your daily hate

After emerging from post-holiday hibernation, during which I did little else besides crocheting whilst binge-watching Netflix and eating bon-bons, I returned to the internet, that great information highway (or by-pass).

For most of my news, I read the Guardian,* supplemented (cautiously) by the Globe and Mail for Canadian content, the New York Times for essays, and the Gawker pantheon for entertainment (mostly science and feminism). Occasionally, though, one needs to hate-read. Hate-reading is not so one is reminded that the world is a terrible place full of terrible events, the news covers that just fine. No: hate-reading is to be reminded that people are THE WORST.

When you really want a good hate-read (and the GOOP newsletter just isn’t doing it), you can always turn to the Daily Mail, especially their comment threads.

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When I caught up on the news a few days ago, I quickly discovered that a day of reckoning seemed to be upon the British people. At the end of 2013, the EU restrictions on Romanians and Bulgarians living and working in the UK expired. Naturally, xenophobia reared its ugly head (Maggie? Is that you?). So much of it, too, came under the guise of “But the economy!” or just old prejudices reasserting themselves anew.

I am not going to debate the issue here, but one merely needs to compare and contrast the insane headlines of some British papers to the actual facts. I was lead to a conclusion as easily as fairy tale children are lead to gingerbread houses in the woods.

I find it amazing to consider the absolute absurdity of some of these stories. Calm down, ye wee Islanders, gypsies are not going to shit on your doorstep. I fear somewhere along the line a ham-fisted metaphor was mistaken for literal truth. No turds will be left on your front stoop. Do I really need to repeat that?

The hysteria, however and as always, was for nothing. But at least it provided me with an excellent example to cite when asked why I didn’t really want to stay in Britain. It boggles my mind that not only do papers like the Daily Mail exist, but that so many people actually take them for legitimate sources of news and social commentary. They are Fox News in print, nothing more. “News” should be defined as truth, you see.

And don’t get me started on Duck Dynasty.


* If being a Guardian reader is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

plot twist: we flee from london

As my first day of being thirty years old passes, we find ourselves having forsaken London. We went out flat hunting, paperwork in hand like rifles, the tube like horses and hounds. After several false starts, I had to admit to myself that London just wasn’t worth it. Paying a thousand pounds for a small flat (bed bugs likely included) in a part of town I would be scared to walk in at night, spending an hour on the tube just to get to a part-time job at a fabulous bookshop just didn’t add up.

I feel terrible about it, but I turned down the job at the bookshop. As much as I would have loved to work there (and the fact that job-hunting in this country has been as futile and depressing as hell, but that’s the subject of another post), the part-time hours and level of pay just didn’t rationalise the ridiculous London rent. After crunching numbers, I calculated that the difference in price to live in a shitty London flat versus a decent flat anywhere else was more than I would make. In essence, living outside London unemployed would be cheaper than living in London and working part-time minimum wage.

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Site of the fabled London Tim Horton’s.

Realizing this seemed something of a relief, actually. We were both tired of London but couldn’t justify admitting it. Had we turned tail and fled without the power of mathematics on our side it would have felt like failure or cowardice. I already feel pretty stupid for having believed the glorious picture of London. But then again, a lot of people have told us since: you have to realize for yourself that London sucks. No one heeds the warnings non-Londoners give; as my cousin said, if the person telling you is from the north, you just assume that it’s part of the whole Northerners-hate-London thing.

But they are right to. Trust them. London is beautiful in the centre, terrible on the outskirts. It’s a wonderful place to visit, but not to live. Lesson learned.

So then, we fall back on Plan B, which is actually returning to Plan A. Our sights are set on Hebden Bridge or somewhere like it. And if we don’t get jobs, then we travel and write until the money runs out and then go back to Vancouver.

Plan A sounds fantastic actually. Why did we even form a Plan B?