Sunday, 26 April 2015

D'You Know What I Mean?

"Get up off the floor and believe in life, no-one's ever gonna ask you twice", were the immortal words from Oasis' much heralded debut single from their unforgettable third album, Be Here Now. I'm being sarcastic in order to conform with the general public assertion, although it's faux sarcasm, because I rather liked it.

It was this kind of mindset that persuaded me to drag my arthritis riddle bones and joints out of my warm bed last monday morning at 6am to get my arse to the swimming pool before I had to be in work.....I did it tuesday too.....although by wednesday I'd seen sense. No longer could I be part of the 6:30am gym queue, those same faces.....a picture of positivity that doesn't really become me and the embodiment of a 'YOLO' morning dreamed up by GMTV's 1980's shell suit adorning, epileptically squat thrusting Lizzie Webb. I think we're mutating into a different breed of human being, a gooding up the greed, protein shake gurgling, carbohydrate avoiding, teeth whitening, tattoo'd up generation.....well, whatever's going on, you can leave me out of it.

It's a similar story on my telly this morning. I'm really finding it hard to #getinspired by watching people run around the streets of London in fancy dress whilst guiltily gorging on my bacon sarnie. It just looks like a mass hen/stag do who've been arrested the night before, released, still inebriated and bewildered by the morning sun, having failed to remove their prison numbers. Look! I'm on the telly ruining my knees dressed as a sumo wrestler.....could there be a better way to spend your sunday morning? It's a narcissistic jogger extravaganza.

I walked 26 miles once, I was training for a walk I'd planned to complete from Cardiff to London. It never happened in the end, I'd met up with the NSPCC and they didn't help me organise it in the slightest, so like every other dream I've dreamt up in my life, it became another of the pipe variety. Now I wish I'd gotten sponsored for that walk, it killed me, and it was all for nothing!  Maybe I could have walked the Cardiff-London distance by just continually walking around my flat? I wouldn't have had to have organised a route or accommodation.....jesus, why didn't I think about that at the time? Perhaps it wouldn't have had the glory factor and maybe a sponsored 150 mile walk within my flat might not have got imaginations racing enough to raise a decent amount of cash......it does make you wonder if Ian Botham would have been knighted if he'd walked the Land's End to John o'Groats distance in his garden.

For me though, the most encouraging aspect of these charity inspired events is the seemingly neverending generosity of the british public. The fact that it's held in a city that dictates and stimulates an ever growing divide between the rich and the poor is an ironic twist that seems to be lost on the less cynical people out there. One years' income of the 100 richest people on the planet could end world poverty. I wonder how many of that list live in or do a lot of their business within the capital? I do find it incredible that it's the people who are most in need who are the most empathetic in society, what a shame it's not the other way around.

Is there a reason why people who have less are more likely to be generous and able to sympathise with those less fortunate? When I became unemployed and began rubbing shoulders with the likes you'd see on Benefits Street, I quickly became are more understanding person, it was like a crash course in clarity of thought. Now I'm employed again, I'm finding it easier to abstain from lazy, aspersion casting. My narrow minded blanket canvassing of judging, assumption making and making sweeping generalizations has become almost a thing of the past, although it's still a constant battle to keep my old-fashioned belief system in check. I listen to people who say the things that I used to say and it makes me angry how little patience people can have with immigrants, disabled and the unemployed, thanks to Jeremy Kyle and trailor-park trash porn becoming ever more present and popular on our television screens. We've become so detached with what's really happening, to the point where we don't even make the effort to understand why people have ended up why they have. It's not our problem, we tell ourselves, why should I care? Yep, just look after your own and as long as you're alright, that's the main thing.

The more we feel disenfranchised from society and are less likely to want to help, the more the needy will suffer. On top of this, the more drained of charitable resources we become, thanks to the imbalance and disparities of society, the stream of money coming from this demographic will decrease in volume, exacerbating the problem even further, it's a vicious circle that's been going around for centuries, with capitalism only speeding up the cycle of misery and cynicism.

The sooner we stop settling for the bare minimum, the better. Huge corporations are getting away with paying staff less than a 'living wage', in 2015. How can this be possible? How can the national minimum wage fall below a living wage?! No mention of that in any of the recent live political debates was there?! Yet there they are, in their hundreds of thousands, cheering on gluttons for punishment giving up their sunday to do some good, running for 26 miles against a backdrop of money laundering tax-evading banks and age-old greedy institutions that financially crippled them for years. I can't work out if that's ironic tragedy or the real inspiration.






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