Forgive Me…I Need To Get This Off My Chest

I had planned to post this week on some of my birthday exploits but I can’t get past the rioting that has been flaring up all over London so forgive me while I get this off my chest.

On Sunday morning I emerged sleepy-eyed to see a text from Mum asking if I was OK.  ‘OK?’ I thought. ‘What on earth is she talking about?’

Then I turned on my computer.  Rioting. Looting. In London. Specifically in Tottenham.  Was this right?  How could this be?  Ensconsed in my flat on the other side of London, it just didn’t seem real.

Since, like the rest of the world, I have woken each morning to the news of behaviour I can hardly believe.  Hackney. Enfield. Ealing. Clapham. Brixton. Bristol. Birmingham. Manchester.  Cars set alight. Shop windows smashed.  Items snatched from shelves and carried down the street aloft like trophies. 

Pictures on Twitter, in the papers, on the news – looking more like a war-zone (not that I know what this would really look like). 

Stories of looters bragging of ‘taking from the rich’, stealing hard-earned livings from strangers, swaggering with arrogance and disrespect and entitlement.

How did it come to this?  What did we do as a society (that’s all of us) to bring this on ourselves?

I have been in turn appalled, disbelieving, disgusted, angry and deeply shocked – but mostly I am sad.  Sad that hard work and building a life is dismissed in such a cavalier fashion by those who think that the rewards are owed and there to be demanded at will.  Sad that businesses must close to protect their staff, that people are frightened in their own homes, that schools must send our children – the ones who will shape our society in the future – home.  What an abysmal example to set – that behaving in such cowardly and criminal ways clears the path for getting what one wants.

And while I’m still reeling from this, I am also heartened by the way that local communities have banded together to support those affected (on Twitter you can check out @riotcleanup).

9th August 2011 – Clapham’s Broom Army
(Picture: @Lawcol888)
10th August 2011 – Peckham Poundland’s Post-It Wall
(Picture: Getty Images)

But in the end I just really wish it wasn’t necessary.

I Am Blogger…Hear Me Now???

In this brave new world of blogging I find myself in, reading the mental meanderings of those I’ve never actually met (and some that I have!!) passes many an idle hour on the commute to and from work.  One of my faves is ad broad, an ‘age-less’, ad-industry female who claims to be the oldest working writer in advertising – her pithy comments and pointed rantings make me smile…and question…and wonder…and smile again…

Anyhow, I read one of her posts recently – no status update = new status symbol – and it did make me wonder about this societal addiction that has emerged.  Letting everyone know what you are doing at random moments on every available medium and presuming that the ‘world out there’ will be fascinated by this.  

Isn’t this just the ultimate in attention-seeking, diva behaviour? 

There has been this absolute transformation from the parental edict ‘seen and not heard’ that I remember to this kind of cyber-showing off – this urge to have something to say, and be heard, all of the time. 

I wonder about the backlash against this that she blogs about.  Some of my friends have emailed me saying they have closed their Facebook accounts and I’m still wondering about the whole Twitter thing myself (I have a twitter-toe dipped in the water though – you can find me – sporadically – under giddayfromtheuk) but I don’t see this surge to social media and the more, quicker, better race for status-updating technologies that surrounds it abating anytime soon.

I’m not sure where my feelings really lie.  I like Facebook and love blogging and if there are no comments in response to my updates and posts for a period of time, I feel slightly bereft.  And some of my fellow bloggers are thought-provoking, funny, irreverent, inspiring and completely generous in allowing me to peek into their worlds. But I worry a bit about the ‘behaviour’ social media seems to generate – the constant ‘I have something to say/Hear me now!’. 

After all, it’s a big world out there – and who REALLY cares?