Tag Archives: student

Low Density Depression

This may or may not surprise you, but here at Easy Realism Towers, we are prone to bouts of depression.

I have been trying to come up with a rationale for this most heinous of downers (yes, I am trying to cheer myself up with Wayne’s-World-esque turns of phrase) for the past couple of weeks.

Am I doing too many shifts at my shitty job? No. I am doing maybe two shifts at the weekend. Hardcore shifts, one may argue: six or ten hours of “serving” the undeserving rich for less than minimum wage; building up serious pressure headaches from having to stare at these people through the disdain.

Am I making enough money from this otherwise needless weekend stress? No, but that doesn’t bother me too much. I make around £250 a month at present. I don’t have to stop myself from going out whenever I want as long as I don’t ruin my earnings on food* clothes or the much-lusted-after DSLR camera.

*Freudian slip: I just wrote “ruin my earnings on food”. Since this post is, for me, some surrogate psychology session; I may as well let you know that I have – at least partially – admitted to having a problem with food, after a thousand empty arguments with Kathy. Not a disorder. Not a serious problem. Just a minor problem. I have started buying more fruit to counter this minor problem. It is easier to imagine finishing a few slices of melon than some massive pasta, then the stomach demands more without feeling overwhelmed by a full on meal.

Speaking of arguments with Kathy, we had a huge fight – a battle – about smoking in the house. She said she was fine with me smoking outside, just not in the room in case of deaths (even though that is totally not going to happen). She reassured me lastnight that she was not “getting on” at me, then slowly built up a barrage of nip nip nip nip nips about how there are no benefits to smoking; how I am damaging myself; how she treats long term smokers on a weekly basis, and so on. Right now, I find “long term” an absurd concept. I have no long term.

Speaking of long term damage, I managed to find a supplier of these fancy cigarettes I have always wanted to try: Native American Spirit. I think this may be an invented memory since I cannot find a source of this information anywhere, but I am sure I read that these are the type Joni Mitchell smokes. I also bought these fancy bastards because I was incredibly tired when I found this site and thought I had money to burn. How foolish of me.

I am trying to get some work done with a function band just now but am not giving myself enough practice time and therefore holding everyone back. I don’t have time for this commitment right now.

I am experiencing dissertation panic as the whole thing is due in maybe two weeks. I wanted to go to Spain to see my dad before he moved back to Scotland, but because of the work load and making less money than I would like to, I can’t afford to go.

As blog catharsis goes, this has been rather good. A permanently recorded snapshot of low density depression. Surrogate psychology works better than the real thing. Thanks, doc; just don’t let anyone read my file.

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Engaging With Capitalism #2

I am ill right now, so please excuse any typographical errors. Hopefully I won’t have to use the word “somersaults” at any point.

I hate December. I hate Christmas. I hate illness. I hate the fact that everyone gets the cold at this point of the year. I hate sneezing. I hate when my lungs are all fluidy. I hate having to blow my nose. I hate the entire concept of nose blowing. I hate the oversaturation of my nasal mucous membranes. I hate having to steal my mum’s prescription medication because I don’t have any of my own. I hate having to ask if I had dinner or not because I don’t have any recollection either way. I hate not having a sense of taste. I hate idiot people having Christmas nights out that I have to serve. I hate my Joe-job. I hate Christmas songs ringing around my head like tinnitus for four weeks straight*. I hate having to do so much work at uni and get no return because I can’t get anything published. I hate snow. I hate frost. I hate cars. I hate wine. I hate the entire concept of food. I hate Santa Clause. I am the holiday nazi.

*Except for that Slade one. That song rocks on its own merits. And the John and Yoko song. That one’s good too. And Wizzard to an extent. And Joni’s River, because, well, any excuse for Joni. But the rest of them are just fucking ANNOYING.

My dad is coming to Scotland for whatever reason in a week’s time (I can’t remember the exact date because my brain is covered in mucous and general malaise), and I am not looking forward to seeing him. I still have this ridiculous peroxide ginger hair dye that he will not be happy about. It’s probably the peroxide’s fault that I am ill. I should have paid attention when the colouring instructions said: “do not snort powder”.

Anyway, engaging with capitalism. In real life, I play the role of the Christmas cynic seen in the vast majority of American television programmes, used as a foil to all the other still-enchanted and unquestioning characters: the clichéd Lisa Simpson holiday-pessimist to xmas-optimists Bart, Homer and Marge.

I think there is a real pressure to be individual. This overused character is made to look like an outsider to the rest of the group; yet because there is an onslaught of characters playing this cookie-cutter role in so many different series, it becomes in itself a cliché. The more I think of it, I have been playing the role of a stroppy teenage girl: beyond Lisa, the obvious examples are Darlene from Roseanne and Daria.

I make my feelings known to everyone who will and will not listen: Christmas is all about spending money and disgusting advertising. About buying crap to show face, to keep up with the Joneses, without actually caring about what you’re buying as long as it costs enough. To engage in the most awkward minefield of social graces that has carried over from the last century.

