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by Sian 

Posted: 20 August 2003
Word Count: 534
Summary: This is the introduction to a piece I'm working on. I'm not sure where its going to go yet but I like it.

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Content Warning
This piece and/or subsequent comments may contain strong language.

Living at the bottom of the financial food chain in London is no fun. Especially when all your friends seem to have more spare cash than you. You are constantly wondering where your next meal is coming from, but you always seem to find spare cash for that quick pint, weed, the odd pill or that sneaky line of coke.

I guess that you had a comfortable upbringing, with your parents being fine upstanding citizens of the middle class brigade; sedated within the cradle of the semi-detached suburban environment; ford escorts, land rovers, 2.4 children, college, a respectable university, a degree in whatever.
Then you move out. Pushed away from home comforts, out of the hedonistic cushion of university life, into the world of work, of seeming responsibility and of apparent adulthood.
All of a sudden your life has spiralled out of control and becomes

Friday nights out on the lash,
Saturday morning head fuck, Saturday night all-nighters,
lazy Sunday afternoons Iíve got no mind to worry close my eyes and drift away...
All this followed by a deeply depressing sense of monotony when it comes back around to Monday.
You begin to realise what it means to live for the weekend. You get to the stage where the weekends seem to last longer than the working week.

You are not entirely happy in your job. It doesnít pay enough; and you constantly have to ask the bank for another loan/overdraft/a break. Your boss hates you, and all you think about at work is escape. This isnít what was supposed to happen. Disillusionment sets in.
Itís a sad feeling when you wake up and realise youíre not as free as you thought you were. You realise that this is what real life is about.

Then you discover sex in the city. Cold, hard sex with strangers; people who youíre barely acquainted with. ďI shagged a friend of a friend of a friend who I met at a party the other week, I canít remember his name. I think he works in computer programming. No Iím not seeing him again
The transience of the city permeating into every aspect of your life. Everything is cheap, overpriced, washed-out, grey and all too quick. Or not quick enough.
You feel empty, shallow, and in need of a bath. It seems as though everyone else on the planet can cope with this; you are too sensitive, with naive expectations of what the whole thing entails, about what you expect in return from whoever it might be.

Youíre salary doesnít support the standard of living you have been used to. The banks have turned on you now that you have a job and they are bleeding you of everything you own. Itís a running battle between you, HSBC, Barclays or the NatWest.
ďWho will win this month? Will you still be in credit? How will this financial tragedy end?Ē
Your career looks good on paper. Thereís an element of smugness when you tell people that youíre in computers/media/publishing/banking. But for people like me itís all a front. Because at the end of the day, you rarely get any joy from your work, you sold out, and youíre still skint.

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Comments by other Members

DJ at 23:29 on 20 August 2003  Report this post
Hi Sian -

Loved this - as well as reading like a narrative on my life for the last 8 years ( have just moved on....YES! ) this also reminds me of the opening to Trainspotting - its punchy style, its straight-talking...

Don't know what you're going to do with this, but stay with it!!!



Nell at 09:16 on 21 August 2003  Report this post
Hi Sian, scary stuff with the unmistakable ring of truth about it, and great posibilities for development. I think you could lose one of the instances of 'spare cash' in the first para, and here's a typo for you: 'Youíre salary'

As DJ says, stay with it, looking forward to more, best, Nell.

Sian at 19:47 on 21 August 2003  Report this post
Thanks! thats really nice of both of you to say! Scary how life can get really. I have some idea of where I want it to go, but erm... they always seem to come to full stops. I might need an intense weekend of hard partying to get some inspiration!
I love observing the social lives of people, especially when they become out of control and severely screwed up. Fortunately I live in the Brixton area so theres no shortage of that - in fact its a great place to be because I'm drawn to the dark underbelly of London life - which you get everywhere in the city but I think its more concentrated here.
Also, being a staunch Northener exiled to the city, I'm finding this all great fun :)

Nell, thanks for highlighting the typo!


Sian X

Ali at 00:40 on 22 August 2003  Report this post

Am I come from another country but have always had a good insight on the lifestyle of "Londoners" and reading your piece I have to say have strengthened the view points I've had before.
Some people are unaware of the harshness and numbness of their mundane daily routine till someone points it out for them (in this case you!) and ends up coming out as a wake up call, which is always a good thing.
Ehm, boy I'm running on! Anywayz, just meant to say I liked your style and your approach. Would like to read the finished piece.

Cheers xxx

Richard Brown at 10:37 on 26 August 2003  Report this post
Sian, Much good material here and an engaging style. One reservation: I'm not quite sure about the shift in perspective. Early on you write, 'I guess that you...', as though the words are addressed by the writer to someone, then the use of 'you' throughout reads much in the sense of the outdated 'one' (which is ok) but then, at the end, you reintroduce yourself with, 'for people like me'. At this stage the reader doesn't know what kind of person you are. Maybe this is part of the reason why you feel that you don't where it is going?

Do you have a market in mind for the piece? If you are thinking about selling it eventually, it would definitely be worth doing some research on outlets.

I really look forward to seeing where the piece eventualy does go.


Sian at 15:47 on 30 August 2003  Report this post
Cheers Richard!

I'd not noticed that one, you're right maybe I need to get some sense of perspective on this in order to carry it forward.

In terms of markets, its not something I have thought about really - I wouldn't know where to start (any advice?!).


Sian x

Richard Brown at 11:53 on 01 September 2003  Report this post
The kind of thing you're writing about is not in my area of expertise but, as it happens, I'm just (slowly!) working on the non-fiction magazine section of the WW Directory. This will expand as I sort out the data and enter it. I think it might eventually be worth looking at the 'lifestyle' category. Thus far there are only two mags listed in the section but that will increase as I come across the relevant publications. It will also probably be worth keeping an eye on the list of categories, which is also incomplete. There is already a 'features' category, which may eventually be useful in this context but there will probably be others that are more specific.

Incidentally - I haven't forgotten the exercise idea you suggested; I'll be putting something in the group forum very soon (sorry for the delay! - very busy at the mo!)

Ioannou at 12:21 on 01 September 2003  Report this post
There are many different layers of London life. It's interesting (as a Londoner) to read about the life of someone coming in from elsewhere and seeing it as a sort of testing ground for a mad life rather than, just as anywhere else, a home. Look forward to next installment. Love, Maria.

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