The vulgarity of the British

Examples of social decline, especially in the UK

Re: The vulgarity of the British

Postby Paul » 15 Feb 2014, 15:04

Gavin, I see your point and in many ways you are correct. But it's an intensely complicated situation when you consider how many people are out of work and the cost of basic living (mainly housing and utilities) for all those people. The theory is great, the practice not so simple.

I'm not talking about the underclass as such either nor excusing bad behaviour. That's a different matter entirely than plain unemployment and little funds.

I very much doubt the millions we are talking about could feasibly generate enough income, via these small 'cottage industry' type of activities to pay their way in full - every week, week in, week out. They would still need part-welfare, and to keep dipping back into welfare as periods of no income (or scant income) occurred. The system would be impossible to administer. The authorities are only too eager now (rightly we might say) to get claimants off benefits the moment they can. If a claimant contacted the benefit office and said they were even thinking of (let alone had accomplished, however minor) going into business, their benefit would be stopped in total and without delay. There is no mechanism for a period of grace, an allowance for people to work a little to see if they can ease themselves off the system. It's very rigid. Rightly so in one sense, but such rigidity completely prevents the suggestions you have for the unemployed.

I believe the benefit payable to a single (no partner, no children) unemployed person is currently about £71 per week. Only a 'tenner' a day then. Surely everyone could earn ten pounds per day in some fringe activity in order to fill their bellies (though little else)? Yes, I tend to agree, although seven-day weeks forever is asking a lot of anyone. Fourteen pounds per day then and a weekend off. But I doubt they could consistently earn enough money to additionally start paying their housing costs, local taxes, and most of all - utilities. I don't see how people are doing that now on ten pounds per day, even though they don't have to work for that. Throw some children into the mix and it seems impossible (for the casual odd-job man, the 'shoe-shiner' and such) that people could survive. How are they surviving in fact?

There will be a scant few in each square mile who may just hold out and turn their little business into something more, gradually over time. The majority would fail. They might struggle along for a short while before they were overwhelmed with costs. Additionally most people are not intelligent and resourceful enough. It's all very well to say they should be - but they are not and never will be. That's a hard reality of the world and always has been. People need it done for them - the set-up and provision of jobs to do, they are unable to do it themselves.

I know, because I've been there and am still there. I've teetered on the brink a few times in days gone by (not least because of other failing businesses defaulting on payment) and in my days past, things were much less predatory than they are today. I would shudder to think of entering self-employment now and would actually advise against anyone, aged 22 as I was (or in fact any age) taking up the idea. The amount of capital needed just to weather the first few months is now considerable - far more than the common mass of jobless will possess. That's capital just to live, let alone capital to develop the business. The possession and running of a legal vehicle (and it's a small van at least for most businesses) is no laughing matter these days. It's extremely expensive. Small cottage industries can no longer support those costs. Once upon a time - just about. These days I very much doubt it. The reasons I survived was indeed grit and perseverance, hardship and 12 hour days but it was also down to skills and I have to say, as humbly as possible, intelligence and ability. Not everyone is or was as intelligent, able and skilled as I was or am (a lot self-taught) and that's fine by me - it gives me my opening and my chance. However, I cannot think of hardly any small businesses in my locality, that begun such as I did, that has survived the last 29 years. Countless ones have fell by the wayside, through no real fault of the operatives. I'm just about the only one still left and I've only managed that by down-scaling to the point where I work alone. There is no way I could afford to employ anyone. There is no way I would wish to either. That's because of people themselves (unable and uneducated) but also the sheer unseen cost of it and, massively so, the regulations attached.

I am in fact now almost totally self-sufficient. I get nothing free, don't really want anything free (if you see what I mean) and have become I suppose a so-called Libertarian. But I realise that it's not really something everyone could do - and I'm glad of that in many ways. It enables a niche for me to operate within. Some of my pronouncements are in fact cruel and heartless. I justify this by saying it has always been a cruel world. Shrug.