Not that I disagree with the modern, capitalist ideals of Christmas completely: I do like buying presents for friends, and put a lot of effort – if not a lot of money – into finding things they will really like. I am genuinely looking forward to giving presents to my friends from work and disparate other areas of life via two separate Secret Santa draws.

I think the USP of my version of Christmas-pessimism compared to that of my fictional counterparts is that I do not follow the hardline Nancy Hayton from Hollyoaks model. There are benefits to buying presents for people, of course, but I think there is too much unnecessary pressure to buy the right thing, from the right place, at the right price, at the right time. I am traditionally a December 24th buyer, but I do it well. I don’t panic. I don’t let pressure get to me. And I never spend more than a fiver.

I won’t even proselytise because my entire opinion has been given before in more eloquent/ humourous/ aggravating/ insipid /insightful /childlike /realistic* terms by the many, many televised Christmas-pessimists who have gone before, from Hey Arnold to Zebedee. Probably.

*Delete as appropriate

This idea of Christmas cynicism and the aversion to capitalist ideals has got me thinking more clearly about why students are likely to have left-wing tendancies than those further up the hegemonic food chain. Students – like myself – are likely to have part time jobs – like myself – while being bombarded by the education system with theories and models of capitalist society. Being used to do “dirty work” for someone with money is far more transparent as a student in a Joe-job; whereas higher up, a worker will feel less expendable since they are doing something meaningful, instead of mixing pre-mixed drinks.

There is also the distinction between doing this mindless part-time job which requires no mental or creative input for very small return; and writing pieces of work which are far more relevant to one’s future but getting no return on them whatsoever.

I see a lot of millionaires at work – the capitalist dream in action – who spend a lot of money to be served by nonchalant waiters and barmen such as myself, yet they are deeply unhappy at this peak of society. Surely there must be something more to find real contentment. Let’s add “I hate money” to that list above.

I realise as well that as soon as I get somewhere with my career, I will perhaps buy into this capitalist ideal, succumb to greed and number crunching; but hopefully have been able to achieve some semblance of satisfaction with my life. I always think life will be easier when I have a decent job, but I am beginning to question how much of this is true, and how much is simply an uphill struggle towards an invisible, impossible ideal.

Did you just diss me!?

Oh my god! It is like the middle of august already! What a horrible realisation I have just had: this summer has been CRAP!

I decided outright that I was not going to work full-time this summer. Instead, I was going to work part-time because, frankly, I make more money working part time than I need to get by anyway; but I planned to do at least SOME fee-less schill-ing for some newspaper. My original idea was to work with the Sunday Mail, but it didn’t work out. I know one of the high-up journalists at the newspaper, and she has tried to help me out, and apparently someone sent me an email from the news desk, but I never received it. Because I am so self-doubting and lazy, I never pursued it any further until now. Hopefully I can get some work with them during back-at-school time* to help with my dissertation.

*I still have no idea when I go back to uni. In fact, I don’t even know if I will be able to get funding for my final year. Yikes.

So anyway, I have worked part time at Gatsby’s over the summer. I did the same last year, so why is this year different?! Last year, I had Housesitters Anonymous to keep me happy; but this year – what with Bert’s broken collarbone, Angela’s refusal to live in this god-forsaken town anymore and my unfruitful plans to get out of here for at least a few days to clear my head – I have just been bored out of my brain.

I have, however, written loads of poetry and various fragments because of my discovery* of the Moleskine notebook. I have also read a lot of books, owing to my drunken and/or sleep deprived binges on Amazon. In an attempt to get through as many of these books as possible before getting back to uni, I have set myself some very loose deadlines. I originally thought of these deadlines as strict and set in stone, but I have not been penalised thus far for breaking my pledge to finish one part a week in Dostoevsky’s The Idiot. The most harrowing part of this anecdote is that I broke the pledge during my first week. God I wish I was a more prolific reader.

*Is the word “discovery” apt here? I sound as if I have found raw ore in the world of consumerism.

So anyway, during my non-reading, non-working hours (yes, essentially most of my time); I have set about trying to come up with some genuine, workable, viable (easy) ideas to base my dissertation on. I cannot wait to get my teeth into this thing, because for one thing, I am a total geek; and for a second thing, I don’t really think 18,000 words is that big a deal. I mean you only need to type six buttons to express it – three if you knock out the doubles!

Anyway, of all the ideas I could come up with, there are two which I think I could pull off. Maybe.

The first is an exploration of the agendas of free newspapers, such as The Metro and the 5pm Daily Record; looking into how they are made up, why they are distributed, how they make money, political alliances, etc. etc. Basically, I just want to force myself into finding answers deeper than my usual “advertising revenue” put-down. As far as I can see right now, that is the only reason for these newspapers. I am a disdainful, scorning marxist.

The second idea, which would perhaps be easier to write about – perhaps even more suitable for a dissertation – is an essay on how Scottish Politics are reported in the media; especially focusing on the biases of newspapers versus election results.

Any arbitrary information on either of these from complete strangers on the internet would be very much appreciated.