Monday, March 31, 2008

It sucks to be a child these days.

I have now reached the age where childhood becomes something of a memory. However, it hasn’t failed to reach my attention that the childhood of my yesteryear is significantly different to the childhood of 2008.

When I was growing up you could sense that we were riding on the last hurrah of a fairly carefree childhood. Both in school and in life generally, as it was an easier time and a little less pressurised.

Things have changed massively since then, mainly through the amount of exams that kids are forced to do since then. I mean for heavens sake, children are now given homework from the age of 5. Homework didn’t become a thing for my age-group until at least when I was 10 and even then it wasn’t that much. Nowadays kids get somewhere between 1 hour to two hours of homework each night, and this is partially to do with the way that school has been bastardised and turned into key modules which no one gives a damn about. Things like the literacy hour and the numeracy hour immediately spring to mind. Now don’t get me wrong here I’m all for kids receiving a good amount of education, in fact it’s something I stand for as an academic, but when you make learning as dry and clinical as that then it’s really no wonder that illiteracy and innumeracy are becoming problems.

As if the everyday struggles of school weren’t enough of a problem, then kids have the summer to look forward to, a summer of exams that is. It seems that children are tested from the word go now rather than just in years 2 and 6+. I personally think that is abhorrent as childhood should be a time when stress seems like like an impossibly intangible concept that doesn’t matter, much like a good song by the Kooks. Is it any wonder that younger and younger people need professional help from psychologists? Still at least the help is there.

Moving on from school there are other kill-joy factors that are now taking place. Firstly there is this whole business of suing. Children seem to have to be wrapped up in cotton wool as a proviso to do anything worthwhile or fun. The thought of children running around and possibly hurting themselves (as children tend to, after all it’s how they discover the limits of the world) for companies having anything to do with is a common one, and its not made easier by greedy parents out to make a quick buck with injury lawyers 4 you. As a result every fun avenue has to be watered down or even cancelled, for their own safety. Then again what’s the point in saving a life when you fail to have one in the first place?

Another problem with youth is that there’s this whole furore around the recent health craze. I think the most extreme part of this is the way that the government is stepping in and trying to control children so that they can’t even attempt to get fat. Its true, children probably are fatter than they used to be, and yes unhealthy food and things like video games do play a part. But rather than punishing everyone for liking things that are bad for them, why don’t you try and understand why they are avoiding the good things for the. Of course there are numerous reasons including the case detailed above, whereby less people are willing to run youth sports groups in fear of injuries occurring or worse. There also seems to be a reluctance to even let children out on such things once again for their own safety (walking too and from said clubs being the primary problem because who knows a paedo may jump out and fly off with them etc etc worse case scenario drivel). Then there’s the age old problem of money to take into account as many people shy away from some groups because they are expensive. As children are frightened, coerced and ‘protected’ away from sporting pursuits then it is not a surprise so many people are fat.

For the government then to want to try and prevent older children from being allowed off-site at school in fear that they might go into the local corner shop and buy a mars bar instead of an apple strikes me as preposterous. All it does is patronise the younger generation further and creates worries that we are increasingly having our lives manipulated too far from a younger age. I know this kind of manipulation is no where near as bad as something like the Hitler Youth, but really you need to teach a man to fish rather than try and protect him from starving by feeding him fish heads (strange analogy I know).

All I’m saying is let people make mistakes for themselves, yes it is the government’s role to influence matters to a degree but coming in and trying to run everything like this just ruins everyone’s growing up. Let the kids have their fun within reason and let them worry about exams, and diets etc when they are older. It would probably help too if BBC Three and other such channels stopped with programmes like Honey we’re killing our kids too. Let’s remember our parents had even worse stuff to eat when they were growing up but it didn’t matter because they could play games somewhere without someone chasing them off their land in case they scrape their knee and sue the landowner.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Lacking Inspiration

What Can I say except it is hard to focus on things when you have spent the whole day stuffing envelopes. Envelopes that are being sent to big names such as Ross Kemp or Sir Bob Geldof and will probably never be looked at twice before they end up in the bin. Still that's the price I pay for fairly flexible work whilst temping. It's just money at the end of the day.

As a quick moan. Don't you find it annoying when parents of murdered problem children claim their children wouldn't have hurt a fly. How the bloody hell do they normally find themselves in that kind of situation in the first place do you think? I mean there are notable exceptions to the rule like for instance the Rhys Thomas case last year.

