Tag Archives: education

Anchovies versus Worcester sauce

If someone had told me in my twenties that it’s possible to eat healthily and enjoy it, I’d have looked at them balefully, slowly shaking my head as I picked a piece of congealed lamb off yesterday’s T-shirt, contemplating microwaving it.

I mean, it’s obviously nonsense isn’t it? Everything I’ve ever had advertised at me suggests vegetables are dangerous and sweets are magnificent. It’s cheaper, easier and better in every way to crack open the Fanta than attempt to make or consume a ‘pineapple and spinach smoothie’. At no point did any of my parents suggest that broccoli is anything more than an obstacle between me and the ice cream that I want right in my face right fucking now please.

Apparently it didn’t cross their minds to teach me how to cook properly. So it’s with mixed feelings I report to you that, believe it or not, I now can.

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Whatever happened to Wendy Jones

I wonder whatever happened to Wendy Jones.

I’d like to think she’s a success, juggling a high-profile job as a defence barrister with being a mother of two, but that can’t be right. She couldn’t work and keep little Julian and Jemimah home during the pandemic, with the primary schools shut and all. Kids are hardly affected by the virus, I don’t see why they can’t just reopen as normal, and if a few teachers keel over well I’m sorry but these rapists won’t get themselves off. That’s the trouble.

I fear a darker outcome for poor Wendy, and it’s all my fault. When we were six, I said something that made Richard Knightley laugh so hard some hideous bright green fluid started pouring from his nose, and Wendy’s horrified reaction was enough to see her join me in detention while Richard chuckled his way off to the nurse. 

That was likely the start of Wendy’s descent into criminality. I imagine her scarred so deeply she lost trust in men, turning to booze, then opiates, with no way to pay for her fierce addictions other than to go on the game. Maybe even now a 42-year-old, toothless Wendy is on a street corner somewhere like Rotherham, imploring a tramp to let her gobble him off for a half bottle of Aldi brandy with a dribble mixer.

Such are the dangers of primary school.

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One or two assignments

More young people than ever are deciding that they would like to go to university to improve their career prospects – or, as I highly suspect, to delay actually having to get a real job and contribute to the society that has spoon fed them up to this point in their lives.

With university comes study, and also the need to live alone; probably for the first time in the lives of the majority of people who choose to go. This is an excellent opportunity for young people, and a true chance to let their hair down before they have to cope with the real world of work, taxes and other pressures. Yet, what do most students decide to do? Fucking moan about it.

You only have to look at Facebook to see it. Things like “Wow, I have SO much work to do” or “I have to get up SO early tomorrow” or “I’m SO broke, I don’t think I can afford to eat for a month”. The problem is that these students don’t appreciate the luxuries they have while they’re young, and while the Bank of Mum and Dad is still wide open for business. They’ll be in for a shock when they drag their sorry little asses to a proper job – one that requires genuine commitment – and have to work for a living with no way out of it.

“Wow, I have SO much work to do!”

No, you don’t. You attend lectures for maybe 30 weeks out of the year, if that, and do pretty much fuck all in between. You might have one or two assignments to complete during term time, and a few exams at the end of the year but, all in all, that is not a lot of work. Not to me, a hard worker in the real world. The problem is that you’re so fucking lazy you’ll leave everything until the last minute – you always have work to do, but you don’t actually spend very much time doing it, because it seems like a better plan to go out and get pissed, or arse around doing “crazy shit” round campus. If you stopped being so fucking bone idle, you might actually get work done before a deadline, and be able to chill the fuck out for once.

“I have to get up SO early tomorrow!”

Again, no, you don’t. Unless you’re an idiot who’s decided to get accommodation a million miles from campus the earliest you’re going to start is 9am. Which, newsflash, is not early. I’ve seen university timetables, with your 12 hours of teaching a week, plus several late starts or whole days off. You’re going to be in for the shock of your life when you actually work shifts that mean you have to be there for 7am, getting up in what must now seem like the middle of your night. So you know what, enjoy your fucking lie ins, because once you graduate you can kiss them goodbye.

“I’m SO broke, I don’t think I can afford to eat for a month!”