Regulations are by the way another massive hurdle for anyone now, even the one-man band you describe, beginning a little business. In fact most things are prohibited now. I probably break some law or another every day or at least some law could be interpreted to close me down. I will be honest and say that I actually worm my way between the cracks of a complex system. The main reason I get away with this is because I don't employ anyone and also because I no longer aim too high in the matter of the type of work (contracts) I do. In fact I'm just running a kind of cottage industry myself now, just a highly-skilled one that has occupied a niche.

My local town, once an intense hive of activity, still in the 1980s (itself a shadow of former glories) is now all but stagnant. Honestly, please, there is very little left. The town centre is forlorn and decaying. The side streets have no more shops. The mills and mines have gone forever.

I realise it all sounds negative and am sorry that it has to be so, but there are some hard realities here. Millions of people need real jobs, full-time jobs that will pay all their costs of living. I'm not saying they shouldn't have to toil and struggle somewhat but there's honestly hardly anything left that would provide even that.

I'll say again that it's difficult to describe how much has been lost, at least here in the North West. In fact I don't know where all the people one used to see going to work, have gone. Why are they not all aimlessly standing around the streets? One used to see droves of people making their way to and fro - all workers attending or leaving mills, factories, mines and the dozens of businesses around these dominant industries. They were almost like minor football crowds leaving the stadium - masses of people, I mean real large numbers. Just the number of mills that were around, open 24 hours, hundreds of lights blazing in dozens of windows, every day of the year almost. They're all gone. All the cafes and sandwich shops (yes) and countless other smaller businesses have gone with them.

Look at the smaller town centres. They are ghostly places almost in many ways. If it wasn't for (foreign) takeaway shops and charity outlets there would hardly be anything at all. It's really bad. Look at all the pubs that have gone, tens of thousands around the land. We are in permanent decline.

One could kick this football back and forth forever. There is always a 'yes but....'. The problem is huge and beyond my skill to address properly.

I will try to find the time to begin a thread about some of the mercenary tactics of the Benefits Agency now employed. I am NOT attempting to totally excuse the underclass. The better-behaved unemployed are another matter - it's hard not to sympathise. But if you knew all the tactics of the authorities now, at least around here.....! The fact is they know there is no work for everyone and yet they're engaged in a very costly exercise of pushing people around, hither and thither, to no real purpose. I will go so far as to say it's actually costing more to do all this than it would be to just pay the claimants their benefits and have done with it. Let them rot - at least rotting isn't rioting. You may be surprised at what the unemployed are having to endure from the authorities. Yes, they should have to endure some discipline - but that has to be of a purpose and seen to be of a purpose. Other than that, it is just fomenting gradual desperation and fury, however (part) misplaced.

There really are some underhand and insidious (and corrupt) tricks now employed by the authorities. Honestly. Even in my hardest moments and cruellest moods I couldn't sustain this. As is also usual, these practises seem only to affect the more genuine people, whilst the worst underclass seem able to circumvent them. The recipients of the most seem to continue, the more lowly feeders seem ridiculously penalised.

I know of some direct cases close to home. My nephew is one of them. He was last year treated shambolically, corruptly and even unlawfully I would say, yet had done nothing wrong other than simply exist. He played by all the rules and was tricked and scammed - there are no other words for it. Thankfully for him he has escaped it by joining the Army - something that was always on the cards since he passed selection 11 months prior to joining. (One doesn't just walk into the military now, there is often a long wait. It's a trimmed and somewhat skeleton service compared to of old). I will relate his tale elsewhere.

