Did you know, that for the price of an extremely dodgy one bedroom flat in Pembroke Dock, you can climb Everest? I say climb… rather, you can walk up guided by a sherpa, with no previous climbing or altitude experience, and then come home and tell all your mates you achieved the impossible. I say impossible, rather, impossible if you don’t have forty grand. You might die, lots of people do, but they usually die on the way down, because summit fever grips you and even though you know you’re holding up the queue and that being a slowcoach means that you’re gonna be cutting it proper fine, you still do it, because, as George Mallory said.. “it’s there”.
Last night, whilst watching one of the million documentaries about the 2019 Everest disaster, where 11 people died, I was struck by the answer of one of the young lads, asked why he wanted to climb Everest. Most people said it was for achievement and all sorts of other nonsense, but this lad answered that it was a way of making life simple, of being just you against the elements and nature. Life becomes about food, ablutions, breathing, survival; all the basic things that in society we take for granted. He said that real life problems are no longer relevant. The stresses of life disappear, and you become just a person, with nothing except whatever guile, energy and lung capacity you possess. Real world concerns melt away.
His answer struck me as familiar, as that’s how I used to feel when living in a field. I used to prefer the stress of cutting wood to keep warm, over the stress of having to work in a hectic job to pay a fuel bill. I preferred the agro of growing things in the garden, and seeing what you got left with to eat, because that was tons less stressful than going to a supermarket and dealing with hordes of people, just to pick up some foodstuff in some packet or another. I preferred being in the dark, and going to bed early, than living in electric light world, where you can stay up and be amused by electronic things for as long into the night as you wish, probably binge watching “The Crown” or some suchlike on Netflix.
Speaking of which…. It’s the jubilee weekend, and we’re half way through the celebrations of a colonial system with a figurehead that’s never been allowed to have a thought of her own and operating instead within the divine right of kings. The working class have filled London to capacity, they watched the planes, they waved their flags, they cheered. Is it because it’s easier than going home and trying to rustle up something for the kids’ tea with very little to work with? Is it to take their minds of the rent increase or the fact their landlord is selling up and they’ve gotta move house again?
Trying to distract myself from work last week, I decided to watch the closing statements of the Depp/Heard case. Suddenly I was hooked. In the same way that if I go to my mum’s and EastEnders is on, I find myself drawn in within seconds, wanting to know why Ian Beale is still alive and who those other people are and are there are still Mitchells around and where’s Sharon?
Our minds instantly jump to distraction, I suppose it’s part of human nature. And no-one knows this better than the media, who point and click us at will, destroying our emotions with Disney cartoons that either put us full face into tragedy, like Nemo losing his dad, or convince us that fairy-tale marriages and handsome princes are thing. Before you know it, your expectation of life is so skewed that you’re all of a sudden giving a crap about the Kardashians, and wondering how to get similar eyebrows. That you’re watching Kate Moss stick up for Johnny Depp and finding yourself wondering if he’ll get back with her or Winona. Or you find yourself watching videos about Everest, because you’ve got bad lungs this week and it makes you feel better to see others having trouble breathing, especially cos you know it cost them 40k for the privilege.
We jump on Ukraine, but we ignore Yemen. We celebrate a jubilee, but ignore the logic of why we have a monarchy, we lap up the trials of Jonny Depp, yet we ignore those of Ghislaine Maxwell, even though her mate Andrew has made it into the news for getting covid on his mum’s big day, so that the crowds can forget that he’s Lillybet’s favourite, and that he’s just cost us more than Johnny Depp cost Amber Heard. Did you see the picture of the 72 chairs at the empty jubilee party at Grenfell? And did you then put it out of your mind and have a celebratory megapint?
Did I dream that Charles and Camilla were on EastEnders? I can’t even really be bothered to go and look it up. I am willing to believe that that actually happened, because it’s elementary isn’t it, that as they’re potentially wheeling out the plot of Weekend at Bernies, they need to set the stage for the new fella. What better way than sticking ‘im and ‘er indoors in Albert Square, the epitome of British working class culture?
