Poverty Post

September 29, 2008

*WO-OOP WO-OOP WO-OOP* the povvo alarm is wooping loud and clear at the moment, and I doubt I’m the only one who can hear it. After a year of extravagent indulgance I find that despite being salaried I am not actually rich. It’s a shock that comes to many in their first real grown-up jobs when the lustre of regular payment wears off to reveal the truth of the matter.

This month I’ve given up my personal luxuries. Recently I’ve been a bit lazy/naughty/indulgent and bought a few lunches – that’s definitely off the menu. I’ve switched from sexy muesli to bran flakes. Co-op has again earned my love for creating their own smoothies which are not only almost half the price of Innocent but also fair trade. I’ve decided to forgo buying new trousers to replace the ones that aggravate my eczema.

Partner and I have also reached a “it’s time to regain control over our eating habits and cook properly” stage again. It happens about once every three months. He made the most beautiful cottage pie. Tonight I’m going to try to recreate it.

Other poverty prevension ideas I’ve had include: hand-making a christmas present for my mum, never leaving my house ever again, writing stories for magazines. Finding it difficult to do the writing part but I think something is forming in my mind.

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Times they are up heaving

August 26, 2008

Changes have been happening. Housefolk Femme has gone, leaving babycat with a hole in her heart. I have moved my things into my partner’s room, so that after two years of squatting it is finally my room too. We took a bus ride to the end of the line and saw the border of Worcestershire. I saw an old friend and finally realised that our differences didn’t mean my inferiority.

It’s been intense. More than the run-of-the-mill bank holiday. And now I’m flat broke.

I do worry about money. Old Friend was telling us her mother likes her boyfriend because in ten years he’s set to be earning half a million. To me that is an inconceivable amount of money. After tax that’s still more than my yearly salary per month. I’ll just have to convince myself that my lifestyle is romantic and that I’m a starving artist. The only way to justify this of course is to apply myself to my art so look out for more extracts in the coming weeks and you’ll know I’m making good on it.

I could just make peace with being poor. In fact I don’t mind my lack of money most of the time, I probably just need to manage what I’ve got more effectively (damn jargon word). But in saying these things I’m letting myself off the hook for not writing. And I must write, otherwise I’m wasting everything I’ve achieved so far and using it simply to coast, and while you can coast at work you shouldn’t coast through life.


Slap my wrist

July 22, 2008

There are things I want to write about. Unfortunately I cannot write about them now as I have frittered away most of my available time today. I have had delightful catch-ups with my close friend who I had not spoken to since before my holiday. I listened to the radio 4 afternoon play because it was by my former tutor, and as much as I wanted to hate it I found it quite average (though I do think having 2 BBC correspondents as researchers was cheating).

I really should do some work, for although I have time until my deadline I was given this assignment a little early so I should try to finish it a little early. I feel I have been arrogant in assuming that I am superior and secure and should not take too many liberties. One of my colleagues who I have little respect for professionally has got a new job and will be leaving in four weeks to go to London. He will undoubtedly be much better paid there. As it is I need to keep my job for the stability it offers, though if they are already down a person they are hardly likely to fire anyone else. I can but hope that his salary will be divided amongst the rest of us to make up for the lack of pay rise. To be more serious when my partner gets a job I expect he will be earning more than me and combined we may start to have a comfortable life.


Shallow, moi?

June 30, 2008

What’s that word, the one you would use to describe the feeling of reassurance you get from seeing others not do too well at things? It’s not shallow, it’s not really cruel as you don’t wish it on the other person nor are you glad that it’s happening to them – just glad it’s not happening to you. If only there was a thesaurus of vagueness I could use to look it up.

At present I am reassured that although I don’t think I’m doing very well with my money I am at least ticking over and standing still, unlike certain people of my acquaintance. It is always unfortunate when a rent cheque bounces but in this case the person will be able to cover it with a little rejigging of accounts. The idea of not having my rent makes me very sad in a nauseous way, and I hope it does not become a concern in the future when budgeting for a higher rent in the new house may be tricky.

What I find highly irritating in terms of financial failures is Housefolk Epsilon’s failure to pay the bills. All the other housefolks gave him the money a month ago, when the bill came, and now we are getting red letters. He said he was waiting until he got paid, but I think he already has been. And now he’s gone home – presumably to beg the money from his mum. Because he spent his on more computers. I kind of hope we get cut off – even though it will cause huge disruptions and loss to all of us – so I can justify my anger towards him for this, for putting us all at risk and impacting all our credit histories and being so drastically irresponsible. I even wonder if he spent our bill money, if maybe that is the reason he needs to beg a buy out.


An Adventuresome Weekend

June 16, 2008

Is what I have just finished having. I am quite sad it’s over, it was going well for a while there and the discovery of elderflower liqueur was a great one. The other great discovery was that there is a reason for the new series of Gladiators: it makes a fantastic drinking game. The rules were to drink when someone strikes a pose, says something cheesy or fails utterly. It was phenomenal.

