Yesterday in our office Bev, Cheryl and I agreed that living in poverty* is a good thing because it stops us from buying too much alcohol! I noticed in Montenegro that it is not at all a bad thing not to have much money. The Manic Street Preachers use the line, “We love the winter, it brings us closer together.” in their number one hit The Masses Against The Classes**. That is so true from what I have seen in Montenegro. The main source of heating in Rada’s family’s home is a wood stove in the living area. It is very cold there so people need to be in that room to keep warm. As a result people spend all there time with other people and not isolated in their own little room or space.
I don’t think it is just the cold that brings people together. I observe in life that it is tough times in general:
- Although things are changing fast, when I first went to Montenegro there were not the luxuries that we would take for granted in Britain and so the nation is built on culture that is not entertainment driven and sees the entirety of people’s spare time spent visiting and talking with families and friends.
- The ONLY time you will get English strangers speaking to each other is when things go wrong.
- I’m reading Whiteteeth by Zadie Smith at the moment and Archie and Samad’s relationship turns into a friendship when they are isolated and cut off from the entirety of the British allies.
- It is not unusual for people to turn to God only when things are going wrong.
In conclusion, I think one of the problems with the capitalist consumerist society we live in is that, although people get incredibly depressed and economically things are tough at the moment we don’t have that foundation of truely pulling together. This really needs to change otherwise I see there will be a stark increase in family breakdown, depression, suicide, additction etc. as people stuggle to cope with this world which doesn’t seem to be changing in favour of Western society.
Dreary thoughts on a dull wintry day? Read tomorrow to perk up.
*Poverty meaning not living like the media tells us we all should be living
** This was the first number one of the 21st century I do believe. I remember being incredibly excited (aged 17) being driven over to Plant Life in Manchester on the Sunday evening listening to the chart show as they knocked Westlife’s ‘I Have Dream’ off the Christmas pedestal.