Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Wednesday, 18 July 2012
Don't worry, be happy
A few years ago, someone said to me, "Have you noticed how 'whistling' is going out of fashion?" and I said, "Thank God".
Of course, this observation was made a year or two before the financial crisis had properly kicked in, and God had deprived us of the season of 'Summer' as an extra punishment for being so profligate.
In the old days, when we still had summers, people used to say 'it's better to be broke in a warm climate than a cold one', and having visited Cuba, I knew that this was true. Then all the banks in Iceland collapsed, taking us with them.
Surrounded as I am by building sites front and back, I suddenly realised this morning that I have not heard a single whistled refrain from any of the several hundred builders who keep me awake all day and night by making other noise, nor have I heard a cheery soul humming a tune from the 'Classic Gold' radio station, as used to drive me mad before the nation was plunged into a deep depression. I amazed myself by realising that I actually miss it, now that it has stopped altogether.
In the 1940s and 50s, all men used to wear hats, and all workers used to chirrup away as they toiled - irritatingly displaying their cheery attitude to hardship, and putting a brave face on it. These days, young builders work grim-faced and silent - if you do hear the occasional laugh, it is tinged with cynicism or hysterical despair. Everyone is worried about the future and depressed about the irredeemable past. They don't even bother to whistle at young girls in short skirts any more, but maybe they would be fined for doing so., it being against the law.
Everyone here, from individuals to corporations, is trying to squeeze every last penny out of their fellow citizens because they are so anxious about their immediate futures. This showed up very clearly during my hunt for a second-hand Volvo, where I found crappy old cars which might have sold for £200 four years ago, being offered for £1000+. I saw a V70 diesel being offered for a start bid of £180 on eBay - with 720,000 miles on the clock, and - amazingly - people were bidding on it! Headless chickens.
I think someone needs to start 'The Lauren Becall School of Chirpy Whistling' as part of a general building course (City and Guilds, Level 2) before it's too late.