About Me

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London, United Kingdom
Holly Searle is a writer who was born in Westminster in the middle of London. She shares her birthday with Jarvis Cocker and David Seaman and like Jarvis Cocker she wears glasses but has nothing whatsoever in common with David Seaman. She is fascinated by words, people and their stories, and regularly spends hours fantasising about being offered a weekly column. She has a degree in Film and Television which she gained from Brunel University in 1997. She has been blessed with two quite remarkable children whom she adores. She enjoys the company of her friends and the circus that is life. Long Walk to Forever by Kurt Vonnegut is her favourite short story. She is the author of the published children's tale The Story of Balan Singh, and is currently working on her first book.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Pretty Vacant By Holly Searle




In 1977, I became a teenager.

I was a pretty shy and retiring one at that. I was painfully self-conscious about all the changes that were taking place to my body and the transition between being a child and those years crossing the bridge, on my way to becoming an adult, were scary with no clear signposting to assist me on my journey.

This year, my son will hit the same marker in his life.

This got me to thinking about how different the culture he abides in is, and how much more demanding and unrelenting it appears to be in relation to the one that my rite of passage into adulthood evolved within.

It almost seems as if the culture we all live in now, combines an unapologetic helping of trash with a dollop of sophisticated technology, but, that it is devoid of the milk of human kindness. One that might offer a much needed cuddle every now and then, to those whom may find it all a little stressful to deal with and adhere too.

I feel both impressed with his good fortune to be a child of modernity, whilst incredibly sadden, that there appears to be something missing, something lost. An innocence and a creativity, that would be more suited to his personality, but one that he will somehow never know ever existed in the same way it did for me.

When I was a child, I was very much one. I spent my days, riding my bike, hanging out with my friends, still playing with my dolls (and was quite ashamed of doing so), listening and taping the top twenty off of the radio on a Sunday evening, and watching one of only three television channels.

I invented things and used my initiative to occupy my mind. It wasn't a necessity, it was a pleasure.

Times were simple, but then again, they were far more advanced than they had been for my parent's generation, or for my grandparent's before them.

Seems odd to think about that now, in these racy modern times that we live in.

We didn't have labels that made us who we were, we crafted who we were out of what we had. We created ourselves, and we weren't invented by the shallow ideals of ad men, whose didactic boardroom concepts, would soon start to dominate our identity of who they thought we should be, and of whom they thought we should be like.

I had grown up on a diet of a weekly subscription to The Bunty, Marvel and Whizzer and Chips comics. A cocktail of girly garb, mixed with a healthy dash of fantasy, combined with a smidgen of cheeky comic humour.

Pop stars were older than they are now. It was a rarity to see some singing poppet reach the top of the charts and claim an army of followers the way they do today. If they did, they were usually the product of Opportunity Knocks or New Faces, that soon faded into obscurity, rather than checking in to The Priory or The Betty Ford Clinic to purge themselves of some addiction that was brought about by their life in the spotlight.

My only sin of idolatry for these pop stars, were the one or two posters that I may have discovered within the pages of the odd copy of Jackie that I bought.

I soon discovered that I was not a magazine type of girl, and ditch them as an option for things that I felt worthy of spending my pocket money on.

Then in the summer of 1977, The Sex Pistols delivered punk into our lives and we all boarded a bus to an alternative destination that shook the very foundation of society.

They weren't the by product of a Hughie Green hosted show, but rather a backlash against the prime time produced popularity and the safe choices of his viewers.

I was terrified of their anger, but refreshed by it, as they heralded a new wave of music, bands and performers that were real, by the same token that Bob Dylan must have been for my parents.

Out of that culture of new wave music came the affirmation of individualism, and that was so good and inspirational. And freed us from mediocrity and underlined our lone creativity of ourselves, by ourselves.

But something has happened to all that, and this is one of the issues I worry about for all of those that will turn 13 this year.

Mediocrity it appears is king.

And I frown and scratch my head in wonder and dismay of how this could possibly have happened given the popular cultural gems that we have produced, but that have sadly been drown in a shallow puddle of the celebrity and reality culture that has taken over our society today.

And it is everywhere, like a mind altering virus without a cure.

The shallow unashamed and marketed to the hilt, label wearing, surgically enhanced, entourage accompanied soulless pack of beings, that have replaced the necessity of the mother of inventiveness that my generation proudly produced.

Kids today are identified by what they have, and sadly, not because of who they choose to be.

They are consumed by and idolise those that live in an unattainable reality to theirs. They are encouraged to objectify these idols of trash via weekly reality television shows, and then given the option to ridicule them via the covers of magazines.

It is truly horrible and ironically pretty vacant on so many levels of comprehension that it makes me want to weep.

I don't believe illusions
'cos too much is real
So stop your cheap comment
'cos we know what we feel

I'll definitely be giving my son a Clash album and an introduction to The Sex Pistols this year, as well as explaining that the only Kardashians he need ever know about, are the ones that feature in episodes of Star Trek.


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