Cynicism is rife. If you can manage more than 20 seconds on twitter without hanging yourself, you’ll see that indeed, a lot of people believe that the smiley, spritely Liz we saw on thursday was actually a stunt double, and that’s why on friday she was not in appearance due to “discomfort”. There’s talk of weather control, the rainmakers holding off and making sure that the celebrations were sunny. You ever seen a rainy royal wedding or funeral?
It seems that half the population are driving themselves crazy by not believing anything at all put out by the mainstream media, understandably paranoid about being perpetually lied to, and the other half are completely ignoring everything, paying their bills with credit cards, putting up union jack tea towels and becoming amateur lawyers as they pick apart a trial about rich people arguing. It’s so easy to fall into this trap, that it nearly gets me on a regular basis. I start getting all insular about still trying to buy a house and viewing endless properties, and having purchases fall through due to stupid reasons to do with landlords, leases, mortgage company paranoia and tenants who have nowhere to go.
And back we are at the beginning, because when I lived in a field and ate nothing much but spuds and cabbage, and life seemed what most people would consider difficult, it was an absolute doddle compared to trying to accept these real world societal problems. I brought myself back from my self imposed exile due to the council disallowing me to do anything else, and for 18 months I’ve been trying to set everything up to work, in order to simply achieve what I had a in a field, a roof ever my head, some outside space, and somewhere for the dog to run about. Not much. I don’t ask much. I don’t wanna be a Kardashian. And it turns out that these young high flying bank types, who seem to relish stress and spend their lives chasing dollars, and have lovely homes, are all just desperate to spend that heard earned on achieving exactly what you get if you’re essentially homeless and living a in a field, they just do it on the side of a mountain. The sense of nothing else mattering except for those essentials. Warmth, food, survival.
Do we really break our necks like this, just to get back to the beginning? Has society worked out like they said it would? When you’re sitting around with a lung infection, grateful to Queeny for a long bank holiday because if you don’t work you don’t get paid and you’re short for your bills, and you can’t sort your lungs out because the doctor isn’t answering their phone and the thought of 13 hours in A&E would push you ever the edge, and watching crap about rich kids on Everest, or rich kids who married old actors, or even old actors having a cameo in the queen of British soaps, as the actual son of the actual queen, you can see how the media, how the world, how the ruling class, are engineering this entire situation in order to make us grateful for our lot, even when our kids are malnourished and have mostly lost their minds, we can’t pay our bills, bread is nearly two quid and filling up with petrol is enough to give you a stroke
How much did the jubilee cost? Less than track and trace, more that benefit fraud. Less than tax evasion, more than Amber owes to Johnny. Is Ghislaine guilty yet? Will we ever know? Or is she round Andrew’s house, pretending to have covid? Are we ready to see all this yet? Or are we terrified of the madness it fills our minds with?
The endless paperwork of trying to get a mortgage has made me verge on being happy to have digital ID. The stress of keeping a rented house going and keeping the money together is enough to drive me to the trials of filmstars. The jubilee celebrations are enough to make me feel like there is no real solution, where you see so many gathering in London, to celebrate our country’s dishonest history, and you realise that you’re perpetually fighting a losing battle. The fact I can’t get a doctor, and can’t even be bothered to try, tells me that my apathy has reached full tilt. I understand why an entire populace can feel the same. But if no one fights, then what? Where will we be? Where will we all end up?
Caesar tried to save Rome, and they just got his mate to stab him in the back. It seems the ruling class are desperate to have their fall of empire, even if it destroys them too. Just so that the good men can’t win.
The current solution? Is distraction of epic proportions. Who’d be a good guy? You’re gonna get shot. Better be a bad guy and get rich, surely, or be a neutral guy, like the Queen, and pretend you don’t have any real power.
Attend the celebrations, watch the TV trials, check out the bloke who ripped off Cornwall on the Eastenders, climb a big mountain.
Life is good.