This is the main thing: If pressure keeps being applied but there is no outlet then eventually things will blow. They have blown already as we have seen (2011) and have been teetering on the edge ever since. You have said - 'if their survival depends upon it'. Right then, imagine we do apply ever more pressure that they have to fight to survive. They aren't going to fight by way of struggling manfully along with a little business that garners ten pounds per day. They are going to riot. Yes we could get all the Police (but from where?) or even the military (from where?) to quell them but realistically that's never going to happen properly or be able to be sustained. Meanwhile countless employed and law-abiders will be looted, torched and robbed (people like me) and how will they ever pick themselves up from that? If I was burned out, looted and robbed then that would be the end for me. I would have to appeal to the state just to survive (a near suicidal path to me), become a looter myself - or die! Those poor people who lost businesses and entire premises in London (and elsewhere) in 2011 - what are they doing now?

I said to someone a few months ago - 'You have heard the term - five meals to riot?' - meaning it only takes people to go hungry for the equivalent of five meals (day two) before they would become violent. 'Oh yes', he said, 'but have you heard the next bit? Nine meals to murder!' I hadn't heard that and they may be cliches - but pretty accurate ones I would say.

Here's something I saw the other day which is the flavour of the month for me at the moment. It's hardly optimistic, it's even fatalistic, but I think it's at least realistic:

If you look on twitter you will despair.

Never despair. If the mass of human beings were not of low intelligence and high credulity the world would not be as it is. It has always been that way. A great mass of hatred seethes beneath human life–hatred caused mainly by the rotten things life does to us all. We can be angry at nothing (if you are atheist) angry at God (if you believe) or try to take it out on our fellow human beings (if a justification or an excuse can by tricked up by ourselves for those who would exploit us).
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Re: The vulgarity of the British

Postby Paul » 15 Feb 2014, 15:53

Just to add as well: the method by which I became self-employed was via a government scheme (concession) introduced by Margaret Thatcher's administration in, I think, 1984. The Enterprise Allowance Scheme was one in which the government would pay someone £40 per week (when straight social security benefits were about £25 - but plus housing costs) for 52 weeks - then you were on your own. The other proviso was that you had to raise £1000 of your own money (ouch - for many people), open a business bank account and deposit the thousand quid therein.

I had a few hundred pounds in the bank, savings built up since childhood in fact. Not everyone will have or did have back then. I had been working prior to this but only part-time and part-voluntary. To some degree I was also partly living off the back of a girlfriend (gulp) - she was a student nurse. We were in a flat but paying the rent, which was however only about £12 per week (sounds unbelievable now). Council rates (now Council Tax) were £9 per week. Water was £1 per week. A pound! For just over 20 pounds per week we were housed and watered - two people ..... and a dog.

Some years earlier I actually worked as a window-cleaner in the two summers between school and college and mid-college years, aged 16 and 17 respectively. My mother made me do it! It was what I would now call dangerous and menial work. I loved it to be honest. Of course it was summer, known to be temporary and I was very young. I got £25 per week for five long days and then including 'collecting' on Friday evenings. This was 1979 and 1980. I was able to save enough from this to 'survive' most of the rest of an academic college year. I doubt now that the local window-cleaner could casually employ a school-leaver, just for summer, as almost a favour to that boy and pay him some nominal cash at the end of the week. But anyway, that was then....

I borrowed the balance (to £1000) from my parents and applied to the scheme in November 1985. I was 22 years old. It didn't make much difference to us in respect of housing costs because we were paying them anyway, but to someone coming off benefits, a sudden loss of social security and housing benefit (which then included rates and water in council properties) would have seemed a larger burden. I gave up a part-time job and some voluntary work for a friend in business (which however enabled me by subtle negotiation to keep a car on the road - he paid for bits of repairs and a tax disc and some petrol). In effect, the £40 government subsidy paid all the rent and fuelled the car (which I swapped - not directly - for a van), or rather vehicle and just enabled a little shopping.

The £1000 soon ran out (but via investment in tools and stuff -and vehicle costs) but the £40 for a year kept me afloat and I was able (though it was hard at first) to continue once the year had passed. I had some lucky breaks - but then again, I made sure I was in the right places, kept my ear close to the ground and was very driven. I did have a lot of energy and I saw the booming 1980s as a time of great opportunity. One could just jump straight in - and I did. It's just not like that anymore, I can't explain it properly.

