Love runs the streets Paris Street Art

Any middle class white girl between the ages of 20 and 35 is super pumped for Friday. Friday is the day that we finally get the Amy Sherman-Palladino ending to Gilmore Girls, the show that meant so much to us in our formative years. Yes re-watching it in 2016 there is a seriously problematic treatment of race, the relationships are fucked and what the hell is up with Luke not telling Lorelai that he has a daughter – but it is nostalgia that I/we can’t shake.

But despite the Netflix powered build up, I can’t help fearing this Friday a little. At the moment we have videos of white supremacists (which we apparently have to call alt-right now to avoid hurting their feelings) doing Hitler salutes on mainstream news channels. There is unprecedented levels* of race based attacks in the UK and USA, the President elect has actively encouraged tension against minority groups, and the UK is still running full pelt towards the brick wall of Brexit. And on Friday, our glorious Gilmore Girls Friday, social media will be screaming about Rory’s job choices. BuzzFeed will have 18 quizzes so you can see if you are on Team Jess/Dean/Logan. Genuine grown up news sites will have light hearted opinion pieces about the revival, nudging it onto the front page to try and fill space. We will ignore the horror in the world in favour of something that feels hygge.

In the past I have been a massive advocate of turning off the news if it gets too much, protecting yourself and your mental health in the wake of terrorist attacks that were a little too close to home. But now? I keep wondering about how Londoners felt on the eve of the rise of Hitler in the years before World War Two. Did they bake cake to distract from the feeling of unease they felt when they read the newspaper? Did they throw a little too much effort into Christmas because ‘surely’ it isn’t as bad as they all say, someone will put a stop to it.

I might be overreacting, the Trump administration may not be world ending. But. But. What if they are? What if this is the point in history where we could be standing up, doing SOMETHING, and we are too busy using the #todayimgrateful hashtag to make the world seem a little lighter. I don’t mean to throw shade at anyone using the hashtag by the way, I understand the point and applaud the attempt to focus on the positive – but what if tomorrow Trump announces the Muslim register and we are being grateful for a good cup of tea?

I’m writing this because I feel truly impotent right now. I know that racism is not just a problem in America, it is 100% an issue in the UK too, and I don’t know what I can be doing to help. Retweeting is not enough. Sharing a status is not enough. Disagreeing when someone says something thoughtless is my jam, but waiting for mild levels of conversational cunt seems like a weak cop out. I hate how Brexit is dividing Europe (right at the moment when we need to have our shit together) but how can I actually influence change?

As we have seen from the last few referendums and elections, the social media bubble you are in is just an echo chamber. You surround yourself with people who think the same way you do, and then the big day arrives and your liberal castle crumbles around you. So how on earth do you reach people with a different opinion, how do you engage someone in a meaningful debate without searching for the ‘KKK London HQ’ on Citymapper. Actually I think that would be a bad idea. Don’t try to talk to the KKK. Or should we? Oh god I don’t even know anymore.

I know what will happen. I will watch Gilmore Girls on Friday and get entirely wrapped up in how ‘its not like it used to be’ and how neither of the girls has managed to have a functioning relationship in the intervening years. If this is the eve of World War three I will be discussing how Suki should be a Michelin starred chef and Michele should have been fired while the world burns around me. The way we live through binge watching and social media is the new opiate for the masses, and while we focus on the petty and the fluffy we are letting bad things happen. By doing nothing we are accepting the new status quo.

Any ideas?

*not unprecedented levels of racism, racism does not appear overnight – this current rhetoric is just allowing people to voice their bias as if it was mainstream and acceptable

Runawaykiwi in Florence

By the time you read this I will be 28. I am quite looking forward to being 28, it seems like it is going to be a good year. After being told that “your school years are the best of your life” and “you early twenties are the best years of your life” I have discovered that getting older rocks. I am more sure of myself, more confident in my own resilience and I simultaneously give less fucks and better quality fucks. I have high expectations for 28.

It’s odd though, that at the time where I am feeling like I might have my shit together the world seems to be falling apart. In the country that I call home the economy is tanking, racism is palpable and culottes are back in fashion. I feel totally lost in this political climate, where no strong leaders seem to be popping up to take control. It’s like we are all in a dystopian movie about the fall of man – but it is terribly written and the author never got round to writing the hero. At this stage I would happily forget the knight in shining armour and settle for someone that is only a little evil. Instead we get to play the worst game of Duck Duck Goose with the next Prime Minister; Cruella de Ville, Lizard, Cunt.

Further afield things don’t seem to be going much better. That we have to have a #blacklivesmatter movement is horrific in itself, and lets not even mention that Tr*mp is a possibility. Since when did we all leave thought and kindness behind, and instead reach for instant judgement and clickbait? In a way I blame my own beloved social media, the lazy retweet makes it so much easier for poisonous voices to appear mainstream. And when politicians who grew up before the internet see ’20,000 retweets’ they panic, mistake it for actual agreement and make poor choices. Whereas my generation that grew up with the internet and was with it through the awkward MySpace years, know that a cat getting scared by a cucumber can get that many retweets in an hour. Retweets do not equal political accent, public opinion or even popularity.

