Thursday, 5 January 2012


Fit to burst. Bloated. Stuffed from the Christmas and New Year festivities. Too many biscuits, mince pies, chocolates and tea. All consumed sitting down in front of the TV. Endless re-runs of movies, images flashing, sound blaring out. Mastermind, University Challenge, Come Dine With Me... Mindless telly. Numbness from the excess of Christmas. Board games played, books read to mask the hunger. All other activities considered, pursued. A little aerobics, a stationary bike ride, some yoga... Anything else to pass the time, to avoid that dreaded word: SHOPPING.

The rush to hit the Boxing Day and January sales completely bypasses me. The mad dash to join in, participate, get involved, queue. A rugby scrum of people and clothes. The scrabble, the search for a bargain. To turn round, say “Look what I got! 25% off too!” A glimmer of pride, satisfaction playing across the lips, in the eyes. A game for the cash-strapped, not the starved. The West is not in the grip of a global recession, but is besieged by mad hungers that grow more ravenous as we feed them. We have to have what we want because we want it. Kindle, smart phones, and plasma TVs... A keeping up with the Joneses. A Dragons den of every conceivable accessory. New technology. All deserving of these goods, to not feel left out, regardless of cost or amount in the bank account. Aren't we?

Am I missing a trick? Refusing to stay in touch with this 24/7 society? In all probability, yet I remain unconcerned about falling behind with the times. My life sated with old fashioned pleasures. An old Motorola mobile, a second-hand laptop, an assortment of well-worn clothes, and books with pages.“Living in poverty” is not a term I'd use to define us. Yes, we might not be able to have what we want when we want it, but we're not destitute. Stricken by disease, a bundle of rags to our name. We live beyond our means. A system where being in debt or claiming benefits is accepted practice. A land of plenty. More than enough to go round. The kind of luxury the third world will never know.

A “famine” has been brought upon us, we moan. The bankers, the government, caused the crash. We're pawns in this economic cycle. Perfectly happy to flash the cash. Spend what we can't afford to. A tsunami of cuts resulted in shock. Mass protests at the unfairness. We all need to tighten our belts. To value what we have, not regret what we have not.