Oh for such a government scheme today and another Mrs Thatcher to announce it. But you know - many people took up the scheme, and they nearly all eventually failed.
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Re: The vulgarity of the British

Postby Gavin » 15 Feb 2014, 18:41

Thanks for those posts, Paul.
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Re: The vulgarity of the British

Postby Gavin » 17 Feb 2014, 08:23

Modern dilemmas. On the train: a man nearby is repeatedly snorting. I wasn't planning on listening to music, but I'm going to put my Walkman (I like to still call it that) on to drown it out. But I must judge the volume level carefully: too quiet and I'll still hear him. To loud and he may well object.
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Re: The vulgarity of the British

Postby Jonathan » 18 Feb 2014, 21:03

I really enjoyed reading your posts, Paul. I hope you will have the time and patience to tell the story of your nephew, making due allowance for his privacy.

It's strange how hard it is to realize how much has changed, until you hear it from someone who has seen it happen.
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Re: The vulgarity of the British

Postby Paul » 19 Feb 2014, 02:14

Oh thanks Jonathan (and Gavin) and everyone else..

Yes, how things have changed and of course we know that, but the myriad and countless unseen ways of change are almost impossible to relate in total. The sickly way many things dovetail together is another overwhelming factor. And of course, as younger generations come into the adult world, it's more difficult for them to appreciate the changes. I would have said the 1970s but it can now easily be said the 1980s ............ is like another world away. Maybe even the early 1990s in the UK.

Many things changed with Blair. This can't be over-stated enough - amid all the other things that can't be over-stated enough as well.

I'm thinking of the local window-cleaner again. Back then (the 1970s and into the 80s and certainly before this) there were still a very high proportion of households had their windows cleaned on a weekly basis. At least on a two-weekly basis. I can imagine at one time it was almost de rigeur to comply. This is in the streets of crammed terraces, North-West style as well as in more affluent and open estates and including Council estates too - which are mainly semi-detached houses and flats. Pure working-class areas as much as (or more than in number) the pockets of middle-class areas also. So window-cleaning was a very much demanded service, lowly and unskilled (though not entirely) activity though it may seem to be.

The local window-cleaner was a well known chap of around my parents age at the time (nearing 40). He had about eight young men working for him and they were full with work for five (or four and a bit if you worked hard) days a week. It was fairly easy for him to squeeze an extra worker in on a temp' basis, especially for lesser wages and (it has to be admitted) cash wages and no paperwork. That's where I came in. Student work - technically not entirely 'legit' (as we say), but you know..........

Even then I think the entire business garnered several hundred pounds per week, or even maybe a thousand or more. The cost of a typical window in a house was then about 10 pence (£0.10). There were 'specials', like huge bay windows and extremely dangerous ones where you had to put a ladder on extension roofs (maybe on planks) and climb up there. High flats too on a triple ladder - scary! I never did those. They might be 15p or even 20p! Shops were more expensive - the larger plate-glass shop frontages. Maybe a pound per shop. The round included both adjacent small town centres here so these were good 'earners' for the boss. But the bulk of the work was literally hundreds (even a thousand) terraced houses and council estate properties scattered across the locality. What I'm saying is there was an extremely large amount of windows cleaned every week, maybe five thousand windows or more. A lot of work.

The boss was quite affluent, and noticeably so, just from cleaning windows. He ran a Jaguar car. Still, it's an incongruous career, if such it can be called. But for many people, it was. Always work there, for those who could do it. I think the employee turnover rate was fairly regular - a few years is the most for anyone - except the boss. The eldest worker was I think aged about 25.

