Since Britain, by a small majority, voted to leave the EU I thought I was having some kind of national identity crisis, or an existential crisis. My attitude was ‘fuck everyone in Mansfield’ my hometown, seventy per cent of voters backed leave, I can’t be bothered to speak to Vote Leavers, they fill me with despair. My attitude was ‘fuck Brexit Britain!’ England more than Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, small minded points of view have resulted in Brexit Britain. My attitude was ‘fuck the world’ humans are insane monsters.
But reading an extract of my journal from Tuesday 15th July 2008 my attitude was sort of the same for different reasons seems if I am having an identity/existential crisis then I’ve been having such a crisis for eight long years. Without my knowledge.
Upon analysis of my current attitude I realise I’m just being mardy (a local word that means throwing one’s dummy out of the pushchair) my bottom lip has been all a quiver because the land of my birth, the land I’ve lived in all my life and possibly the land I’ll die in, seems to be experiencing an identity/existential crisis.
Britain doesn’t seem to have a clue what it wants to be. Or what it is. We’re directionless seemingly lost at sea without a rudder, or whatever, we have no big plans, no forward thinking ideas, no bright and shiny future, we don’t, as a nation, even seem to be focussing on the here and now we seem instead to be wallowing in the gutters of imagined times past.
I’ve done it myself, wished to be me but in my teenage body able to influence and re-make my own world, I’ve wished to reconnect with the past via Eighties movies, Eighties comic books and Eighties video games and music. The music and movies tend to be fucking good, better than modern day music and movies but comic books seem, for the most part, as poorly written as they are now and video games are super difficult and completely wank.
Re-reading Grant Morrison’s Supergods I’ve embraced once again his idea of Iain Sinclair’s idea that the eleven year cycle of sunspot activity affects people, especially youth, here on planet Earth and we have the hippie and punk movement as evidence of that influence. It’s something I can readily accept at the moment, and until 2021, we’re supposed to be experiencing a kind of hippie/psychedelic youthful movement, optimism, hope, a bright future at least until nu-punk comes along and we descend into nihilism and anarchy.
But though I can buy into Sinclair and Morrison’s ideas and concepts I’m not entirely convinced maybe the sun exerts a yearly, monthly, weekly, daily influence over us humans, and especially the youth, there seems, around these parts, to be a fashion culture that revolves around either hoodies and jogging bottoms or hoodies and torn jeans. The hoodie jogging bottoms brigade also tend to wear Nike trainers, football shirts and baseball caps and they look a little unsavoury and criminal, they’re popularly known as Chavs (Council Housed and Violent). The hoodies and torn jeans also wear big boots, Doc Martens for example, or Converse, on their heads are perched wooly hats hiding beneath unkempt multi-coloured hair, blue and pink seem particularly popular. Both groups embrace tattoos. Hoodies and jogging bottoms tend to favour push bikes while hoodie and torn jeans favours skateboards. One group seems thuggish the other Goth-like and geeky. I know which I prefer.
From my window I can observe, without being seen no one ever looks up, these two tribes of people roaming, sometimes aimlessly, past making their ways hither and thither local boozers and McDonalds. There are other tribes, there are the Eastern Europeans talking loudly in Klingon (a harsh brutal language), there are the mothers and their kids with other female family members making up their groups this tribe is particularly prevalent on week day afternoons they like to shout loudly at their kids and seem to swear a lot. In a morning my hometown seems swamped with the elderly but come the afternoon they’ve been replaced by the unemployed and the unemployable.
I don’t feel as though I fit in. I never have. I’ve never wanted to. I don’t have a tribe or wish to be tribal. I’ve decided, during the writing of this, I’m happy having no identity of not being able to identify with anyone, with being an outsider, an observer, a watcher. I’m like Uatu, I can observe but not interfere, unless of course I give Johnny Storm directions to retrieve the Ultimate Nullifier and help stop mighty Galactus.