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Coming Up For Air

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The following excerpt is certainly worth a read if you a have a spare 15 mins.

http://www.george-orwell.org/Coming_up_for_Air/1.html

Something cheered me up from reading it recently; I guess knowing that I am free from all this house price slavery, and realising that nothing ever changes. Those that tell me I haven't got the balls to buy a house, and that I am less of a man for not doing would certainly not find it quite as enjoable to read however - but it's all a matter of choice in the end.

Something tells me Orwell would have been a fine HPC contributor if he were alive today!

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"A chap like me is incapable of looking like a gentleman.

Even if you saw me at two hundred yards' distance you'd

know immediately--not, perhaps, that I was in the insurance

business, but that I was some kind of tout or salesman.

'Five to ten quid a week', you'd say as soon as you saw me. Economically

and socially I'm about at the average level of Ellesmere Road."

http://www.foxtons.co.uk/property-for-sale...ark/chpk0270678

How things change...

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"A chap like me is incapable of looking like a gentleman.

Even if you saw me at two hundred yards' distance you'd

know immediately--not, perhaps, that I was in the insurance

business, but that I was some kind of tout or salesman.

'Five to ten quid a week', you'd say as soon as you saw me. Economically

and socially I'm about at the average level of Ellesmere Road."

http://www.foxtons.co.uk/property-for-sale...ark/chpk0270678

How things change...

wow, just a bit! - I'm thinking Orwell would have had a lot to say about the average working class affordable home/debt-trap in todays market!

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The following excerpt is certainly worth a read if you a have a spare 15 mins.

http://www.george-orwell.org/Coming_up_for_Air/1.html

Something cheered me up from reading it recently; I guess knowing that I am free from all this house price slavery, and realising that nothing ever changes. Those that tell me I haven't got the balls to buy a house, and that I am less of a man for not doing would certainly not find it quite as enjoable to read however - but it's all a matter of choice in the end.

Something tells me Orwell would have been a fine HPC contributor if he were alive today!

Very good. Is the rest of it worth reading? I've being trying to avoid the slow death of debt, marriage and children all my life and have managed to stay relatively free thus far. Liked the bit about the 'proles' not worrying about getting the sack at night. In away they live a better life, living for today.

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Very good. Is the rest of it worth reading? I've being trying to avoid the slow death of debt, marriage and children all my life and have managed to stay relatively free thus far. Liked the bit about the 'proles' not worrying about getting the sack at night. In away they live a better life, living for today.

So far, so good - I'm not through yet, but found myself re-reading that passage a few times over, so thought I'd share.

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Very good. Is the rest of it worth reading? I've being trying to avoid the slow death of debt, marriage and children all my life and have managed to stay relatively free thus far. Liked the bit about the 'proles' not worrying about getting the sack at night. In away they live a better life, living for today.

I'm a fan of Orwell's journalism primarily but I think "Coming Up For Air" is under-rated and actually his best novel by some distance.

[And EVERYONE should read Down And Out In Paris And London, still relevant today. When people start saying everyone gets 50k a year or they are bone-idle or whatever, I'm often reminded of it, for example the way cold sums about minimal amounts of money needed to live never work out that way in real life, the indignity of unemployment etc.]

Edited by Cogs

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I'm a fan of Orwell's journalism primarily but I think "Coming Up For Air" is under-rated and actually his best novel by some distance.

[And EVERYONE should read Down And Out In Paris And London, still relevant today. When people start saying everyone gets 50k a year or they are bone-idle or whatever, I'm often reminded of it, for example the way cold sums about minimal amounts of money needed to live never work out that way in real life, the indignity of unemployment etc.]

Yes, Down And Out In Paris And London is a work of genius. I suggest the audio book for those without time or incination to read it.

Edited by Saving For a Space Ship

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Yes, Down And Out In Paris And London is a work of genius. I suggest the audio book for those without time or incination to read it.

I don't know if its available anywhere, but there was a superb adaptation of it on Radio 4's "Classic Serial" broadcast around Easter this year. Best thing I've heard on radio in quite some time (I know in this thread I'm sounding easily impressed but generally I'm a miserable old so and so). What was interesting about it was that it treated Orwell as what he was, a public schoolboy who'd been around a bit but was still relatively inexperienced, and of course there are also questions about whether he was merely a "tourist" that the contemporary reader would feel a little uneasy about...so it treats him as a character in the story as well. It also reverses a few of the adjustments to reality Orwell made in the manuscript, but not all of them.

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I don't know if its available anywhere, but there was a superb adaptation of it on Radio 4's "Classic Serial" broadcast around Easter this year. Best thing I've heard on radio in quite some time (I know in this thread I'm sounding easily impressed but generally I'm a miserable old so and so). What was interesting about it was that it treated Orwell as what he was, a public schoolboy who'd been around a bit but was still relatively inexperienced, and of course there are also questions about whether he was merely a "tourist" that the contemporary reader would feel a little uneasy about...so it treats him as a character in the story as well. It also reverses a few of the adjustments to reality Orwell made in the manuscript, but not all of them.

Sounds interesting, I didn't initially realise the whole of 'Down And Out In Paris And London' was available free to read at the op's link

http://www.george-orwell.org/Down_and_Out_...d_London/0.html

It's been years since I read it, but I particularly recall a story of a miserly, evil old pawn broker (or similar) shoving some snooker balls in a poor starving customers hands instead of money or something useful, hoping he would accept it / not notice & go away.