Compare to now. Hardly anyone in the terraces now has their windows cleaned. The more affluent and classy estates have no doubt kept it up (though less surely) and maybe now out-demand the working-class. There is a local window-cleaner and he's been around for years and is maybe himself now about 40. We have a nodding acquaintance upon passing. He works entirely alone - always, and maybe scrapes a living himself (or maybe a little more than that - though I've never seen a vehicle - he carries ladders everywhere) and only seems to work the one town centre (few shops) and a few streets. There might be one or two houses for him in each street and probably only the front of the houses - two windows and maybe a door glass.. It will invariably be the older folk who employ his services.

There are a lot of things to note here, most obviously that - where there was once employment (and this was 52 weeks per year, and so including the winters I never saw on the job) for eight young men and the boss himself (two vans if I recall and a car) and the odd bit of casual labour, there is now just enough work for one man. He probably now has to charge a pound per window, but undercuts himself (it is dangerous and arduous work) by charging 50 pence per window. A lot of houses won't have it done. They can't really afford now to pay several pounds per week just for clean windows. The entire trade has retracted and it IS linked to excessive inflation in all areas and so it is an economic thing - though not only this.

On a benefit payment of £71 per week, a person can't really afford 4 or 5 pounds to the window cleaner. Of course they could if they cancelled Sky or even the TV as a whole, stopped eating takeaways, drinking, smoking, but like I said earlier - how are they doing these things anyway? How are they even paying their electric bills?

But they should actually employ the window-cleaner, maybe just on a two-weekly basis. Haggle with him for say £4 per fortnight (two weeks). They could afford that, especially couples could - though couples don't get double the single rate - more like 1.5 times the rate so mathematically maybe not. That's pre-supposing the girlfriend (or vice-versa) is unemployed also. Don't mention children!

And if everyone did that the window-cleaner would soar. He would have to employ help, lots of it. But you see, that's never going to happen anymore. Something fundamental has changed.

It has thus had repurcussive economic effects. Eight jobs and a deal of local trade. And of course the wages and proceeds would have (and were) spent in the local area, not least in the local cafes every lunch hour and a few of the local pubs too as I do recall.

[Not me, I didn't start braving pubs till I was about 17.5 and then covertly and not connected to window-cleaning. When I turned 18 it was a minor relief, but my girlfriend was still 17 so there was still covert action! Police could (and occasionally did) still visit pubs back then and under-age drinkers would be ....arrested. Yes.

Now, I'm sure a young person would not really laugh, but more likely disdain my silly, boring tales of policemen going in pubs and arresting (eh?) under-age drinkers, aged even 17. As if that's really true. What Police would dare go in a pub now to arrest someone? Apart from the Tactical Aid Group with a few dogs and a Taser each. And for drinking? 'Get real' or some such they would say, maybe with some hostility at my foolishness. Now aged 17, they all probably know of a couple of crack houses and several skunk-growing operations. And besides, one never sees any Police now and certainly not in the few pubs. ]

Compare again now and ALL of those traditional cafes have gone from the main street of town. Very many of the shops have closed. Several of the pubs have closed. One on the main street burned to the ground a few years ago and is still a barren eyesore of cleared brickwork and ..........broken glass, weeds and litter and the mangled, temporary fencing that briefly bordered the fire-blackened site.. It looks utterly terrible. I'll mention the two town centres again a little below.

There are other factors. Many streets being filthy (see above) and being there is crumbling decay everywhere, and closure and abandonment it's no wonder to some degree that there is less pride. But it's no excuse really. In the heyday of industry the skies were black here, oft times, and grime was everywhere, but housewives took ferocious pride in maintaining just their little patch around the house. Windows would be polished, and doorsteps (stone) scrubbed and re-waxed with lovely beeswax polish that smelt nice. Housewives were always out sweeping the pavements and back yards and chattering in the street. Washing on every clothes line. All those little things. Now, few people consider having their windows cleaned or polishing the step. Many of them have rubbish everywhere about the property. Bins are left un-emptied, up-ended, spilled and there is an increasing amount of general refuse building up everywhere.

