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”.


Thursday, 5 April 2012