Now don't get me wrong the death of a child is a horrible horrible thing, especially if they are killed as an innocent bystander. But in the many cases the child was a little hellion and then for the parents to try and paint a tawdry picture portraying their child as an angel who was just there with the wrong people etc is insulting to our intellegence.

There was one particular case last year near where I live, where a young boy of about 15-16 was killed in what can only be called a gang-fight. His parents then came out and made the point that he was a lovely lad really and wouldn't have hurt a fly. My question then is what was he doing at a gang fight. I bet they were just having a little disagreement over penny sweets that got out of hand. I'm sure he was just stepping in to inform his chums that fighting is against the law and can be punished with a criminal record and was caught up by accident.

Some children quite frankly bite off more than they can chew and I can offer little sympathy to them. For their parents, (who can be delusional but grief does horrible things) I offer 100% sympathy. I do realise this contradicts my previous gripe but is it really necessary for the papers to give their grief space like that. It just makes a fool of everyone.

As you can see I'm not really firing on all cylinders at the moment so I best end it there.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Thought for the time being - Why is Heather Mills still here?

Good Afternoon,

Just as a little pre-amble, I have decided to revive my blog. Why? Well because, you know it’s something to do and it helps with my writing. It’s going to be more of the same really a few details about my life, with a little bit of social commentary on current affairs. Some of consequence and others of none, but not everything in life needs to be of consequence after all.

Just to fill in what’s been happening with me (if anyone reads this to find out how I’m doing then thank you, we should go out for a pint sometime), I’m still at Uni and living with 4 out of the 8 people I lived with last year. My course has been good if a little bit difficult in certain moments. Although I get the impression some lecturers mark harshly on purpose in the second year to scare us, as everyone seems to be getting lower marks. Nothing much else has happened really, although I am becoming slightly spiritual in a Buddhist sense and I also am now a radio producer for a nice little show which I like to think combines banter with a little bit of cultural knowledge (as I said, I like to think that).

Well now that’s done lets get on with the matter at hand, Heather Mills-McCartney (aka Lady Mucca, Long John Silver, Golddigger etc). I don’t really like to get involved in such bitchy hate campaigns normally, but this whole thing has become ridiculous. Especially as I may end up in the PR industry, I find her displays quite frankly embarrassing and if she is being represented by a company, then people need to stay away from them like Northern Rock’s directors from the company accounts.

Now I know that divorces are hard for people and that money is often an issue. However, when the amounts of money talked about (something like £120 million) are presented as essential for living, then I have a hard time taking that seriously. As Mill’s said herself, about the way this may impact on her daughter Beatrice:

“Beatrice only gets £35,000 a year - so obviously she's meant to travel B class while her father travels A class"

Now let’s just make one thing clear! This toddler is earning £35,000 a year, which is more than some people will earn a year this year, a good £15,000 or so more than I expect to earn when I find employment. It doesn’t matter who her dad is (and to be fair to Sir Paul, I expect that he will probably end up spending more on her than that, I mean she’s probably going to get a yacht for Christmas this year or something) that’s a lot of money for an infant. I used to get £1 pocket money a week when I was her age and I though that was enough for me.

Also what a horrific thought, that poor little Beatrice won’t be able to travel first class anymore on her flights. I mean, perish the thought she may have to travel economy with the normals, eat the bad plane food, and have a sub-par in flight film. What next luxury will be taken from this poor little mite according to ‘Ms Mills’:

  • She may only be able to afford one horse for her stables this year
  • She’ll only a get one Mercedes sports car for her birthday one year
  • She can’t hire out the Ritz for her birthday party, and will have to make do with the Dorchester
  • She can’t have Caviar for breakfast everyday except weekends.

How anyone can live in such squalor boggles the mind….

Of course I was being sarcastic, but if that doesn’t suggest that Mills is a gold digger, then I don’t think anything will. I mean when you have £24 million pounds you are set for life and that is that. The fact that she wanted 100 times that amount says that this is about greed rather than her daughter welfare and a mother using her daughter in that way is hideous.

Also to come out and assume that people will feel that she has been hard done by, in the result of this case, is naïve bordering insanity.

Well rant over anyway