Once, the local parks, playing fields and sports grounds were pristine. The town park had an ornate cast-iron Victorian bandstand even into the early 1980s, three bowling-greens, lovely flower beds, walkways, arbors, tennis courts, etc etc. Another local park had an excellent animal section (goats, fowl, peacocks, even some emus, pot-bellied pigs and etc) and that was into the late 1990s - I used to take my kids there. Don't ask about any of that now! It's utterly tragic.

People have shrunk, into their own houses and away from an outside community feeling. Their houses may be very nice inside, with all the latest gadgets, sterile wooden floors, modern kitchens (it's probably all on credit - even the claimants), and a diet of mind-sapping TV and takeaways. Their thoughts don't necessarily extend as far as past the inside of their front doors and windows. Hence no need for a clean doorstep or the services of the window-cleaner.

Friday evenings, or beginning at about 5pm was 'collection night' for window-cleaning. Literally knocking on hundreds of doors requesting payment. Some housewives who were indoors when the cleaning was done paid at the time. Their name was already carefully marked in the little pocket book one had for that street (or series of streets). The rest had blank entries. There were some pointed questions but people generally paid every time and you marked then down. The point is at the end of the evening, one might have a hundred pounds or more in cash, a lot of it in coin (heavy enough of course) before meeting the boss and cashing in. This was a considerable amount in 1979.

Now would it be safe or advisable to have a 16 or 17 year old (or anyone alone) walking the close streets with a bag full of cash? Short answer - no!

Would an employer necessarily trust his young employees to walk the streets collecting his money, these days? Trust both them and the situation they were in, as above? Very unlikely.

In fact, would I necessarily want to knock on 200 doors one Friday evening these days, hoping to collect some nominal payment.? Who knows what domestic incident or drunken belligerent one might encounter ..........

And then there are all the fierce dogs too these days. They're everywhere, and especially fouling many a back yard. There would be no climbing over the back gate these days and bringing ladders into the back yard to clean the rear windows. A Pit Bull type or a Mastiff might be the greeting. Same or worse if you knock on the front door.

(I wonder how the window-cleaners fare in America - they have guns!)

Anyway, enough of the window-cleaners. It's a tiny example but it's one of dozens of similar tales. And the large-scale employers have gone too. Maybe another good example is a study of the two adjacent towns - their town centre main streets.

I did a study - rather I commissioned an unemployed local friend (why not?) - about three years ago, to ascertain how many actual places there are on the main streets alone, of the two town centres and the main through road that connects them, that one can buy ready to eat food.

I mention the road between because McDonalds (of course) is located thereon. Word is locally that KFC are rumoured to be building an establishment .......... right next door! Obviously the local Council will approve the planning on this - as they always do.

The astonishing result was returned - 58 places where one can buy ready-to-eat food, in two smallish town centres and the road between. It doesn't count the several outlets that are on the two council estates in the vicinity.

Now back in the day, each town would have had two or three fish-and-chip shops each. They would each have had three or four bakeries (cakes and pies) each. There were a couple of cafes per town. Admittedly then one might count up to 20 outlets selling such food. The first Chinese outlet arrived in 1976, but they however took over an existing fish and chip shop (it's still there and still Chinese). These were probably the first foreign proprietors. They were actually very good. My mother disapproved - said I would be sick! Only the f & c shops opened in the evening and at latest till about 10pm. The rest were daytime trade. This is important to note too.

One of the cafes was owned and staffed by bustling and stout old ladies, who made everything themselves on the premises. Legendary home made pies and stews and such. I adored the place. It was probably the closest remaining from those pictures you see of war-time cafes, but without the austerity, even down to the checkered tablecloths and standard condiments on the table. Now they probably wouldn't be allowed to do that because of Health and Safety and all kinds of hygiene - meaning mainly punitive costs.

All the rest of the main streets were open and active. There were wool shops in each town. Wool. That's for all the ladies who clicked knitting needles every evening, making woolen clothing for babies and children. There are no wool shops now, the idea is ludicrous.

