In this series of blogs we will be publishing some of the best loved articles from our back issues. This essay was first printed in Issue Two, in 1993. It was written by Gavin Hills, who penned many articles for early issues of the Idler as well as brilliant writing for skate magazine RaD and The Face. Gavin Hills accidentally drowned in 1997. He was 31. Here is a short piece about him by Sheryl Garratt for The Observer.
I HAVE SOME OPINIONS.
I THINK EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE ENOUGH TO EAT.
I THINK PEOPLE ARE ENTITLED TO A ROOF ABOVE THEIRT HEADS.
I THINK PEACE IS A LOT BETTER THAN WAR AND WE SHOULD ALL TRY TO RESPECT EACH OTHER MORE.
I THINK THAT THE INEQUALITY OF WEALTH IS UNJUST AND OBSCENE.
I THINK THAT GUERNICA BY PICASSO IS A STRONG AND EMOTIVE PIECE OF GREAT ART AND THAT HOMER SIMPSON IS A HERO OF OUR TIME.
AND WHAT? THIS ISN’T A JOKE. I’M NOT BEING IRONIC. I REALLY HONESTLY HOLD THESE THINGS TO BE DEAR.
LIKE YOU GIVE A SHIT?
We live in soulless times. Whenever I read something, I want to write “So fucking what?” at the end of it. Hippies are wankers. New Age travellers are scum. Ravers suck. So fucking what? Tell me something I don’t know. Give me some answers. The quest for answers, the push for a better future, is stuck in the age of post-modernism and its bastard son, irony. I tell you what post-modernism is: it’s the fact that popular culture has triumphed and that Phil Collins is on Lady Di’s Walkman. It’s the fact that the educate elite who attend the top universities now want to be hip. It’s theses on Blade Runner, not Blake. It’s discussions on Acid Jazz instead of Trollope. It’s bollocks, that’s what it is.
Today you mustn’t have opinions – that would leave you exposed. You have irony instead. Irony is the safety net used by those who know they can never be hip. It’s used by those who are embarrassed by their class and education. Those officers who hide in the trenches examining the arseholes of all those Tommies who go over the top.
Watch these spineless times. Whenever I see The Late Show, or any other of those wanky highbrow shows we all pretend we don’t watch, I want to shout “How does that help pensioners living in poverty?!” And now a discussion on blah, blah, yackity schmackity. First thought: what clever things would I say if I was on the panel? Second thought: hang on, how does this help pensioners living in poverty? Just shut the fuck up and give me some substance or I’ll break your poxy red glasses and chop off your ridiculous poodle haircut with a blunt scythe.
There are some people on missions. Relics from the past. Bastard hippie wankers on a mission. They see their job as “exposing hypocrisy”. Fair play to them. I just don’t know who they’re supposed to be exposing this hypocrisy to. Cynicism is endemic. We all know politicians lie, governments kill and cheat. We all know this is a charade. Let’s find a way out, let’s search for the answers.
We’re all under anaesthetic. Why is is that most current writers have life experience zero? The most traumatic moment of their lives appears to be crying at Bambi in 1976. Taken heroin have we? Travelled on a train with some football hooligans? Had it up the tradesman’s entrance? Spare me a lemon and your tales of muted degradation.
Guerenica equal to Schwarznegger? You must be joking. Self-obsession; curse of our age. Don’t tell me your problems unless they are your problems.
Do what you can when you can. Don’t be afraid to be a hypocrite. Take your skidded boxer shorts off, turn them inside out and run them up the flag pole. There is hope because there are answers. The answers lie somewhere in the redistributions of wealth and people being nice to each other. Whereabouts I’m not sure, but I know where they’re not. Up your jacksy – that’s where they’re not. Perhaps Homer Simpson has them. Politics? Nah!
Where lies happiness?
IN A GOLDEN LAND JUST OVER THE HORIZON.
MILK AND HONEY BLESSED.
FORWARD TO ITS GATES.
ONWARD TO VICTORY.
LET THE FIGHT NOT CEASE.
AND THE SWORD NOT REST.