Thursday, 12 April 2012

work buy consume die

It looks like some decent weather might be slowly heading our way. A little, consistent sunshine would be nice though I know we need rain. So spring is springing.
Winter was a bit of a trial. Christmas was awful. It’s the aftermath that frightens me and it’s almost the same at Easter. It seems the future of our economic survival is down to how much we spend at festive times and we always need some thing don’t we. The media wait with baited breath or is it bait breath to announce how well we all did for society via the holiday spend up.
We don’t get any prizes for spending so much and we are still subject to the cuts and management goal post shifting and re-working of our contractual obligations. More work for less reward. If the shops have a bumper festive take do we benefit? No, not really.
It’ has taken a long time but I am beginning to think that it is all “the stuff” that hurts us most of all. It is true nothing last as long as it used (old bastard in the room lol) and a wagon wheel biscuit is smaller than it used to be. The “stuff” is letting us down. The novelty of acquisition has paled and the cost of our collective greed is becoming clearer to see with each days passing.
Do we have to keep on buying so much junk just to keep the economic wolf from the door and international banking systems from collapse? Even with shrinking values and inbuilt obsolescence to keep us coming back for more, the jobs a bad ‘un. It is busted and needs fixing.
I have some “stuff” of course. It isn’t much and most of my big spending lol, goes on musical equipment, tools. I am about to buy an I Mac so I can run a modern version of Logic, the music production software. Luke has been using it for a while now and loves it. Ah, but do I need it. Actually yes! I need to keep up a bit in terms of music technology and it is a very efficient, cost effective purchase. Well that is my excuse and it seems we’ve all got one when it comes to the big purchase. I can work with what I have but you might be surprised how elementary my music production set up is.
Even when I am buying the tools of my trade there is a part of what I think is slightly warped working class legacy that works in me. Some times it is for good and some times not. It is a thing that often makes me wait until the bargain is gone because I often question what might seem an extravagant and unnecessary purchase even when it is not.
I recently saw a TV program about Asian immigrants living a destitute life here on the streets with out the right to work and with out a way back home.
One guy featured had a family back home and when his parents died they inherited everything including a little land. He saw no point to going back to nothing. The family were neither rich nor very poor by local standards. When they saw footage of their family member in such distress they immediately said he must go home to them where he would have a place to live, a clean bed, food and “our love”. That sounded wonderful to me and provokes a re-evaluation of what it is that I really need
What a step up this would be for any one living in the streets and how different it might be for the man in the film to be home with all his basic needs covered. How different would life be for all of us if those very basic needs could be met for all?
Most of us have too much stuff and the truth is I don’t think I need much more than him or even any more at all. I have to admit I didn’t see this so clearly in the past.
I’d rather have time than “stuff” and we never know how much time we have so I am going to convert some stuff into a little cash (and it will be a little), spend as little as possible with a very few treats now and then and, try to get back as much time as I can. The other aim is to do the things I really want to do and nothing I don’t want to do. It won’t be easy but I am not alone judging from recent discussions with quite a few folk of the same mind. Perhaps time is becoming “ the new black”, an essential accessory.
Among my friends and colleagues there is a growing reluctance to maintain the things that seemed so necessary not so long ago and to continue to add to the mounting pile of discarded consumables and other trash. The green life style brigade has and is making a challenging and valuable contribution to the debate over a sane and reasonable approach to life in a time when so much that we took for granted only 20 or 30 years ago, is under threat. By the way I am not preaching or trying to convert any one to any thing at all.  You do what you like. You will any way just as I am bound to. Just don’t expect a Christmas card or Easter egg from me, ever.
As the legend on a friends kitchen wall proclaims, “ The most important things in life are not things”.



Anonymous said...

Hypnotherapy en masse - that is the answer. Teach the people to think anew.

My friend has no heating and no hot water. She has no washing machine. She mostly cooks with one pan. Her clothes are sourced from charity shops or ethnically sound traders. She has no computer, no mobile phone, a black and white TV which will no doubt die on April 18th. She is well educated and multi skilled. Her skin glows, she glows! She is amazing. She is also happy!

Anonymous said...

More wise words, Rob. I'd expect nothing else from you.
'Stuff' does not bring happiness, some is pretty essential in this day and age but most is bought just because the adverts ram home how much we all need it.....mostly, we don't.
My most treasured possession right now is my ticket for your show in Brighton next week !! Lol! See you there.
Shoreham Steve

rick said...

Hi Rob Indeed what you say is true. You either buy the lie and jump into consumerism or you just purchase what you need not necessarily what you want.

Anonymous said...

Today at work I asked a customer if she needed a bag she said, "No thank you I have lots of bags just gotta fill them as I am 'shopping' today." She said this as if shopping was a hobby so I said, "You are 'just' shopping for nothing in particular then?"

"Yes just shopping till I fill these bags. (at this point she shows me several bags inside a large Sports Direct bag.) I am really thirsty and starving hungry but I thought, you know what; just keep shopping and fill these bags" She said.

Ironically there are people starving whilst she deprives herself of food to shop for the hell of it, wonder if she stopped to purchase a copy of the Big Issue. Like I said in my first comment we need hypnotherapy en masse to change the way a lot of people think or rather don't think. I wanted to remove her head from her backside and stick it in one of her empty bags!!!!!! Along with the heads of the couple who shelled out £599 yes five hundred and ninety nine pounds on an ipad for their 3 year old and said there was no need for a screen protector for it!!!!!!

There is a middle way there does not have to be extremes.

Anonymous said...

Like me, you're old enough to remember when Mars bars weren't the size of Milky Ways. 90p each in Marks on Victoria Station!

Tony H.

Anonymous said...

@Tony H

Yes and now you get 'Giant' chocolate buttons and 'Grab' bags of crisps which are the size of the original packets. Mars did actually comment on a food and drink programme a couple of years ago that the Mars bar has in fact got bigger well I think they must be living on the planet Mars as they are definately smaller the duos you can get are probably more in line with the size of the old Mars.

90p for a Mars - how long were you laughing for before you recovered the power of speech. 90p - 18 shillings!!!!!!!!!!! for a bar of chocolate I'd have wanted a golden ticket for Willy Wonka's factory at least!!

Anonymous said...

So, who's gonna be in the new band, Rob.

Anonymous said...

Can't really see the relevance in relation to the original blog entry, but seeing as you asked, Mark King, Neil Peart, Brian May & Jools Holland, Kenny G, Jeff Lynne, Glen Matlock, Peter Andre & Richard Carpenter have all said yes so far.

Anonymous said...

Q. So, who's gonna be in the new band, Rob?

A. Not you!

Jarle said...

The new band : Rob, Loz, Kiss, Luke and Jarle, it'll be prof vocals, guitars, keyboards and....We'll perform all from Wasa to by myself.....including the Virus and Eskimos in Oslo....enjoy :)