The mid-march evening stood grey and chilly, the raucousness of Ridley road market had vacated; leaving remnants of raw fish, meat, fruit and veg, and skeletons of stalls which were bodied with fabrics and garb. Rusty shutters ,guarding African treasures, lined the street, leaving its occupants dancing ,Special Brew in hand, to the echo of the days hustle. At the end of the road, The Three Compasses, pickled with the smell of beer, and warm in its wine furnishings. With chips to soak- up their cider bellies, TPOD (ThePalaceOfTheDogs) and street artist FATA, weigh their views on Art and Politics. TPOD draws for his phone &…
TPOTD: This is the first time I’ve ever done this ?
FATA: What the darts…
FATA: ohh interviewing?
TPOTD: I don’t even know what to say or ask you…
FATA: Whatever you feel like, Come on hit me up with some Shit.
TPOTD: Ok so going off what we were talking about earlier, what is it that you mean by the floating generation?
FATA: What do I mean by the floating generation… well, firstly I should say that all I’m about to say has been enhanced in feeling, since the gentrification of Hackney has happened. I’ve been here a long time, and with this new change, I have felt my feelings on this subject matter- grow stronger. The displacement of people who were here before, the class divide, and distribution of wealth, the differing value systems that try to interact on a daily basis… it’s fascinating to me, but I also find it quite sad.
I should also say that I don’t believe in generalisations, and respect that what I will share here, is a biased feeling, (that is my own and not necessarily ‘right’) and perhaps influenced by many factors that have in the past, or currently do surround me…
But, this is what I mean: I think it’s a generation that doesn’t know where they come from, or where they’re going, that don’t know what they want, or sometimes even what’s available to them. It’s the generation that doesn’t know, or perhaps more- they don’t care to know, the world they live in. A-political, Post-modern, perhaps arguably even A-sexual. Un-faffed by the outside world, or what’s going on- I mean, it’s insane to think this year, we only had less than half of Londoners voting for the mayoral election…compare this to a striking 81% of people voting in the Phillipines- and you begin to ask some questions…
We are a generation, who have the luxury of (I’ll pick a banal example) twenty different toothpastes to choose from, and yet don’t know what’s in them, or where these ingredients come from, we don’t know it’s effect on our teeth, or more importantly the effects of our using it on the world…
Ironically, however we have never had information so easily accessible to us- what with technological advances, and the internet.
In terms of ‘intimate relationships’, we are no longer Victorian in our approach, nor are we bloshy and rebellious- as perhaps we were in the 80’s. Instead we have a ‘pick’n’mix’ range of choice…now allowed to experiment …and expand on a mix of ideals of ‘love’. We are a generation, that has the highest rate of divorce than ever before, but at the same time wider spectrums of labeling- accessible to explaining ‘different ways to love’.
I say ‘lost’, because I do feel we’re almost a ‘lost’ generation- raised with too much choice and too much opportunity.
I’ll go on to talk about why I make a link now between ‘The Millennial’ research (as coined by Strauss and Howe) in a minute- but to make a further point…there are studies that show 92% of this bracketed generation, multi-task while using instant messaging. Even the physical act of this, is floating. We skirt, and engage less and less, we do a bit of everything and never dig deep, or barely skate at all on the surface of life as it passes us by. We struggle to commit to anything.
So (a bit more explanation on all this), I think we are an abridged version of ‘The Millennials’. In March 2014 The Pew Research Centre (US) issued a report, that showed how as adults, Millenials were ‘detached from institutions and networked with friends’. I think this is accurate. If you look at a place like Hackney, you have those who have the luxury of being able to sit and network over coffee that cost £3.00, you have others that don’t even know that’s how much a coffee would cost, because they don’t ever go into a coffee shop… both of these kinds of people, are unlikely to ever interact with each other. We have learned and seem to have the luxury to close our eyes (either way) to what is going on outside of our own blinkers… and people are content with this. Therefore, why would anyone want to shake this? Or change it? I would argue that it is this in fact complacency, I may even go as far to call it – lethargy- in our generation that causes for a stagnant social climate.
In turn we let the ‘others’ run the world we live in, and have no necessary desire to take ownership of it, or recognise our responsibility to future generations, or even not thinking so far ahead- just the responsibility we have to each other, now.
To be fair, I guess a lot of these big choices are being made by ‘other’ people. For instance, I recently browsed over The Intercept, online…and educated myself on the drones that Barak Obama has used in the Middle East… I guess that’s something we won’t hear of unless we went in search of those answers. Too many of us are too tired or too busy or too ignorant to ask these questions. So you trust what “whoever” is telling you.
TPOTD: But surely people aren’t that lazy to let these things just go on, do you feel like there are tactics used to distract people?
FATA: Ofcourse, education is the key thing, and unfortunately I cynically, think that it’s in the ‘Powers’ interest to have us numbed this way. For instance, it is fact that the cow industry- beef, milk- everything…is the second largest producer of methane, greenhouse gases after cars. We are, fact, killing ourselves by continuing this.
In schools, they are still being taught the old food pyramid, where milk sits proudly as being the top source of calcium. I have never drunk milk in 24 years of living, and I have no Calcium deficiency. I would consider myself a fairly healthy and fit human. What they don’t teach us- is that you actually don’t need milk, but by continuing that cycle, there’s a lot of profit to be made. Not only these industries but all the surrounding ones too, i.e. Pharmaceutical companies, who are all getting very rich off of the fact that we have, for instance, created an epidemic of obesity, off of the phenomenon that is fast-food.
If people were being taught to care about one another, the environment, and themselves- perhaps a more traditional asiatic view of education- nourishing the mind, the body, the soul, and your surroundings… instead of being taught competition, power, need and greed etc… bringing it back to the above topic, we’d all be saying…No one ‘in their right mind’ would drink milk!
*I’d just like to slyly, mention here that we are also the ONLY animals to drink milk from another animal, so there’s obviously tactics in place to stop us questioning and changing the system too radically… because it is just (as science shows) not a ‘natural’ thing, as they would be quite happy for us to believe… it’s habit that has been created, and now considered norm.
TPTOD: How does this Floating Generation effect us as a society.
FATA: Well, firstly there is no real sort of solidarity. We’re all floating in and out, or on, or in between. People I meet often sit on the fence. (No pun intended 😉 )
Britain has never had a revolution… to a certain extent. Ok more precisely, we have had our revolutions- The peasants revolt, the Jacobite rebellion etc- but none ever succeeded. The revolters never win, except for the Civil War, but then that lasted for a bit, and then they just went back to the old ways, having decided that this new ‘idea’ didn’t work.
So, then people argue, that the reason for this historical and present truth is because we live in a democracy, and that has almost always been the case…So, we’ve never really needed to change anything. Bollocks, I say.
Yes, we live in a democracy. But by definition it should be a government working for the people, of the people and by the people. The effects of having a floating generation, is that people sit on the illusion of democracy, instead of constantly challenging it so that it remains true to its original purpose- which is to create a fairness.
Because we never ‘rebel’ (en mass) against anything, we don’t move forward. We float, and wait for change to inevitably happen, instead of being front-runners making choices. As we started discussing before, maybe this is because we have, either given up on thinking change is actually possible, or maybe we hold too much faith on the people who are good at telling us what we want to hear, or maybe…we have become simply complacent, lazy and shift responsibility from ourselves…Whatever the reasons, in this way…we don’t even begin to pose questions, that would start to effect the society we live in…
Stay tuned for Part ii of the interview!!!!