Archive for March, 2010

‘The Jeeps, Lex Coupes, Beamers and the…!’

Posted in 1 with tags , , , , , , , , on March 30, 2010 by prekosifa

Now that I have become a real Londoner and climate change enthusiast, I have abandoned my motor vehicle for the wonderful public transport system. I get my green credentials, am doing my bit for the environment and am saving loadsa money in the process. But I do miss the independence owning a car brings and when I do own another car, and I do plan to at some point in the not too distant future, I aim to get a new car, something that will befit a man of my status.

As much as I know a runaround will suffice, the reality is I will probably go for a ‘ride’, one that wouldn’t look out of place in a 50 cent video! One that acts like a CV and has women crossing over the road in the hope that I will run them over! – a four wheeled Lynx advert! You see, I know how the world works and a top of the range motor vehicle does more than turn heads and get you into clubs. It gets you beautiful girls and instils envy in all the other guys you see on your daily travels. A nice ride goes hand in hand with designer clothes, top restaurants and a designer pad, The only companies that need apply for the position of giving me status are Lexus, Mercedes, Audi or BMW or any forty grand plus four by four, or anything that is obviously ‘up there’. A phat ride lets the world know you have arrived and ensures you get the respect you deserve. At least I think it does…doesn’t it?

I stutter because when you are driving out of the showroom, amid smiles from all the staff and feeling as cool and as dapper as you dare, they fail to tell you about the hidden ‘extras’ that come with owning an expensive piece of metal. And I tell you these extras in no particular order of importance.

As soon as you hit the highway and have got her back home where she belongs, after you have admired her in the late evening under a beautiful sunset and it is time to stop polishing her and go to bed…you will worry, Hidden Extra number 1. This worry is like nothing you have had before, especially if you don’t have kids, because while you attempt to sleep with one eye open, your ‘mortgage’ on your drive is desirable to others. And like leaving your girlfriend unattended in a club, undesirables will zoom in as soon as they fuckin can, their one goal, to take…your…shit! When you wake up your car could be in a crate making its way across Eastern Europe…along with your Best of Michael Jackson CD. After a while you do get used to the threat and just hope that your baby, equipped to the teeth in new technology, will be able to protect herself, resisting the strong temptation of another ‘man’ entering her doors without your permission, (little bro’s don’t count…although they should!).

Hidden Extra number 2, they never tell you how much you will worry about damaging the new ride. For a while you think puddles will damage the paint work and the acid rain will turn your baby into a soft top! All not true of course but there is the real threat of scratches, bird poop and, dare I say…the dreaded RTA. You wonder how you will deal with it and the realisation that maybe you should have read the small print in your insurance terms and conditions, (how much is the excess??) After she is fixed your baby is no longer perfect. The dents may be long gone but the memories take longer to fade.

So you even get past this, and you‘re going out to clubs and raves all over town. Restaurants are your thing, or just cruising up a high street, getting maximum exposure, lovin the life your livin’?  Maybe not, because now you have a horde of fans who you don’t really know. Are they friends or enemies? Some of your friends will actually be enemies, lauding over the coveted front passenger seat, your own personal ‘scrub’, jealous and proud in equal measure. Others that were seemingly enemies are now friends just because they have the same kind of status ride as you. You don’t really know these people and it seems pretty flimsy that you now talk because of something so…shallow! But talk you will, in shopping car parks or at car washes you will have the kinds of conversation that includes phrases like, ‘what’s your MPG?’, ‘Has she a DOHC?’ ,’Six cylinder V8, right?’, and ‘how does she hold at 120?’ All said under the gaze of admiring glances. Ever notice how status car drivers’ crew together in public places like car parks and car washes, removing themselves from the general populous who dare to drive Toyota Corollas and Ford anything’s?

But moving on, you do get used to this new way of being and start to live your life in a constant state of not knowingness, aka Hidden Extra 3. You don’t know if your new group of friends like you or your riches; your new girl is into you or the colour map feature on your Lexus dashboard; and whether or not that group of guys across the street are admiring your rims or preparing to jack you! After a while these things can play on your mind and can inform your decisions to drive with a baseball bat under the seat, and a 9mm in the glove box, centrally locked into your own platinum plated prison with the world passing viewed through your own wide screen windscreen, your portal into the dangerous world outside. This extravagant, well earned purchase, meant to signify freedom, in a way actually becoming quite the opposite.

