The new inconvenient truth is that we should probably all give up alcohol – for good. Most of us will have a friend attempting dry January, swerving the demon drink for a month for varying reasons: to live more healthily, assuage festive guilt, avoid hangovers, save money or prove their willpower. Looking at the array of benefits, it makes perfect sense to stop drinking, doesn’t it?
Judging from social media, everyone has had a terrible 2016. The year and the collective suffering it has apparently inflicted upon us is fast becoming a cliche. We have all been through the mill equally, the narrative goes, hit by the myriad misfortunes of Brexit, Donald Trump and beloved celebrities dying.
My family was recently quoted £2,000 for a week of respite care for my mum, who has early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Does that sound expensive to you? Here are some things that also cost £2,000. A week’s rent on a two-bedroom apartment in Mayfair, London. A Tag Heuer watch of the type worn by Formula One drivers. Seven days at an all-inclusive luxury resort in Mexico.
I sometimes feel lonely. There, I’ve said it. But most younger people wouldn’t. According to a report by the Mental Health Foundation, 42% of those aged under 34 would be embarrassed to admit to feeling lonely. This is despite the fact that one in 10 people in the UK do not have a close friend, a study by the charity Relate found.
It doesn’t take long to become full at Meatopia, especially when you have just devoured an enormous tomahawk rib after doing the rounds at Tobacco Dock.
I am a carer. I help look after my mum, who has early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. It is a difficult, demanding and often depressing job, and I only do it part time, filling in the gaps to ensure that my mum receives 24-hour care. Even this limited but significant share of my family’s responsibility has had a profound impact on my life.
For many people, the mention of Battersea, the suburb of South West London, conjures up two things: the cats and dogs’ home and Clapham Junction, which proudly describes itself as Britain’s busiest railway station.
Facebook sickens me. Hell, a lot of things sicken me. But I’d feel overindulgent if I were to whine on for a few hundred words about one of my hatreds more than once a day. The whole thing is an advert. You can treat it like a marketplace too; if you know that saying a certain thing will get you a lot of ‘likes’, well then you’ll probably say it. Nobody can actually say what they are truly feeling, because nobody cares about that. It distracts from this online utopia, the invisible, non-existent but still horribly pervasive publicity room. Everything I see on there appears to me like a press release.
At this point you might ask ‘why don’t you just delete it’? Good question, to which I reply, you can’t just delete it. Don’t get me wrong I’m not suggesting Mark Zuckerberg and his pals are trying to take over and control our minds – or are they? – but in life as we live it you cannot afford to be away from this social networking behemoth. Everything is done on Facebook; lives are played out, things are organised, experiences broadcast to gain the approval of others, anecdotes shared, false pseudo-conversations had and pictures uploaded to create the ‘advert’ that Facebook forces us to.