I have not seen the Hulk movie that came out a few years back because I was busy inhaling paint thinner but did tag along with the gang to see this new one. I think you would get a similar experience if you went to see a cage fight while listening to a premium rate chat line. The movie is literally all fight/chase/fight scenes interspersed with moments of breathy dialoge from Liv Tyler who sounds like she’s been bricked in the face. As much as she sounded like a retard it also bugged me that soldiers were constantly moving her round calling her ‘miss’ when as daughter of the general they would all have known that her name was DR Ross. Nothing like respect in the army…

After the weekend’s overly full house (in which I was seventh in line for the throne, godsdamnit) we are now down to a more reasonable number, in exchange for a guest we have lost one of the housefolks who has run away to join the army. Whether he’ll come back in one piece or not is unknown – I’m not sure if he is adequately prepared for the rigours of the marines’ fitness test so I hope he doesn’t die. Before he left he played me a recording of a poem called ‘You can’t’ by someone who I think spells her name Salena Duggens. It’s a fantastic poem expressing distain for the widespread apathy infecting the nation. I loved it muchly but I don’t know where it came from and my very basic websearches have yielded nothing.

I am feeling poor at the moment. I must do things to improve my situation – all I’ve managed in the last year is to take about 700 off my overdraft which isn’t very much and it is almost the birthingsday of significant other and in order to make a fitting tribute I may have to dent that again. I hate to have to be concerned with money. The lowest point of my poverty when I was a student without loan money and hadn’t landed a summer job yet (which had to start in april I was that poor) was when I realised I had almost worn through the ass of my trousers and it was really cold (too cold for skirts, of which I had two) but couldn’t afford to buy new trousers, even primark trousers, because I had only just enough money for modest food. It sounds daft, oh no, no trousers for me today, I was hardly homeless or without support if I’d needed it, but the first time you look at your budget and think wow, I do kinda need this but if I got it I can’t have food, it really freaks you out and gives you a little taste of what it’s like to really be poor. Now I know I spend a little too much on what I like, particularly in the supermarket, because I hated the feeling of restriction. I could be creating savings but instead I am eating my money as a reassurance that I can afford that luxury. It’s probably time I got over that feeling, at least to make my use of food more efficient.


When am I?

April 29, 2008

Due to some kind of crazy internet timing system that somehow escapes my understanding my previous entry, made yesterday afternoon, has been marked with today’s date. I’m not going to stress over it as it’s close enough, and as long as the posts stay chronological it’s really no big deal.

To open up the question in a more philosophical vein: what does now really mean in context? I’m currently reading a collection of women’s letters that spans the last 800 years and it mentioned the tradition of women writing about women’s novels from previous eras. It occured to me that I have never really considered that although I have full access to all that has gone before I assume that history happened in isolated nuggets. Which is wrong. Ok I’m not a total dumbass: it actually occured to me just before christmas when I was wikipeding some of my favourite authors and influencers, only to discover that they in turn had been influenced by what had come before them. I started to wonder how far you would have to trace this back to discover the origins of certain ideas.

Letters, that strange and seemingly obsolete communication medium, have been making a prominent appearance in my mind of late. Before the above mentioned collection I was reading a book called Virginia Woolf’s Women which featured a large number of extracts from letters both to, from and about dear Ginia. Letters used to be much admired (probably before VW’s time) and passed around to show the skill of the writer. This has been lost now but our culture still has a keen thirst for gossip and voyeurism as quenched by our disturbing media who frequently seem to miss the point. I was even more upset than usual by the Daily Mail website today when they ‘paid tribute’ to actor Kris Marshall after he was injured in a car accident by publishing a picture of him being scraped off the road by paramedics. Sad and grim. I guess this type of thing has taken the place of the public execution.

But anyway, back to things about me. As I have no assignment at work this week (going to work for no reason being the bane of my existence) I have been trawling teh interwebs and my find of the week is etsy.com the craft shop website. My new hobby of cross stitch (don’t laugh) that I started about a month ago is working out rather well, but as I am almost finished with my first project it struck me that after a while I’m going to have a massive pile of things I’ve made and only so much space left on the ceiling. So perhaps I might sell things. I’d have to make a good few more before I could make a shop, and I’m sure BFF will stiff me for one before I’m allowed any kind of profit. But yes, although profit may seem to be the enemy of creativity it does give me something to work towards and perhaps even a few pennies to go in the ‘one day I will own property’ fund.

The point at which my random ramblings intersects is this: what if I wrote a short story in the form of some letters and sold it as a work of art on etsy? I have always had a strong feeling that words and art were intertwined, hence my passion for William Blake and cross stitching phrases, and decorating words and writing on pictures seems to be the only way in my mind to show all the things I want to show. Seeing some of the things on etsy, particularly illustrated poems made up as booklets, and seeing that they sell well gives me a little hope that I could do something like that too. I probably wouldn’t be as successful as I am out of practice and outside the USA so my shipping costs would be higher but there is hope nontheless.