I remember the first service I got for my brand new Jeep a few years ago. It was a Ice black, tinted windows, big wheels, booming sound system, plush all leather interior, (just thinking about it now makes me horny!). Anyway, the mechanic told me with a broad smile on his face, that I needed three new tyres…three fuckin tyres! How the fuck did I need three tyres? I can understand needing two at a time, but three? Anyway a trip to the tyre shop stood me at over £600! I had gotten use to the car itself being a mortgage payment…but the accessories as well? The electric door mirror that got busted by another driver…£300, the torn leather behind the passenger seat (a parting gift from one of my god children)…£100. The scratches on the bumper…£250. It felt like these figures were getting plucked out of thin air, but they were very real indeed. Just last week I heard about a guy whose £60,000 BMW left him stranded after a night out because it couldn’t drive on the icy roads, being a rear wheel drive. This dude had to walk home because his ‘super palace chick magnet’ on wheels, was not fully equipped for the British weather. For that same price he could have bought at least a dozen cars that could have made that journey quite easily, in fact, for that same price he should have been given another car with its own fuckin chauffeur!

I do not write to discourage all you out there that like a nice ride, that like to be seen in the right vehicle and would sooner drive a Masserati and live in a council flat than buy a ‘good enough’ vehicle and own your own home. I fully understand the feeling you get when you are behind the wheel of something that turns heads, that gives you status, and makes you feel important, because life is hard enough and full of people that will ignore you given half the chance anyway. I get it. They fulfil a need in the narcissistic world in which we now live.

But don’t forget those hidden costs, those things that do not come in the brochure, or are talked about in the marketing campaigns that are there simply to entice and enthral you. These are the very things that will bring your dream purchase back to reality, and that’s not a bad place to be. Me?, for now I am happy just strolling along with a smile on my face being connected. It may rain from time to time, and I may get wet, but at least I know who’s pissing on me!

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Equal opportunity clothing…anyone?

Posted in 1 with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 22, 2010 by prekosifa

I had been thinking about doing some further academic studying when a friend suggested I should consider a Masters Degree. She made it sound so simple, all I would need would be a worthwhile area of study and something original that interested me and dealt with a burning question. As a writer I wanted it to be something that had some artistic merit as well. A day out shopping gave me all I needed and perhaps a little bit more than I bargained for.

Is it just me or is the fashion world a little bit one sided in the West. I say this because when I look at adverts on TV I notice that very few of them are geared towards non white people, marketed specifically for me. Now I am not getting on a band wagon and I am not going to start crying out for equality across the board in everything because I don’t think this is realistic or indeed possible. But as an observation, I realised that some black people in particular, suffer in mostly minor ways every time they purchase certain items of clothing.

So what started this?

I went to the Dagenham market this morning, in East London. Now East London is probably the most multi cultural place on this planet and I say that with some confidence. As I watched the diversely back grounded people on the market, two African women stood out in particular. They were shapely, over weight by the European modelling industry standard, and were squeezed into tight fitting jeans. I could see the look they were going for and at first thought that they simply had the wrong sizes on. Then it occurred to me that perhaps they didn’t and maybe the problem was their shape, they had good back sides! And it would seem that ‘good’ back sides were not the industry norm! If a jean doesn’t fit your shape it doesn’t matter what size you get, but how do you get jeans that are made for your own racially unique shape? And what effect does not being able to do so have on you? Right there, with a hot dog in my mouth and a new duvet cover under my arm, the idea for my PhD thesis was born, the title? Western Jeans Fashion, and its visual effects on a non conformist customer base – A Psycho Social perspective.

Perfect. But where was the proof?

A few years ago a friend of my second cousin’s, who worked in the car industry told me that all cars built were based around a standard driver’s height of 5ft 9 inches. Obviously I understand that as a car manufacturer, you have to pick a height and go with it but when you think about the number of women who now drive, (compared to how many did when the car, and the standards, first came about), coupled with their average size, you quickly realise that most women, and short men for that matter, suffer driving vehicles that are not really made for them.

Fashion is the same thing. I believe that most clothes are based on a standard European body size and shape, probably five foot 6 with no discernible additional material for the back side and this makes sense given the way the Western world is. Unfortunately it also means that anybody not fitting this ideal, this racially biased norm, is wearing clothes not made for them that will ultimately fail in doing their job of fitting properly.

As an alternative example, in Nigeria, in West Africa, fashion for women is based on a different shape. The clothes that are worn complement the wearer and are for that bigger fuller woman, aka the ‘Aunty’ look. Browsing through a Nigerian fashion magazine you would be hard pushed to find a small model, it just isn’t the norm and is a joy to see, (not that I’m a chubby chaser), it’s just refreshing to see something…real!

So what is my argumentative issue?

