I am a working-class, English male from London, raised in a broken home with unemployed parents; a life where holidays were non-existent, education was limited to tabloid newspapers and television, and the only means of escape into a world we were seduced into believing was so incredible was via instant fame, or the national lottery. I figured out at a very young age these ideas were all bullshit, but I saw the damage it was doing to many others.
And yet, in comparison to most of the world, I was a wealthy person. I had many brothers to trade stories of a reckless childhood with, my friends were not concerned with the design of trainers I wore, and I learned to be creative through the sheer ingenuity of having hardly any toys to play with. The people around me may not have been able to quote Chaucer poems, or spot a Picasso in an art gallery, but they carried good values, a resolute spirit, and when others were down, help was around the corner. It was never perfect, but the intent was pure. Now, I watch on as I see the chaotic madness of the rioting and looting before me; and I feel like crying.
This whole situation feels so rotten, and I feel an immense portion of my own cultural definition has died an ugly, bitter death. I want to explain that the majority of people from poor, uneducated backgrounds - regardless of ethnicity, are good people, trying to survive this brutal fucking existence of life we all have to walk through. Yet how can I? As these stupid kids from generation X-Box continue to desecrate all that is wonderful about genuine people from inner-cities and urban areas; they are destroying our identity - my identity. I am a writer, and trying to attain success in terms of a maturity and understanding to life, to help prove background is in no way indicative of anyone's personal potential - these dark days, send us back to the soul crushing promotion of demonizing the underclass; all the while creating a deeper divide between the opulent and the broke - as the frightened with money, move someplace else.
Nothing excuses the actions of the past few days; it is as if the trouble makers have no humanity anymore. So many aspects have not helped; consumerist society, the veiled mirror of fame, negative sensationalist media, and glorification of destruction, to name a few. But these are extensions of the root to a serious problem which, as usual, all goes back to shitty irresponsible parenting; pathetic fathers who impregnate a woman, then fuck off to leave her to raise his own child alone - or stick around and physically abuse them both. Or shallow, self-absorbed Mothers, still shaking off the me myself and I culture of the baby boomers.
I have seen many parents who work hard, thankless jobs, and go all out to do the best they can for their offspring, and I have seen those who simply couldn't care less; the former always grounded to the core, the latter carrying a core kicked to the ground - either fighting to remain standing, or never pulling their bodies off the pavement life dragged them up upon. It is possible to find your decency and sense of human kindness through a constant barrage of smoke, in being told the world is a shitty and selfish place. But imagine hearing life is worthless for fifteen consistent years... it creates a whole different animal of internal psychological war.
The scariest notion will be the aftermath; as the government ruthlessly crush the looting generation - effecting the good who deserve it, as well as the bad, who don't. Shops will contain more ugly shutters and security, and knee-jerk reactionary newspapers will brainwash the masses into wanting a return to capital punishment, or guns for Police - the notion of both ideas causing my heart to sink like a stone. Saddest of all, to be defined as working-class will carry an even heavier burden; and we will no longer be considered as just lazy and stupid, but also dangerous and unable to care for ourselves. On the plus side, the spirit of those who are trying to rebuild the communities, make me proud; even though the media continue as usual to focus on nothing but rampant negativity.
I have not shed tears from my eyes in almost two years. Over the last two days, I have come inches from doing so a number of times... a part of me wishes I will, another part knows it wont help these kids realize in ten years from now, that they were destroying the lives of the the only community who ever really showed them any empathy. As Vincent Van Gogh whispered in his final moments - La tristesse durera toujours. The sadness will last forever...