Okay, so this might be true. But the sad fact is that it’s your fault. University students get money for free. Money that hard-working taxpayers have paid into the system, or money that your parents have given to you – despite the fact that actually, you’re no longer a child, can successfully tie your own shoelaces, and really shouldn’t be relying on hand-outs any more. What’s so bad about getting a job anyway? In my day (how ancient does that make me sound, for fuck’s sake) we all had jobs alongside study, there were no parental hand-outs, and help from the government was minimal. And, to be honest, I remember being grateful for it.

So yes, your lazy attitude and lack of job doesn’t help, but what about your spending choices? You don’t have enough money to spend £10 in the supermarket, but yet somehow you can spend £30 on one takeaway meal, or the same on drinks on a night out. You need to sort out your priorities, and if you don’t, it’s your fault.

Ultimately, students need to get a fucking grip, or they’ll be faced with a very serious reality check when they leave their protected little bubble and enter into the real, scary world of adults. Student life is the most cushioned existence ever created – all of the freedom of choice of adulthood, with none of the real responsibilit. And still they fucking moan about it.

Overtake me

I’m 24 years old, and I get a fuck load of abuse from my friends due to the fact that I don’t yet have a driving licence. Up until now, I’ve managed to convince myself that it really doesn’t matter too much. I can get the bus! I have lots of friends who drive! I like walking! The excuses go on.

Did you know that the average age to pass a driving test in the UK is 23 for a female? This is what I cling to when I’m explaining myself but, at 24, I’m creeping away from the average – so something has to change. I’m on the road, I have my L plates, and I’m well on my way to getting that licence that I’ve managed to avoid for so long.

Am I happy about it? I suppose so. I mean, journeys will be much more convenient when I can just go whenever and wherever I like. But the one thing I’ve learned, above everything else, is that the other people on the road are absolute fucking wankers. Seriously – I’ve never been one for anger issues, but just a few short weeks behind the wheel has changed that forever.

Cars are wonderful things. They can take us to where we want to be, and they can let other people know what we plan to do with their handy built-in indicator feature. Is this feature a new invention, you may ask? No! Indicators have been on cars for decades, so why the fuck does the entire country seem to have developed such an allergy to them?

I don’t like taking risks or living on the edge. I’m the ‘safest’ person I know, therefore I like to wait for a good gap at a roundabout. This is all well and good when people indicate – if you’re coming off at the exit before I’m joining, I can go! But they do not fucking tell you. It’s not much effort. It’s the flick of a wrist at most, and being such a load of wankers they can’t be out of practice, yet the action seems to evade them.

I also pride myself on sticking to the speed limit most of the time. Unlike the stereotypical learner who drives at 10mph pretty much everywhere, I have no problem with a bit of speed. I drive at 30 in a 30, 40 in a 40 and 60 in a 60 – but it would seem that seeing L plates on the back of a car just screams “overtake me”, no matter how fast I’m going at the time. It sounds like something you’d hear on Grand Prix racing. The revving of an engine, the sound as the car passes, and the gentle slowing of the revs as they settle back in front of you like the smug “I have a driving licence” bastards that they are.

I did achieve some level of satisfaction last week when I reached the top of a hill and found a speed trap on the other side – because the idiot who had overtaken me must have been caught, as he was going at least 80mph, which is just ridiculous. To the people who feel the need to speed past when we’re near houses or schools: get a fucking grip. You won’t bully me into speeding when there could be kids about, no way. Dirty your conscience, but leave mine alone.

So what have I learned from my driving lessons so far? Well, I’m a lot angrier than I thought, though my mood does improve the second I pull back onto my drive. Also, most of the road-based human population are utter dickheads, though I already had my suspicions about that one.

When explaining to others why I hadn’t learned to drive at the age of 17, I garbled a load of rubbish about how I was saving money, saving time, saving energy. Now I realise the only thing I was saving was anger. Perhaps I need to buy a punch bag before I head out again.

Aberdeen is about to be demolished

Dreadful stuff, oil. Anything you can pour on a bird to fuck it right up is awful in the simple layman’s world I like to think I live in, but of course without oil you couldn’t have, well, anything. Oil powers everything and is responsible for all the good and bad things you can buy in the world; there’s no product that oil hasn’t had a hand in, from the enormous new TV you lick with joy when you get home to the internet that rules your life but you can’t actually touch, to the bottle containing the Lucozade Sport you mistakenly think will cure your hangover to the entire floor of horrifying sex toys you’ll find in Tokyo department stores that also sell Lego and Pokemon because wow it’s a strange place is Japan.