My issue is that the West has enormous pulling power on every single race on the planet. The influence of America and Britain on the rest of the world is overwhelming and with cities like London, that are now a beacon when it comes to a multicultural society living and sharing together, the disparities that develop are there for us all to see, if we look close enough. But surely it is time to recognise and move past this. It seems that we as a people are trying our hardest to fit into something that isn’t made for us. Now I am not saying to abandon jeans and other useful garments, I am just saying that if we are not being catered for then perhaps we should look elsewhere, or maybe just ask the companies in question to spare us a thought and adjust those age old sizes to ones that take into account the vast array of ‘Benetton’ people now wearing their products. As individuals perhaps we should ‘vote with our Western credit cards’ and demand something a little more ‘fitting’. It’s not too much to ask for is it?

With the world changing the problem I suppose will eventually die out, leaving things to change naturally, over time.

Then again, maybe I am completely wrong and those two women were wearing tight jeans because they thought they actually looked good! Maybe they just had bad taste and a completely different view to mine as to what works and what doesn’t work in the public arena. Could it have just been that?

If it is, then I guess what my title should be is possibly, Western Jeans Fashion – and how it shows the disillusionment and short sightedness of its non conformist customers – A Psycho Social perspective.

Yes, this could work.

Perhaps that doctorate may not be too far away after all.

Too young to be a mother?

Posted in 1 with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 15, 2010 by prekosifa

A few weeks ago, an author dared to suggest that there was nothing wrong with girls as young as 14 years old having babies. She was ridiculed and publicly cursed for her point of view and I am sure received the usual amount of death threats, obscene phone calls and hate mail because she dared to voice an opinion that was not in keeping with the majority.

A guest on a live  TV show looked physically sick and got extremely angry about it on live television. The host had to calm her down in the end but not before she said that not only were this woman’s comments way off, but that she had no right to make them in the firt place because she didn’t even have kids of her own! As I watched the drama unfold I questioned what all the fuss was really about.

It’s a fact that girls are ready to give birth from as young as 12 years old in some cases and in some countries in this world this is what still happens, and yet girls in these countries are not vilified for it. The scientific argument therefore stands in place. The moral argument however is the one that we always go to, citing how unfair it is for the girls and making the assumption, in this country anyway, that the state will end up raising these kids. The psychological argument says that girls still in their teens to do not have the mental aptitude to be able to deal with the headaches that a new child can bring. Industry heads throw their two pence worth in by saying that these girls will not be able to add to the economy and the govt is worried that Britain will become known as a country of teenage mothers.

No surprises there.

At the end of the day, the view we have of a teenage mother is always one who lives on a council estate and gets benefits. The father is usually a layabout or a brick worker who doesn’t take responsibility, if he is known, chances are the young mother in question was putting it about a bit and just may not know who the father is anyway. Not until they all land up on Maury or any other daytime paternity show! This is the picture we have been given from the media and this is the single story we hold to be the truth. To dare to accept to live in a country with teenage mothers seems to suggest that as an individual we should be ashamed and that as a society, we are failing.

But let’s take a look from another angle. What are the good things about young mothers? Well for one, if you had your child young by the time you hit your twenties you are ready to join the workforce without the pressure of leaving to have babies later, employer happy, mother happy!

As a young mother, you will share a different kind of relationship with your offspring, perhaps making you closer and more understanding of their plight, what I like to call ‘the generational argument’.

With so many girls not sure of what they want, perhaps it is the perfect time to be having children rather than hanging around getting drunk or high or having lots of random meaningless sex and a monthly abortion.

I could go on but I think you see my point. For every bad reason there is a good one and therefore I am inclined to believe that perhaps what needs to change is our moralistic and high filuted attitude to this subject. One thing that makes me chuckle is that with the number of wars that this govt is getting us into, where do they think the troops will come from?

Perhaps what needs to change is our attitude. Perhaps we need to look at the bigger picture and move away from this idea that science is only right when we say it is. There may be a good reason why young girls and young boys can become parents. There may be a good reason why it is important for the world to be structured in this way and just because we cannot see it doesn’t mean it is bad. If someone dares to speak out no one has the right to vilify them for their beliefs or question them on a moral high ground that they themselves couldn’t possibly reach. When I see women, castigating other women, especially over childbirth, I always wonder what else is going on there. When we feel strongly against something there is always little more to it, something a bit personal that we are really angry about.

Now in saying all of this I am not stating that teenage mothers are the way forward, I just think that for some girls it may be right for them. I do not criticise or make a moral judgement on it; I will look at what the benefits may be. My reasons? Well on a day like today where we celebrate Mothers every where, I don’t think it right or fair that some will get better press than others.