I worked at a charity at the site of 'the Spike' in Peckham (as mentioned in th book) , most of which was turned into housing, so it's close to my heart for that reason.

The part about the lack of sex life for tramps is sad, as ladies would not touch then for their lack of social status in particular. I think he recalled only ever seeing one lady tramp.

Reminds me of the Bill Hicks sketch were he talks about 'ladies, go f..k the homeless' I paraphrase, but he says 'when you talk to a tramp and say they became a bum as some girl broke their heart, its up to you girls to get them out of it, go f..k a bum. ;)

Couldn't find it online, but did find this gem from Bill Hicks about the homeless in New York:

"I'm from Houston, Texas originally, I moved up here a year ago. The first thing I noticed when I came here was the homeless situation.

Now I'm no bleeding heart, okay? But . . . when you're walking down the streets of New York and you step over someone who might be dead do you ever stop to think, 'wow, maybe our system doesn't work.' Does that push a memory bubble up out of you? If there was only a couple of bums I'd think 'well, they're just fvckin' bums,' but there's THOUSANDS of these guys. I'm running a bum hurdle down the street.

It's the hundred yard bum hurdle.

"gotanymoneygotanymoneygotanymoneygotanymoney? I tipped that last bum but I didn't tip him over. Okay, that hurdle counts.

"Some of these guys look healthy but they're just bums. The very idea. They want me to just give them the hard earned money my folks send to me every week. "You leech. Get a job, my dad works eight hours a day for this money."

"You ever get those bums that turn mental on you? "Sorry, I don't got any money."

"MOTHERFVCKER!" "Wo wo, where's my checkbook? Hold on. Is that Mr. Bum? How do I make it out? Is that Capital Vagrant? I didn't know you were psycho, definitely wasn't your personality that put you on the street was it?"

With another guy, he said, "Thanks a lot, buddy. You don't know what it's like to be broke!" I said, "Yeah I do, that's why I work. I know exactly what it's like. You sleep on the pavement, you dig through the garbage for food and you bum money from strangers. Am I right?"

"That is what I do."

"I feel sorry for these guys because I don't know why they're bums. Nobody every asks them. "What are you doing? Why are you digging through the garbage."

"You got a quarter?"

"Hey, for that same quarter I can get that bum to squeegee my window. I'm going to comparatively bum shop. I want the most for my bum quarter, and I want a receipt. That's how you get rid of them. Get a receipt.

"Some people say, "Don't give him any money, it's probably for drugs and alcohol"

"Yeah. You've never been a junkie then. Drugs are pretty important to a drug addict."

"God damn right it's for drugs, lady! And if you don't give it to me I'm going to cut out your fvckin' heart and eat it front of you."

"Well, if you put it that way." Ding.

"Thank you."

Edited by Saving For a Space Ship

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I've read most of Orwell's books and Coming up for Air is an little-known gem IMHO. A lot of the book is about how the central character returns to the place where he grew up, to find that it's unrecognisable. It's a forlorn lament at how Britain was changing and becoming tawdry and commercialised.

Much of what we think of as postwar Britain was actually laid down in the 1930s, especially in London suburbs. It was the first time there was really mass advertising (broadcast and otherwise) and also it saw the beginnings of the white-collar tuberiding office worker class (also satirised in Keep the Aspidistra Flying). There was a huge home-ownership frenzy and lots of dodgy dealing by mortgage companies and developers (often in cahoots with each other).

frug.

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I've read most of Orwell's books and Coming up for Air is an little-known gem IMHO. A lot of the book is about how the central character returns to the place where he grew up, to find that it's unrecognisable. It's a forlorn lament at how Britain was changing and becoming tawdry and commercialised.

Much of what we think of as postwar Britain was actually laid down in the 1930s, especially in London suburbs. It was the first time there was really mass advertising (broadcast and otherwise) and also it saw the beginnings of the white-collar tuberiding office worker class (also satirised in Keep the Aspidistra Flying). There was a huge home-ownership frenzy and lots of dodgy dealing by mortgage companies and developers (often in cahoots with each other).

frug.

Indeed, reading Orwell really makes you realise that some things never change. Here's a passage from 1984 that I always find uncanny.

In reality very little was known about the proles. It was not necessary to know much. So long as they continued to work and breed, their other activities were without importance. Left to themselves, like cattle turned loose upon the plains of Argentina, they had reverted to a style of life that appeared to be natural to them, a sort of ancestral pattern. They were born, they grew up in the gutters, they went to work at twelve, they passed through a brief blossoming-period of beauty and sexual desire, they married at twenty, they were middle-aged at thirty, they died, for the most part, at sixty. Heavy physical work, the care of home and children, petty quarrels with neighbours, films, football, beer, and above all, gambling, filled up the horizon of their minds. To keep them in control was not difficult. A few agents of the Thought Police moved always among them, spreading false rumours and marking down and eliminating the few individuals who were judged capable of becoming dangerous; but no attempt was made to indoctrinate them with the ideology of the Party. It was not desirable that the proles should have strong political feelings. All that was required of them was a primitive patriotism which could be appealed to whenever it was necessary to make them accept longer working-hours or shorter rations. And even when they became discontented, as they sometimes did, their discontent led nowhere, because being without general ideas, they could only focus it on petty specific grievances. The larger evils invariably escaped their notice.
Edited by Bear Goggles

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