When we moved into our current home- after a succession of liars and crooks (estate agents, solicitors etc.) had rifled through our monies- our closest new neighbour always responded to our greeting with the line, "Living the dream!" And, he was!
In truth, we never seemed to have that much time to chat. He was always rushing out as we were coming home, or vice versa. And then he was gone! To be replaced by our current neighbour, who we also only ever seem to pass at a jog. This is in truth a slight exaggeration, as we have extracted the time to stand in one another's respective homes, and to briefly swap our stories. Which leads me, albeit momentarily, to refer back to our former neighbour, or more so his, "Living the dream!" comment...
It was only after he had mysteriously and overnight departed to pastures new that it even occurred. Of course he really was living the 'dream,' only said dream belonged to someone else entirely. So, he was maybe more sustaining the 'dream' on behalf of someone else, through the act of 'living.'
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It was also a time of embedded racism and sexism, much of which was hardly ever- my childhood perception- if at all, challenged. 'We' had 'The Black and White Minstrel Show,' on at peak viewing times of a weekend, singing their 'joyful' repertoire in the background. Admittedly, I didn't know anyone who openly watched this celebration of U.S. slavery. I thought that it was odd- much like many people thought Jimmy Savile very odd- and perhaps wondered if there wasn't something better to view. I knew that my parents didn't much care for it, but this wasn't born out of any sort of political stance. Because, just like so many of my friends parents, they were undoubtedly quite racist themselves. For a long time not many people actually thought- again, my childhood perception- to openly challenge the concept of 'The Black and White Minstrels,' as a peak viewing time TV 'spectacle.' And, let's not for a moment forget that the aforementioned 'peak viewing time' was initially upon one of just the two, then in 1964 three, available TV stations. With pretentions of 'personal betterment,' our family seldom ventured into the more commercial corruptions of ITV.
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The merest thought that racism in the UK is today at all shrinking away is probably quite absurd; it's surely still there, deeper in the foundations, quietly going on about its business, unchallenged. The difference is that it's much more wary than ever it was when I was a lad, more tentative about raising its head too often, or too frequently, more likely in the 'wrong' company. To the eye and the ear much of society functions seemingly without any covert racism whatsoever. Much like it functions without any covert sexism, or sexual abuse, or class prejudice, or disability discrimination, or (less so) religious intolerance. But, scratch the surface, and they're all still there. Of course they are, embedded as the necessary tools of a highly-tiered, pyramidal society, to be kept sharp and shiny but otherwise out of sight and mind until they might be called for.
For those who happened to catch-up with Andrew Marr's chat with the new French President, Emmanuel Macron, the 'dream' may now be that little bit less hazy. Almost the first thing that one noticed was that he seemed to have a clearer grasp of Britain's place in the current world than do many of 'our own' politicians. Marr would ask a question of the President and he would gaze thoughtfully back, often silently pondering the wider implications of the proffered words. Marr, all-the-while, would instead be loading up his next cartridge, sometimes looking quite confused at the duration of the Presidential response. More used to bursting through any of the more challenging or lengthy contentions, Marr was seen to often stutter or be made to reload, as Emmanuel Macron steadfastly refused to be derailed from his considered answers.
It was refreshing to hear such a pro-European giving such nakedly honest answers, and this too seemed to toy with Marr's trajectory- much like a man who has elected to lean against a door which he has not considered might suddenly be opened. Emmanuel Macron, with a slight inclination of his head, acknowledged that France might also have fallen into the trap of Frexit, before going on to elaborate. Marr again looked slightly perplexed, this was after all a President with leftward-leaning credentials, time will tell.
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Most telling, for myself, was the "freedom without cohesion" moment, the moment when Emmanuel Macron went on to cite the current policies and, most importantly, the goals of the UK Government as being too unregulated, too free-market! For all of its points of clarification- hats off to Mr Macron!- the occasion was more than slightly Marred, however; nobody had informed the interviewer that points weren't going to be awarded, although the smirk often seemed to think otherwise.
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In such a climate even the previously-respected companies will find that they're increasingly having to treat people with equal disdain... just in order to keep abreast of the crooks... "a race to the bottom!" Effectively we've started to regulate to make society ever-less inclusive, to shorten certain lives, to mark young children out as chaff and to ensure that they can't afford the wheat anyway!
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Each individual is just that, an individual, and as such will have his or her own reasons. For me, currently it's the manner in which this 'dream' is looking to 'embrace' the children. Should you happen to have strolled past Smiggle with a child in tow, you will quite quickly have realised that it's not the reliability of a pencil, a sharpener, the fastness or the particular hue with which said child is interested... no, it's the hypnotic sparkle of the otherwise redundant shell, or perhaps just the wrapper; the rubber does not so much need to properly erase as to be shaped like a pony, or a rabbit, or a polar bear... Hell, why not invest in the whole menagerie?
And, as the curtains gently swished closed, so the interval suddenly took on a more sinister complexion. The 'dream' had pursued the theatre-goers inside, in to the auditorium; the aisles were suddenly transformed into a light-flashing 'spectacular' of the same garish tat that many of the seated parents-and-other-adults had so meticulously managed to circumnavigate earlier. No prisoners here! It was all going to the same Pacific location, anyway, but it still needed to be foisted onto the families first. Peppa doesn't appear to devote much time to this particular issue, during her T.V. life-lesson-slots.
People have been led to 'believe' that they are party to some sort of friendly partnership, that the company or corporation they would otherwise challenge, or occasionally question, might somehow respect and cherish this 'relationship,' that it is a 'relationship' of mutuality... but really it's a 'dream,' far more nightmare than dream...
They're relying upon us not checking under the bed.