Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Compulsory random life obsolescence

By Andrew Culture

Copenhagen_Denmark--_ASL8558_August 16, 2009

Ah coffee! The eyes may be the windows of the soul, but coffee shop frontages are the windows of society. Or should that be windows onto society? I guess nobody will know for sure, not anyone born in the last sixty years anyway, not anyone who was churned through the public schools system after it was privatised.

As soon as the corporations took over education the cutbacks started: Latin was already long gone and it didn’t take long for other severe cuts to follow. By the time I started high school (some forty years after ‘the cuts’) Starbucks owned every good school in my sector, and lessons like home economics were a distant memory. I guess it didn’t make sense to the CEO of my school (all those years ago) to teach kids how to feed themselves; the shareholders would see that as commercially damaging.

Nobody really minded by then anyway – my granddad sometimes goes all misty eyed and mumbles on about how every house in his quadrant used to have a kitchen, and how people used to prepare their own food at home, but it all sounds like a real chore and terribly unhygienic to me. Since all chain food became tax deductable and the taxes on seeds and tools went sky high I don’t see why anyone would be willing to bankrupt themselves just to chow down on some horribly dirt caked wonky vegetables.

The link between brand loyalty and longevity is well established now, it’s the reason I’m sat in Starbucks right now, speaking to you. You’re born a brand, you live branded and you die a brand. It’s how we tell each other apart. Granddad told me that his friends used to joke about the type of people that used shops like Aldi, but since the Stock Exchange brought in brand aware social separation I’m sure everyone is happier. It’s certainly cheaper for society to be separated this way.

The next subject to be dropped by the investment group who owned Starbucks (and most of the other schools ‘investors’) was history. This all happened way before my time, and it’s somewhat ironic that even although history was dropped to stifle the developing minds of children – so they wouldn’t grow into questioning meddling adults – I seem to know so much, well I have a dark secret. I’ve been reading. I know we’re not supposed to read anything outside of our brand demographic but I can’t be the only one who dares to deviate? I’m risking being declared unclean if I’m ever caught. I know being Starbucks decides what literature I read, but I’ve rebelled – I’ve been reading at Waitrose level, and I know a few things about the history of ‘the cuts’ that would chill your blood to the bone implants.

I guess without risking everything by defying my demographic (unlikely, Starbucks FTW) and continuing my research I’ll never know for sure, but I’ve got an inkling that the ‘cut-backs’ were something to do with banks. The legend is that when my Granddad was a boy the banks nearly destroyed the world, and instead of letting them become extinct something called ‘Government’ rescued them, and using non-corporation money they rescued the banks a total of seven times.

The symptoms of the first rescue were subtle; pot plants disappeared from public service offices, a few road sweepers were set free. By the time of the third rescue a not for profit organisation (yeah, weird huh?) that existed purely for putting out fires was closed.

The fifth rescue was when birth control was taken out of the hands of individuals.

It wasn’t until the sixth rescue that C.R.L.O (compulsory random life obsolescence) was introduced. Hell, that was so long ago now that I doubt many people can comprehend a world where everyone was allowed to grow old and die naturally. In fact I can barely comprehend the fact that some people still try and resist it even now. Even as I look out of this Starbucks window I can see a couple of C.R.L.O operatives pulling some old duffer out of a branch of Halifax Pharmaceutical Delicatessen and into one of their cheery bright green vans. There’s a couple of idiot Tesco kids pointing and laughing, I guess they’re too young to know that C.R.L.O comes early for their brand.

Me, well I don’t let these things trouble me – I live life to the full, that’s why I’m going to order another Ultra-Grande and sit back and enjoy the show. I love C.R.L.O’s chaser Tuesdays.

Copenhagen_Denmark--_ASL8413_August 15, 2009