Wednesday 10 August 2011

No Elvis, Beatles or the Rolling Stones

A tragic, maddening and gormless interview on Radio 4's Today programme this morning. Paul - they should have gotten his full name, Paul is exactly the kind of brass necked idiot stupid enough to give it to them - a 16-year old looter in Manchester was asked about his choice of evening activities.

Why not do it?, he argued. No-one is being arrested and you can get all kinds of cool stuff which would under normal circumstances cost a lot of money. If he did get caught "it'd only be my first offence. The prisons are all overcrowded anyway, what are they going to do, give me an ASBO?"

You don't know whether to laugh, cry or punch him in the face. David Cameron's hopes for The Big Society are going to run aground spectacularly if Paul is anything to go by. He should be one of its building blocks, but instead he's dazzlingly unsocialised and lacking any empathy. His view of law and order is one of expediency, rather than respect. It would only be his first offence. His total fear of fucking up his future stems from the fact that he has no future. The flowers in our dustbin, indeed.

This country is failing, and it's failing because it's failing people like Paul. I'm not going to jump on the hell-in-a-handbasket bandwagon. For every Paul there are ten, twenty, a hundred more fine, upstanding 16-year old children with dreams, ambitions and a healthy level of disgust for what we're seeing in our cities. However, it doesn't take many. Paul is a black hole of a human being, and as black holes are wont he will gladly suck all the goodness out of the world around him until there is nothing left.

I'm not a politician, or even politically minded. I have no answers to how we can help save Pauls and prevent the formation of new Pauls, each more Pauly than the Pauls before them. With qualifications like that, maybe I should be a politician, . But at least when British society collapsed in the late 1970s and early 1980s, we got some good music out of it. And that's only a semi-jocular point. My biggest concern for the future of Britain is that creativity seems to have abandoned its disaffected youth, leaving only anger, desolation and destruction behind.


Coolpants1 said...


Bleep said...

The point that Paul raised is that on any given night in any city in the UK you could, if you wished, take to the streets and smash stuff up. And further, there isn't really that much that the authorities can do to stop it.

The thing is that most nights of the century this doesn't happen, in part so that retailers can sell food, emergency services can rescue people in distress and manufacturers can stock up with gaudy sportswear for Paul and his friends to buy.

Just because you can run riot any night of the year, Paul, it doesn't mean that you should. you should not need someone constantly on guard to stop you being a div. Or maybe Paul does?

Sarah said...

I've put too much thought into wondering why political unrest in the 2000s doesn't seem to be giving us any good, angry music. Instead of more punk, hardcore, post-punk, whathaveyou, we're getting whatever the fuck Ke$ha is.


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