Saturday 29 January 2011

Reasons to be cheerful

I was reminded this evening why I don't like getting caught up in conversations between groups of older women, as the conversation always seems to head for the same territory: people they know who happen to be dead. It's not even that this conversation happens in a wake house that causes it, as I remember being on a workshop group for the long-term unemployed (I was actually in and out of a part-time job for a few years but qualified for the workshop treatment) that was helmed by an older woman and for some reason during the tea breaks our winding-down conversations were fixated on deaths, preferably gruesome ones. I have vague memories of how someone at the table was told she shouldn't (for identification purposes) view the body of a husband or son - I know I sound callous here but I've actually blocked out most of the minutiae over time - who had been flattened by a lorry because there wasn't enough left identifiable as a human being let alone an individual. Then we actually went to even darker places I shan't bother recounting here on the slim possibility someone in the group may be reading.
Alternatively, I also seem to have the same narrow band of conversation when in the company of older men - albeit construction site stories. I may try to exude the air of an educated bohemian by drawing pictures of feminist twentysomethings exploring the consequences of urban ennui and polar bears eating someone's head, but pretty much my entire working adult life has been in the construction trade and I am at heart a slightly stereotypical example of a working class catholic to the point that I willingly bought the Sun on multiple occasions. Yes really.
I don't apologise for it, either, as the Sun is a fantastic example of economic and practical design because it is a newspaper that can be devoured in its entirety during your morning tea break in a way that something on a similar level like The Mirror cannot. The Sun even manages to be economical in the outrage it can instill in you in a way that something like the Guardian can't - it takes a full twenty minutes to digest the latest Monbiot piece on environmental atrocities or Julie Burchill's latest failed attempt to overcompensate for becoming middle-class and having a life so devoid of worth and meaning that she's managed to make Tony Parsons a sympathetic figure, but even then there's barely a flicker of anger at the end of this cold reportage while the Sun can give you a five-paragraph story on dole scroungers on a council estate that makes you want to burn down their offices and manages to instill this towering rage in a matter of minutes. It's a fantastic piece of construction and the only regret I have about buying it for my work breaks was that I didn't have the moral courage to simply buy a real pornographic magazine and a copy of Mein Kamph.

Apologies for rambling, but this is the first time I can recall in ages being this sober. You know what you need in your life? Some Endhiran. Go on - you got to the end of this post and you deserve it.

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