Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Slow down Kate, you're making me feel old

I recently caught a glimpse of my reflection in the window of a passing bus. Caught unawares, viewing myself from an unconventional angle, I was horrified to recognise the gormless expression that my dad used to adopt while daydreaming.

I have also, I am embarrassed to admit, recently taken to making occasional use off that age old granny-wear, the shower cap. Like my mum. Well they're practical! Added to which, yes, I do now think that (some) kids today "don't know they're born".

Perhaps even more depressing is that at the age of thirty two, like my parents, I now have a "golden era" of music- and it was over 15 years ago. While my mum's music collection consists of 95% Stones, Beatles etc, and only 5% "newer material" such as Glenn Medeiros, James Blunt and Katherine Jenkins, I have a tendency to wet my pants in an uncontrollable wave of nostalgia whenever The Stone Roses, old Rage Against the Machine, Leftfield or even EMF is played.

As Kate Moss and friends edge towards forty their stamina for their seemingly nightly benders can only be explained by flexible working hours, thousands of pounds to spend on beauty products and abstinence from that eternal energy drain known as London Transport. Aside from the fact that we could never afford to to keep up with them, their resilience and their ability to look good on all that partying is enough to make a mere mortal feel positively middle aged.

Nowadays 70% of the time I would choose bar over club, pub over bar, and- if I'm completely honest- often CSI on the sofa over the pub. When I do actually go out it's not unusual to find myself wishing they'd turn the music down "so you can have a proper conversation".

On the up side though, when lamenting the demise of my former comparatively hardcore lifestyle I get a resounding Monica Geller-esque chorus of "III know!" from my friends. A 26 year old male friend of mine who shall remain nameless just today admitted to me that he has become addicted to Easy Living magazine for 35-45 year old women (which is actually quite a good read). It is comforting to realise that as I slow the pace a little and gradually morph in to my parents, the best part of a generation does so with me.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Give Our Troops Some Credit

As the number of British troops killed in Afghanistan hits 100, more photos of the men and boys we have lost appear in the daily papers. It is absolutely fitting that the public should get to see the roll of honour, however it is a shame that the press don’t tell us about the good things these people are doing while they are still alive. It seems the only way for the troops to get any kind of recognition is to be kidnapped or killed, or to commit a hideous war crime.

Last October one of my boyfriend’s friends prevented a suicide bomber from taking out more civilians than he would have otherwise, while saving the lives of many of his army colleges in Afghanistan. I scanned the press for reports of this incredible act. Three months later it was finally reported, but that was only because the outstanding person in question became a member of the roll of honour himself whilst saving another life.

Many of us felt we shouldn’t have been involved in these conflicts in the first place- I was at demonstrations in both London and New York against the war in Iraq- but now we are involved. The vast majority of the troops are not killing innocent civilians or beating up prisoners; they genuinely want to make things better for the people in these countries- and in many areas they are.

We moan about our sweaty tube journeys but we get to shower when we get home, our troops in Afghanistan bake in sweat and sand and sometimes get to shower and shave every two weeks. Teenagers here who see ASBOs as a badge of honour get more column inches than teenagers who are earning true badges of honour everyday in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Whatever our politics I’m sure the majority of the British public would like to be told more about the everyday acts of courage and kindness. But I suppose good news doesn’t sell papers.