If either of my girls had dropped a child while they were teenagers would I have been angry? No.
Would I think they had thrown their lives away? No
Would I make them feel like they were a burden on society? No
I would do the only thing that I could do, be a young grandparent! (maybe that is what the fuss is really about?).

A good mother should be patient, flexible, loving and nurturing. A good mothershould love and care for her children. A good mother should want the best for her child and will always put her child first. A good mother is an important and necessary requirment in today’s social and economic climate.  So, to all you  mothers out there, no matter how young you may be, Happy Mothers Day.

Rest in Peace?

Posted in 1 with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 3, 2010 by prekosifa

Alexander McQueen committed suicide a few weeks ago, the reason given was that he couldn’t get over the loss of his mother. This surely takes the term mothers boy to new and undescribed territory, but tasteless jokes aside, the fact remains that the world is missing one more person. The phenomena that is suicide has its critics, there are those who vehemently believe that a person does not have the right to take his or her own life, possibly following the belief that we are all here for the greater good and, more than likely, (depending on location), the long haul, and we must continue, using whatever tools necessary, whether it be pills, anti depressants, uppers, downers, middlers or just plain booze, to survive as long as possible.

Survive in this context is an important word because we measure suicide against life and there has always been the old adage that it is better to live than too merely survive.

One thing that always got me about the whole suicide debate though, is the definition we are applying to life. Life (l f); The interval of time between birth and death; The interval of time between one’s birth and the present; A spiritual state regarded as a transcending of corporeal death. People speak of enjoying life, or building the life they want, and so in this way life itself takes on an almost human, transient form and it can therefore be either good or bad. Suicide, it is said, rears its head for those who are having a bad time and therefore a bad life.

The solutions for a bad life do not necessarily make it better, they just put you into a different semi conscious state where the things that used to bother you no longer do. Not necessarily a bad thing, but I always wondered whether the down sides to this were really worth it, I mean bad is bad right? And no matter how much stuffing you wrap around a problem in the form of alcohol abuse, drugs, spending money, having affairs or just sticking your head in the sand, the problem will always be there, waiting for you.

The other question that always troubled me was for whose benefit is all of this anyway? If we take on Freud and accept that everything that we do is for our own benefit first and foremost, then yes it makes sense that we wouldn’t want to lose a brother, sister, mother, father or partner under these circumstances, but when we speak in terms of this as being better for the person who wants to top themselves, are we not treading on someone else’s toes, making decisions for someone elses life? Isn’t it also possible that a lot more people may have chosen to go in this direction but feel the guilt of the people they will leave behind? In fact, is it okay for the guilt line to be used at all, at the end of the day, it is not our life we are talking about, is it?

A girl I know felt the urge to commit suicide one day last year and threw herself off one of the bridges in London, thankfully she survived and is still around. The doctors said she was lucky, I reckon it just wasn’t her time to go. It used to be said that if the fall from a London bridge didn’t kill you, and the water didn’t drown you, the sewage would finish the job. There is so much that could have taken her life that night but nothing did.

I believe that we are on this earth until we have learnt what we need to learn and can then move on to a higher level of consciousness or whatever you want to call it. This, in its acceptable format, looks like dying of old age; or of a tragedy, in a car crash, skiing accident; or of cancer; murder; stupidity etc etc. In other words, we do have acceptable ways to bite the bullet, and nothing else is said about it when it happens like that.

But what if, when it is our time to go, we go in whichever way is most convenient and most appropriate at that time. What if the urges that suicidals get are just keeping them on the path they are meant to be on and that is the way they have to go.

In my opinion if you want to leave the party, you should be allowed to leave. From an energy point of view, I don’t want your bad energy bringing down the copasetic vibe that I’m on anyway. Harsh, maybe, but I think it is time we started to look at things more closely, one thing in particular.

Apparently, there is a monetary value that each of us in society has placed on us by Government. This figure, based on age, lifestyle, earning potential and many other factors, is how much we are actually worth to the economy. Speaking in strictly economic terms it is safe to say that suicides represent an anomaly, an uncertainty. Suicides will lessen this golden figure. Other deaths we cannot control but can account for, but suicides, always said to be ‘such a waste of a life’, may cost the Government millions if left to go unchallenged. (The main voice against suicide is the Church, the Govts agent, and back in the day suicides were buried ignonimously on the high road with a stake thrust through their body and without Christian rites!)

Maybe just a conspiracy theory, but do you think the Governments of countries in the ‘Third World’ are as worried about suicide as we are?