A New England

On previous occasions I have written posts about the changes I have witnessed in Poland(e.g. I Love Warsaw, 7 Years On) without writing a single word about England.  Now I can’t help but wonder why?  Perhaps my reticence is due to the claim that people should only write about what they know(After all I haven’t lived in England for nearly 8 years).  I suspect it has something to do with the motherly maxim ‘if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.’

One of the strangest things about growing up in England was the importance of television. The most striking thing about English soaps and films was how fucking miserable they were compared to other countries.  It appears that very little has changed.  If soaps are to be believed England is full of po-faced cunts sitting around drinking tea and moaning.  Our film industry has reached such a low ebb that our biggest money-spinner is a blond James Bond with manners better suited to the Elizabethan era.  Our only saving grace is comedy.  Sitcoms, comedy dramas, mockumentaries, sketch shows and stand ups all prove that comedy is alive and well in England.  It has even hijacked the quiz show genre.  The question the overabundance of comedy on our tv screens poses is why do we possess such an insatiable appetite for humour?

Is England depressed?  How on earth do you go about diagnosing a country with depression?  Are we witnessing the emergence of a new 21st century mentality?  Is this what the Latin scholars christened Couldn’tgiveafuckitus?  A quick look at www.mentalhealth.org.uk was enough to convince me that something is definitely wrong.

Is this the result of a nation which feels obliged to answer fine when someone asks how are you?  Is our stiff upper lip affecting our happiness?  What does it really mean when we say mustn’t grumble in response to a personal question despite the fact we are obsessed with grumbling about the weather?  Are we witnessing the implosion of English stolidity? Are we all destined to end up on the Jeremy Kyle show?

On a recent visit to England I was stunned by the amount of times I heard someone utter the magnificently British phrase ‘I can’t be bothered.’  Initially it left me wondering where such a crippling inertia stems from.  I was convinced that the vast majority of English people think that Carpe Diem is some kind of fish.  Now I suspect that it is merely a symptom of something more.  After all there was a reason the financial recession of the 1920’s was known as the Great Depression.  Or maybe I am wrong.  Maybe England has always been that way.

The times they aren’t a-changing –
Yeah, England’s still shit and it’s still raining,
And everybody’s jaded and tired and bored
And no one lifts a finger because
It’s just not in our culture.
Our culture is carrion and we’re all vultures,
And no one seems bothered by this state of play –
It seems that the stench is with us to stay.

Frank Turner – Once We Were Anarchists

Wasting Time

With my novel wrapped up, and no work for another week I have found myself with very little to do all week.  I have tried my level best to keep a promise I made sometime ago that once I finished my manuscript I would start to try to focus my efforts on joining the world of grown ups.  Being 30 years old with no retirement plan to speak of is hardly an ideal situation, so it’s with great trepidation that I now have to start thinking about what the bloody hell I am to do with the rest of my life.

The first morning after sending my manuscript was the most difficult.  For just over a year two things have been my companions every day, writing and the pain in my leg.  Actually stopping writing is proving to be quite similar to give up smoking(which I quit about half a year ago).  I found myself sketching out details for another novel before I reminded myself that I cannot do that.  The time and attention required means that it serves as a massive distraction from life.  It’s sad but I have to accept the fact that it is time to live like a grown up.  The same goes for this blog.  I promised to give myself one year.  At the end of November I will close this blog.  Unfortunately life is not a Hollywood movie.

The actual waiting of this process is quite awful.  I currently fill my time by trying to think of things to do which do not require the use of my brain.  The worst thing is that it hasn’t even been a week.  I can’t even bear to think about the future.  The idea of becoming bored, unfulfilled and miserable for the rest of my life terrifies me.  Sadly, I don’t see any other option.  Life,  you stink.