A Message To Millennials
According to a series of major US surveys, teens are increasingly swearing off alcohol, cigarettes, dope and prescription painkillers. Millennials are taking their cues from their Baby Boomer folks, those born between 1946 and 1964 who are veterans of the sexual and psychedelic revolutions of the 1960s and 70s.
Apparently this is to do with the new generation talking more openly with their battle-scarred parents. There have been several very long and rather boring articles in the press about how wonderful the Millennials are. In my experience they can also be incredibly touchy, needy and thin-skinned.
So I’m going to address the Millennials who read this blog (both of them).
Yes, you. Look up from your iPads and walkie-phones for a moment, you won’t find any Pokemon down there.
I mean, what was the point of me having to go on gay rights rallies and getting pissed in roller discos if you lot were going to throw it all away? Why did I have to live through an era when getting high meant drinking Watney’s Red Barrel and a bottle of cough mixture just so you could AirB&B to Amsterdam for your weed?
Do you know how early those anti-Vietnam parades used to start? There were outfits to get together and banners to paint – we couldn’t just digitally print them onto T-shirts and sell them in ironic pop-ups like you. Do you have any idea how many of us got lost along the way through war, drugs and sex? You just lose the occasional one taking a selfie on a clifftop.
We lived through eras where you wouldn’t have posted a photo of your dinner unless you wanted to feel ashamed. ‘Brown Windsor Soup’? ‘Gammon Hawaiian’? Two types of coffee (black or white), three TV channels, a trimphone that sat on a telephone table in the hall? You have an app that tells you where you can get craft beer 24/7. We had to wait for the Dog & Duck to open.
So drop that whiny sense of entitlement. You can meet partners on a hundred different apps. We had to fill in a compatibility form on the back of Private Eye suggesting that a lifelong partnership could be built around a mutual liking for table-tennis. You have cloud-computing laptops. We thought the K-Tel Soda Maker was high tech. You got stuff we didn’t; mainly top-knots and tattoos in misspelled Tibetan.
You can have birthday parties in Prague and Paris. We had Benidorm. You can go to work without a tie – or socks. We had Tootal jackets that came with a matching hankie sewn in. We couldn’t use the BOMAD because M didn’t have a B! Do you know how complicated it was to go through reel-to-reel, vinyl, cassettes, 8-tracks, beta and VHS before reaching streaming?
Big deal, so you’re poor now because we got grants to go to college and you got debts. And after just two years of work we could afford to buy a flat in Covent Garden or Soho, while you’ll be living on your old man’s couch until you’re 30 (40 if you’re Italian). You got self-harming and low self-esteem. We had Saturday night fights and self-confidence. And we got pensions, cool fashion, great bands, cheap prices and proper adult movies without cartoon pandas. You got Autotune, DC films, the £3 coffee and Adele. We had exotic countries with different cultures and no American junk-food outlets, and circus lions, and normal weather. And we talked to each other without anyone saying ‘Actually, I don’t think that’s appropriate.’
Millennials, I’d start drinking and smoking dope fast if I were you.