn making massive savings on resources and manpower. Continue reading

Go(ve) Fuck yourself

The Conservatives are at it again; American classics are to be dropped by a GCSE exam board as the Education Secretary calls for more British books to be studied. I doubt he’ll push for 1984 to make the new reading list and suspect this new ‘nationalism’ towards English literature is a politically charged appeasement, a desperate attempt to negate further losses of the Conservative-right to UKIP…

Of Mice and Men and To Kill a Mocking Bird are two powerful stories of the human condition and both are inline for the chop. Their social and civil themes still resonate with readers now, irrespective of locale or origin, they tell a ‘human-story’ of beauty and tragedy with resounding relevance to contemporary British life. And yet, Michael Gove ‘really dislikes’ them, describing the high percentage of students studying them as ‘disappointing’. He’d much rather they studied English works like Shakespeare but look beyond the books, read between the lines and question his motives; you’ll soon see the table’s tilted. Continue reading

Are You Being Served?

SCENE 1 –

[INT. GYM RECEPTION – MORNING]

A room; white walls, white seats, a woman in a crisp white uniform sits filing her nails. The faint smell of disinfectant lingers in the air. Automatic doors open, a man enters, wet with rain, he’s small, middle-aged and tired. He approaches the reception desk of the gymnasium. The receptionist stops filing…

RECEPTIONIST: Good morning, Sir. (jokingly) it’s a little early for a work-out don’t you think? I can still taste the toothpaste.

CUSTOMER: (uncomfortably): Oh, erm… yes I suppose it is… unfortunately, I’m not actually here for a work-out. Continue reading

Burning the Bridge to Nowhere (a note on target markets)

I’m Tom. For the last year and a half I have been writing the feature Observations of the Unemployed[1] . My writing has gotten less shit in the last two years and now, like many writers, I’m wrestling with ways to get it to reach a national audience. Seems everyone and their dog are quick to jump on the writing bandwagon these days and even quicker to let you know they’re a ‘writer’. They tell you while you sit thumbing a pint hoping they leave you alone… there are no doubt many other outlets for their work than in my ear, at a bar, after a long day… So, as a preventative measure, here’s one of them.

There are numerous production opportunities that promise practical experience of broadcast writing and production to those willing to work for free. The BBC accepts applications for T.V and radio production placements regardless of formal qualifications. Getting a foot-in-the-door at a radio station will no doubt serve your writing far more effectively than slurring it across a bar like some quasi-intellectual in search of a sense of identity… Continue reading

Victims of Circumstance

{SCENE 1}

[INT. CAR- NIGHT]
A protagonist drives- well within the rules of the road, except for the fact he’s had three pints and is touching 50 in a 40. He’s trying to get home fast. His phone beeps, it’s a text from Cheryl. He accelerates and speeds away from her advances.
Approaching a roundabout he notices a car, parked, unlit, in front of the closed gates of an industrial off-ramp. He slows down in time to the see the shaded chevrons of a police car flashing in the review mirror. He glances between the mirror and road, still reducing speed, watching the darkened car… mirror… road… mirror… road… mirror… Headlights ignite. The wait is over. He turns his eyes back to the road then arcs his car around the bypass- line of sight is broken – his heart pounds, uselessly. The cards have been dealt. Three pints play their hand… Continue reading

Loaded Language

Words don’t mean what they say anymore. They’ve been toned down and sterilised in all facets of life. Euphemistic terms soften our language and so soften our tolerance for logic. And that’s why I drink…

In WW1 there was a condition in battle called ‘Shell shock’, a psychological reaction to artillery bombardments. When enough shells rained down, with no means of fighting back, soldiers were left on brink of nervous collapse. A two-syllabled word was created, one with honest direct language conveying a soldier’s severe emotional strain. It almost sounds like the guns themselves- ‘Shell-Shock’… Continue reading

The Devil’s in the Detail

Dear Reader,
I am writing about language and free speech again because you didn’t listen the first time.

There are way too many people in the world, we can’t even talk about them let alone sustain them and that’s the problem. The real problem, the self-perpetuating problem of people, there are way too many people! Global population has almost tripled since 1950 (over 7.1 Billion, now). The population-crisis started with a baby-boom and we’re living in the inevitable fallout… Continue reading