To make right now even shittier public figures are dying faster than we can replenish them with reality TV shows, my generation will not never own property and it turns out that otters are little assholes (seriously, google it…otters are dicks).

My god I am glad that I am 28.

I am glad that I can switch off the feeds and not get sucked into a spiral of worry and fear. I am glad that I have seen enough awesome things in the world (read: peanut butter Oreos and a cat’s paw that looked like a tiny bear) to know that the good outweighs the bad. And I am glad that my weird combination of degrees (Politics, Psychology and Accounting) are finally paying off; I know that no matter how shitty the world looks like now in the UK it will work itself out. I don’t know how, but it will.

Dragon street art in Florence

What we need to remember is to take care of each other. To put it very VERY bluntly, I am white and middle class – whatever happens in the UK in the next few years I will probably be fine. It’s time to check our privilege and help those for whom the political, economic and fucking racist climate will hurt in the next few years. What feels like an inconvenience for you, could be life and death for someone else.

Wow this is a random birthday post. But I guess right now it doesn’t feel like you can separate the individual from the country; until we get some certainty it is just a big bowl of gumbo. I’ve never had gumbo, is it good? Tweet me about gumbo.

So shall I tell you some good things? Like how for my birthday my parents got me a kid’s book and memory card game for ages 4 and up. Yes my parents are awesome and mad. I spent my birthday in Florence with them; teaching my dad how to take selfies, ditching tours groups like naughty school kids and of course eating all the pasta I could get my hands on. I really loved Florence, far more than I thought I would. Which is good news for you kids, I have a few blog posts planned all about my adventures.

Once I head back to London I have four more days causing trouble with my whanau before they head home. Then I get a couple of weeks chilling out and enjoying whatever summer London decides to throw at us, before my work travel ramps up again.

28 aye. I hope that it is full of friends. I hope that I tell people to fuck of frequently and with grace. I hope that I figure out how to control my hair, or at least enter in to peace talks with it. I hope that I get a flat by myself. I hope that I will be granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK – that is as long as the UK still exists. I hope that in a years’ time I will be writing a blog post about how excited I am to be turning 29.

Ok my plane is about to board so this rambling blog post will come to a close. What to end with…

If you are in your teens, it does get better.

If you are in your twenties, it does get better.

If you are in London, the sun will shine at some point.

xx

Houses of Parliament before the Brexit

Hi Boris

I know you and DC have had a bit of a rivalry since Eton. You were Mayor of London, Dave got Prime Minister. You downed a magnum of Champagne at a Bullingdon party, Dave put his junk in a pig. I get it, we’ve all been there. Healthy competition between young rapscallions such as yourselves is a good thing, but there has to be a way to prove your dick is bigger than his without fucking over the economy?

To help you out, I’ve written my top fifty ideas on how you can feel like a big man below. Let me know which one you choose and for heaven’s sake stop with all this Brexit ‘campaigning but totally hoping I don’t win because I just want to show Cameron up and be the next Prime Minister’ malarkey.

Ok, here they are.

  1. Traditional sword fight
  2. Competitive tiddlywinks
  3. Rolled yourselves up in blankets really tight and see who can get out first without unrolling
  4. Play the numbers round on Pointless
  5. Play the letters round on Pointless
  6. Both go to the Olympics and see who catches the Zika virus last
  7. Go to Nandos and order Mild when Cameron orders Lemon and Herb
  8. Become the captain of the England rugby team
  9. Join the cast of Made in Chelsea and break Binky’s heart
  10. Go to a party and not fuck a farmyard animal
  11. Stand with your legs slightly further apart when you are both on stage
  12. Change Cameron’s ring tone to a squealing pig and then call him when he is meeting with the Queen
  13. Correct Cameron’s pronunciation of the word ‘quinoa’
  14. Buy Cameron a puppy and call it David so he looks like a demented egomaniac when he calls for the puppy in the park
  15. Drink all his gin
  16. Every time you commute together suggest taking Boris Bikes
  17. Use a VPN then text him Game of Thrones spoilers every Sunday
  18. Decline his Candy Crush invite
  19. Use Jeremy Corbyn to Rick roll him during PMQs
  20. Tell him you are proud that he has chosen to not listen to the body shamers
  21. Send him a framed photo of the time you cycled round the park with Arnold Schwarzenegger
  22. Literally measure dicks
  23. Have a competition to see who can talk for the longest without using actual words, just posh sounds
  24. Pour him a coke and tell him it’s diet but actually it’s full fat
  25. Steal his stapler then deny that the one on your desk is his
  26. Put a petting zoo in his office while he is at lunch and over order on piglets
  27. Run for Prime Minister in a fair fight
  28. Subtweet him
  29. Take a ‘How Posh are You’ quiz on Buzzfeed, get 100% and send him the results
  30. Flick a spider onto him
  31. Push him into a horse at the Polo
  32. Fisticuffs
  33. Tell him he looks tired
  34. Buy a bunch of peonies and give them to Cameron’s wife
  35. Lick his keyboard when he is not looking
  36. Always ask the politicians to line up alphabetically by first name
  37. Use parliamentary privilege to tell everyone what Cameron’s nickname at Eton was
  38. Tape a picture of Nick Cage to Cameron’s debit card
  39. Suggest going to the pub and make a lame joke about leaving the kids at home this time
  40. Invite him over for dinner but don’t give him the wifi password
  41. Use a picture of him to face swap with on Snapchat and then say something silly
  42. Suggest a foundation that is a shade too dark for his skin tone
  43. Tell him that real sports fans call it soccer
  44. Write and publish slash fiction that shows Cameron as the sub
  45. Eat the last doughnut
  46. Pull out his chair as he goes to sit down so that he falls on the ground and all of the other politicians laugh
  47. Tell him that after playing a round of golf with Obama, he lets you call him Barak
  48. Convince Cameron that going on The Voice would make him a man of the people
  49. Ghost him in the tea room
  50. Follow through with a political decision without making a U-turn