There were tobacconists, lovely old shops with interesting smells. Best not go there however......

Now, it just seems crammed with takeaway shops. Everywhere you look. They're nearly all foreign-owned. They mainly only open at evenings and night-times. During the day they are aluminium shuttered, making the town look cold and bleak and horribly futuristic. They obviously aren't available to the window-cleaner. When the sun goes down they open their shutters and project garish neon light onto the street.

The main thing is I hardly ever see anyone in them. It's quite impossible that on a wet Tuesday in February they each get more than one customer each, on average. Some must get none. That's how it seems to me. I rarely go through the town centres too much at evensong and beyond, but can't entirely avoid it, and I never see anyone in them. All the lights are blaring, presumably gas supplies are flowing (for all those cookers) and several staff seem to be in each one (all foreign looking) but there are no queues of customers, nor solitary ones either. Again, how are they even paying their electricity bills? It's a strange set-up.

Meanwhile, no English person can now really succeed in a retail business, certainly not on the main street. The system would devour and impoverish them. That's how I see it. How do you work that one out?

Sorry for the long ramble. More later and elsewhere.
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Re: The vulgarity of the British

Postby Yessica » 20 Feb 2014, 10:12

I encountered a man today who may have been either a vulgarian or a mad man. Who knows? I met him at the bus station in a small town, where he was standing, chewing gum. He looked pretty prim and proper and lower middle class. It first I payed no attetion to him but then he spit his gum right in front of my pram. I wanted to say something but noticed he had the crazy stare of a mad person. He started walking up and down and cursing "Shit world" and so on. There were at least 20 other people at the station. Everybody pretended not to notice. Then he started asking people for a cigarette. People were so polite "No, unfortunatly I do not have one, please forgive me, Sir" ("Bitte entschuldigen Sie" = "Please forgive me, Sir" is a little less strong in German than in English, it is not an unusual expression). One man had a cigarette and asked him "Everything all right with you, Sir?" and the vulgarian or mad man gave a crazy stare and said "Sure".

That pretty much was it. Pretty boring compared too the things that happened to you. I mention it here because the reaction of the bystanders was so odd. Which reaction would have been adequate? I do not know.
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Re: The vulgarity of the British

Postby Paul » 21 Feb 2014, 23:10

My brother and his partner went to York the other day, for a day out. They had a visit to the Minster for a look round. It's £15 per person to do this, which I think is pretty disgraceful really. I suppose it keeps all the chavs away, but it's denying culture to very many. Imagine two adults and two adult children. It's too expensive by far.

They then went in a bar in the city. As my brother was ordering, a man (aged about 40) came up to his partner, sat at a table, and with a faraway look, informed her he had been recently abducted by aliens!

He frightened her really but turned out to be placid enough. My brother appeared and he continued in the same vein for some time. They couldn't get rid of him. Is he on drugs? Might he have a weapon? Move all bottles and glasses out of reach - as covertly as possible. Eventually my brother persuaded him to go and tell some other people all about it, which he then did, elsewhere in the bar. The tale petered out at this point.
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Re: The vulgarity of the British

Postby Andy JS » 19 Mar 2014, 18:32

It would be difficult to find a better example of social decay than this:

"Felixstowe: Adults damage their old school Orwell High during a last look round at special open evening":

The group – in their 40s and 50s – deliberately and repeatedly set off fire alarms, scrawled graffiti on walls and desks . . . and were caught smoking in the toilets.

Lewd pictures were drawn on walls, and it is understood some of the current students’ work was damaged.

Police and fire crews were called to the campus in Maidstone Road, and the building had to be evacuated.
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Re: The vulgarity of the British

Postby Paul » 22 Mar 2014, 23:08

Here's a view of the back of an address local to where I work, of which I've spoken about on other threads. It's occupied by unemployed young people. A young woman with child (she seems nice and presentable) seem to come and go. I've been told she is fed up and keeps going back to her mother's, but returns for a while in what is obviously another flippant relationship. The male seems to have friends round a lot. All they seem to do all day is sit around smoking skunk. Everyone local knows about this.

