Kev’s pissed off. You see small chinks of it on the surface, if you’re looking, but most of it is well hidden. He works his balls off in a community support role for disadvantaged kids, getting paid badly, his bosses taking the piss out of him by asking him to work extra hours for no more pay. Sometimes he thinks he should be sitting where the kids are sitting. There’s not much difference between them and him. Then he gives himself a talking to. He doesn’t have it that bad. He has it fairly shit, but not that bad in the grand scheme of things. His work is good for perspective, and in a way he should count himself lucky he has a job. He has a decent terraced roof over his head. Nobody’s beating him up, abusing him, stealing his food or disturbing his sleep.

Kev never went to college or uni and he knows he’s judged because of that. People look at him sadly when he tells them, like they regret it for him. He knows he could do what his bosses do all day long without breaking a sweat. At 24, like most of his mates he still lives at home with his Dad, a bus driver. They lost his mum when he was a kid, which he feels was preventable so he holds serious resentment. He doesn’t think he has many prospects. He looks at other jobs online now and then, knowing he wouldn’t stand a chance. They’ll go to other people, graduates and people with more qualifications. He prefers doing what he does to sitting in an office or a call centre anyway. There are good days and bad days but on the whole he isn’t unhappy with his work. He does watch the news, skim-reads stuff online from all arguments, leave and remain, Obama and Trump. His head tells him he should lean to the left, when he can be bothered to vote. Although he wasn’t and didn’t last time, and he was too confused by the whole Brexit thing. All those opinions firing in from all angles. Safest to leave well alone, say nothing.

Kev’s heart tells him differently. He’d never voice this aloud or online but his heart says ‘fuck it all’. Why not rip it up and start again? The unfairness, for him, for some of his mates. It’s ridiculous, all stacked against them. He could never afford to buy a house, even to pay a decent amount of rent. Not with the price of rent in the city and his shitty wages. He struggles to take a girl out, has to sponge a few quid off his old man. So yeah, his heart says disrupt everything. He knows it’s not nice, some of it. There’s lots of angry people at the moment. But at the same time everyone suddenly seems like a liberal softy, or desperate to appear like they are. Everyone loves refugees and anyone who isn’t white. Everyone is desperate to appear good and nice, to make hilarious protest banners and show how clever they are by sharing hundreds of Guardian opinion pieces. Everyone wants to be warm and welcoming and show no fear. Although everyone is scared.  Terrorism, Russia, Trump and all his dead-eyed cronies, jobs, economy, money, healthcare, ageing, that stranger standing right next to you. Everyone’s petrified.

Sorry but it’s bullshit. It might make you feel better about yourself but the world just isn’t all good and fluffy. Take a look around, everywhere. You don’t get what you deserve if you work your balls off. Definitely not if you don’t know anyone worth knowing, who can help give you a lift up. Not at the moment, maybe not for a long time in the future, maybe never. If it came down to it and you had a precious opportunity to get a job, get ahead, get a few more quid, you probably wouldn’t think twice about dissing or tripping a rival. Watch people in traffic. They look like they’d kill to get ahead of someone at a set of lights. Would you? Maybe you would. Whatever. The world and all its screwed up systems need a good hard rattle. Let’s see what happens.


scary steve

Sorely tempted to post this on Facebook but totally bottled it…

I know Steve from the gym. On the surface he’s a cheeky chappy middle-aged bloke. He’s usually upbeat, happy to chat and easy to talk to. He has a season ticket down the Bluebirds and loves it, the atmosphere and the people. Not so much the football. That’s just a small part of it really. Always simmering with a livewire nervous energy, Steve’s into crude locker room banter and has an eye for the ladies. He’s not stupid.  He has his own successful little business operation and he’s understandably proud of it. Let’s say he’s an electrician, drives a branded van. He’s happily married but doesn’t have that many close work colleagues. He goes to the gym a couple of times a day, partly for the company. He goes to the football, and once or twice a week down the pub. They have a nice detached house in a respectable part of town and go on cruise ship holidays every few months. Fantastic entertainment, bit of sunshine, good honest people.

Steve isn’t politically engaged. He doesn’t watch the news, finds it a bit heavy and posh and depressing. Why bother depressing yourself like that? He does buy The Sun newspaper from time to time and lightly skims over it, enjoys the sport coverage and the celebrity gossip. He uses Facebook a lot and enjoys seeing what all the boys are sharing and talking about. Loves it, actually. Facebook is brilliant. What would he do without Facebook? To be honest Steve doesn’t form his own opinions about much but always finds himself agreeing with people around him, laughing loudly along. They sound confident, like they know what they’re talking about. They’re funny too and it’s a good crack like, you know? Great bunch of lads. Steve finds himself borrowing opinions when he feels the need. From his Dad, from his Facebook, from the lads in the gym. Nothing wrong with that. Don’t we all borrow opinions anyway? At the end of the day, yeah ok, perhaps Steve is a bit of a sheep, quite gullible. His missis always accuses him of being too trusting of people. He’s been fleeced a few times that way.  He’s happy with simple answers that make sense to him. He knows he’s not the brightest in the world. But so what? He doesn’t care. Life is good.

On his own Steve is pretty harmless, a nice guy.