 

All the best,

Rebecca

A fuck is a good thing to give sweary caligraphy

Well, this has been an interesting few days hasn’t it? In New Zealand when we do referendums it is about fun things like flags and only the graphic designers get angry, in the UK referendums apparently cause the apocalypse. Those that voted stay feel like they are surrounded by idiot racists, and those that voted leave feel like they were lied to by people they thought they could trust. No matter how you voted, within the space of a day the UK went from a stable institution full of jokes about rain and tea, to a country in political and economic freefall with seemingly no end in sight. Mixed up in all the political decisions are people; me, you and the people we love and hate.

Quite literally no one knows what will happen next, and more than likely this uncertainty over the future will continue until the new Prime Minister is appointed in October. Until then there will be no pushing the big red button that is Article 50, and a whole lot of wishes and confusion raining down upon us all. Because in the UK apparently it rains all through summer.

In the meantime my expat friends are worrying about being attacked on the street because a country they love has seemingly turned against them.

That is the clincher here; the politics for this issue is not staying in the rarefied air of Westminster, it is trickling down through the media to those social networks we look at 52 times a day. Our emotions are so tied up in this referendum that no matter which way you voted it currently feels like heartbreak and chaos.

Those two emotions are not sustainable, you can’t keep feeling this sad until October when a new wave of referendum fun will happen. Which leads me to this, a few simple messages to grasp onto like a life preserver.

  • We are still the country of 2012. 2012 was the year of a beautiful summer, where the country joined together to put on a kick ass Olympics. People on public transport were polite and helpful, there were joyful parties in the street and most importantly the United Kingdom was full of pride. This is the same country, the same people and even the same leaders that we have today. I choose to believe that 2012 UK is the true UK, what we are experiencing at the moment is basically a monumental bad hair day – we will soon get a blow wave and return to who we know we are. I mean, the only real difference between 2016 and 2012 a whole lot of now 4 year olds were born. I know kids are annoying but we can only really blame them for making the table sticky, not for a three trillion dip in the economy.
  • You can choose to be ok with the chaos. At the moment I bet you feel buffeted by uncertainty each time you open Twitter or talk about Brexit in the lunch room. Jobs, travel, visas, housing and savings are all at risk and it is terrifying, but you can choose not to focus on them. Instead focus on the things you can control, for example if you are worried about your job being at risk this might be the week to write out a budget and stop spending all your money at Pret. I know that seems like spurious advice, but it will give you one thing in your life right now that you are in control over. And if everything all blows over then at least you will have some spare money to spend on champagne.
  • Don’t let how someone voted change your relationship. Every single person voted for their own reasons, not everyone who voted stay actually likes the EU and its bollocks that everyone who voted leave was a racist. No matter which way you and them voted, you were friends for other reasons before the referendum. We have to move forward together, and the longer we let this divide us the weaker we are.
  • Hold your friends tight and don’t fucking talk about the Brexit. Put your head in the sand and let yourself enjoy life, if someone mentions the Brexit take a shot, if they talk about the economy or Labour leadership take a shot – essentially any time you mention anything apart from kittens and cake take a damn shot. There are many good things in life and if you don’t have some balance between them and the clusterfuck we are in now, you will spiral.

Trust me when I say it will all be ok, it will just be a different form of OK than we are used to. We are in such a time of uncertainty that the worst is brought out in everyone, we can only combat this by being kind, understanding and holding each other close. No matter what, the fact that you are feeling so bad just means you care one hell of a lot about the future of the United Kingdom; and a fuck is a good thing to give.

All the best my loves, don’t let the bastards get you down.

R

xx