And oil, right now, is cheaper than it’s ever been. That’s fantastic news, says the idiot – everything we consume and shit back out without thinking will be cheaper. We can share the boon with businesses that we’ll allow to reduce the prices we pay a bit less than the reduction in oil prices. We win, they win. A victory for the system.

No. It turns out the lower the oil price the more completely wrecked the world’s economy becomes and the worse it is for everyone. There are people on the news horrified that the oil price, presumably set by people rather than by the oil itself, is so painfully low. Sheikhs can no longer afford huge cars they won’t allow women to drive. Aberdeen is about to be demolished. That’s economics.

Two years of pretending to listen to a teacher we used to call ‘Scrippy’, for reasons only entertaining to schoolboys and which with hindsight were stunningly misogynistic, taught me that economics is a dull, largely worthless subject. Perhaps my hatred of capitalism, combined with my guilty acceptance and use of it, stems from my A-level in Economics, in which I got a C.

What’s absolutely certain is that those two years taught me nothing. I have no idea how capitalism actually works.

I’ll give you another example: inflation. Inflation has hit an impressive low of 0.5% in the UK in the last week. Excellent, this must mean the price of things increases slower – that much I did learn from the A-level – which is a good thing for people who don’t own many, many boats laden with supermodels.

No. Inflation being low is bad you imbecile. The Bank of England has a target of 2% inflation – the economy is healthy if this time next year everything is 2% more expensive. Does anyone understand why that is? Is there an obvious reason I missed when poor Scrippy was scooping her mercantile shite into my ears that means it’s strange that prices should change at all? Is it the height of buffoonery to suggest that the price of things should remain the same unless there’s a shortage or surplus of whatever materials are used to make those things?

To make matters worse, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who strikes me as some kind of sprite, appears on the news to explain to us all that inflation being low is a vindication of the government’s economic strategy. Only he knows why, and the only thing that’s abundantly clear is we’re all fucked but they’re all right, plus ça change.

Were I a cynical man I might suggest that there are some among us who would use economics to dishearten and dumbfound the rest of us. When the majority have absolutely no idea what’s going on, when logical statements such as ‘lower prices are good’ turn out to be nonsense, the few people who assert they know what they’re talking about can claim triumph when defeat seems more inevitable than lower back pain in old age. Everything, if you look at it from the right angle, can be both superb and abominable.

The people with all the money get to decide how the money works, what the money does and where the money goes. There are slots on ‘news’ radio shows dedicated to economics and every three months some defiant berk at the head of a supermarket chain has to come on to explain why their devastating financial figures are both good for the economy generally and definitely good for their customers. Mr Tesco, I contend you may not be allowed to retain that Victoria Sponge you’re currently feasting on.

A final example of the madness of economics. To mind mind, there aren’t more cows than there needs to be, and probably not more farmers either. Explain, therefore, how the price of milk has fallen so low now that it’s selling at a lower price than it costs to produce it. Cows are expelling their juice for our benefit without the people manhandling them getting paid enough to make it a worthwhile endeavour, and though milking a cow is probably wondrous the first time you do it, it probably won’t be on at 5am on a Tuesday morning in December.

Is that good news or bad? Milk is cheaper for everyone, and everyone buys milk, so that’s good. But the people who produce the milk are getting stitched up and might then stop producing milk, so there’s then less milk, and the price goes up, and is that bad or good, and where am I? Maybe we’re meant to hate farmers, because they have big sheds that nobody’s allowed in, and inside these big sheds are twenty-foot high chickens, because of all the chemicals they put in them. And these chickens are scared.

Economics rules our lives and yet makes as much sense as the lap-dance dream sequence in I’m Alan Partridge. As far as I can gather, the most I got from Scrippy’s lessons was the knowledge that I will have to live within an economic system that makes no sense at the same time that it controls everything all of us do. For all we know it might be good for us, or it might be 2008 again and we’re all fucked for reasons none of us understand.

Either way, Robert Peston’s voice will still be the most atrocious sound you will hear of a morning.