The wall literally blew over in strong winds in the middle of last November. It's probably 100 years old or thereabouts and obviously never maintained. Because of modifications over the years to the adjoining property, this section of brickwork was left 'untied' to any other structure. Most of the bricks were 'blown' due to decades of frost expansion and general erosion of the mortar left the whole structure unstable.

The picture is from yesterday. There has not been any attempt whatsoever to clean up. The general rubbish in the yard has been there months too. All the wheelie bins are full and never get emptied, mainly because they all contain a mixture of rubbish instead of graded trash, each to its own colour of bin. The black and blue bins have now been pushed away from the property and are left abandoned on what is a public footpath over a stream. They are both full to the brim and stinking.

Nobody is doing anything about this at all, leastways the Council.

Edit: I've removed the pictures. They've been there long enough for regular viewers. They could cause me trouble, were someone in the wider world to recognise them.
Paul
 
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Location: Lancashire, England.

Re: The vulgarity of the British

Postby Gavin » 24 Mar 2014, 08:14

Paul, your area looks just like where I live (i.e. bombed out) - but then both are in Lancashire. For decades, people would rather buy cigarettes and alcohol than paint, and the government is happy to help them do that.

Do many people have large plasma screen TVs in their front rooms there too? A council visitor could not take his eyes off our bookcase as it was the only one he had ever seen in the area.

On another topic, though, I noticed yesterday that "family-friendly" pub chain Wetherspoon has a new addition to its menu, something you wouldn't have seen a few years ago:

porn-martini.jpg


In most cases I don't actually agree with children being in pubs (it never used to be allowed!) but now any between the ages of seven and ten might enquire as to the meaning of these words - those over that age will probably know already.
Gavin
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Re: The vulgarity of the British

Postby Grant » 28 Mar 2014, 11:01

Gavin,
This topic typifies the anguish concerned Britons such as you and many others must feel about the state of affairs in your country. From the nation that gave the world Shakespeare, a common language, a model of stable government and judiciary and a belief mankind is on an upward trajectory via a willingness to tackle great challenges it must be dis-spiriting to see the venal become commonplace and any point of discussion reduced to the lowest common denominator. Who's to blame? Rupert Murdoch with his Sun newspaper (and I use that term advisedly) and TV empire? The dumbing down of national curricula and the belief every child must pass no matter their ability? Is it a western malaise that began in the 1960s when alternative thinking and lifestyles no longer were an amusing sideline but gained mainstream acceptance? On this side of the world (Australia) we're seeing the rise of Asian nations that have strong social and educational systems that encourage excellence. I can't imagine what a leader like Lee Kuan Yew would make of your nation's plight.
Grant
 
Posts: 121
Joined: 01 Apr 2013, 09:14

Re: The vulgarity of the British

Postby Nathan » 03 Apr 2014, 16:14

It's Liverpool Day at Aintree races! I'll let the comments in the article do the talking...;)

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/artic ... ction.html
Nathan
 
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Joined: 08 Dec 2012, 17:58

Re: The vulgarity of the British

Postby Yessica » 03 Apr 2014, 17:58

*blush*

First I only looked at the pictures without reading the texts and I thought some of them were having sort of a "bad taste day" at the races... you know, like dressing up as "trashy" as possible on purpose.
Yessica
 
Posts: 426
Joined: 22 Mar 2013, 17:11

Re: The vulgarity of the British

Postby Grant » 04 Apr 2014, 09:26

I know the term "English cuisine" is an oxymoron but surely the food of Britain can't be that bad to have resulted in the bevy of obese "babes" as depicted in the article. Those who appear to have some respect for their bodies are in the minority. Is the predominant shape another indicator of a generation that wants it all with no effort, responsibility or accountability?
Grant
 
Posts: 121
Joined: 01 Apr 2013, 09:14

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