Driftwood 9 10

Driftwood 9 10

In between panel 6 and 7, Willie goes to the bathroom, brushes her teeth and washes her face. As evidenced very subtly by the fact that the paint is gone from her brow, as you will see next week in the next page … This is technically not a story where nobody ever goes to the bathroom, but I guess usually very little that would be interesting plot-wise ever happens to people while they are in the bathroom. :o/

* * *

Most of the interior decoration in their flat is based on the house where I spent my first years. I suppose it would make sense, since they moved to this flat and got most of the furniture around the time when my family moved into that house, or a bit earlier, and there would be wallpaper from the 70′s left from the previous tenants.

I don’t have many photos from that house (I have to scan some next time I visit mum!), but I posted a couple many years ago on my old Livejournal. Our kitchen had cabinets with orange-yellow doors and white shelves, and dark green appliances. The kitchen wallpaper was striped brown, beige and white (that typical 70′s “bamboo” kind).

* * *

In my research efforts on Newcastle and Gateshead, I’ve been watching a rather disturbing BBC reality TV show called “Geordie Finishing School for Girls”. Four pampered upper class girls have to survive one week on the equivalent of unemployment benefits, complete tasks related to working class life under the supervision of four working class girls their age, and get to know working class life in general.

I heard about the show because a Geordie YouTube person (whose videos I watch to study the accent) complained about how it made Newcastle look really bad. Now that I’ve seen the show that seems like a bizarre reaction.¬†If I was a “posh” person like her I would rather get upset about how the four upper class girls make their class look bad by being so naive and prejudiced (especialls Steph – I really want to punch her in the face sometimes when she refuses to understand that life is very different if your parents aren’t rich and influential like hers, and that people who are unemployed actually¬†aren’t just “lazy” and overly sensitive about getting rejected hundreds of times when they apply for jobs, or when she is “mildly skeptical” about where poorer people would get the money for toasters and Blackberries) … Oh well.

While the show is of course overly dramatized for the sake of “good TV”, it makes it clear many times that the “rough” neighbourhoods they visit aren’t the norm for all of Newcastle, and that there are plenty of “posh” areas too, like in any other UK city. The working class girls in the show are really lovely people, and the supposedly “rough” areas shown don’t seem terribly bad to me at all. (But maybe that rather says something about my own class identity …?!)

In any case, it’s particularly interesting to watch the show against the backdrop of the riots across the UK these days. Through its own little facet it shows how the society in the UK is extremely divided, and what an enormous gap there is between rich and poor. (As for why that is so, see this note I wrote today.)

Discussion (3)¬

  1. Marc Raab says:

    Holy cow – I never made the connection between unemployment and economic growth. And although I am no conspiracy theorist, I would have to believe (after the banking failures of the last few years) that a small number of incredibly greedy people would have no problem manipulating the system for their own short-term gain at the expense of posterity. I guess this could in some way just be considered the way capitalism works?

    Also, I am in awe of your storytelling details. All those little things make this the most ‘real’ comic I currently read. I used to live in an apartment complex in West Berlin (with my parents and five siblings!), and the layout and details of Willy’s place remind me of that little place quite a bit.

    Thanks for such a great story and comic!

  2. Tinet says:

    Well, I assume that some of the people who control these processes honestly believe that what they are doing is for the overall benefit of everybody, or at least the majority. :o/

    Aww, thank you! V^(oo)^V
    The layout of the flat is actually just a result of my wild imagination, since I don’t know what these flats actually look like (but based a little bit on similar housing estates that I’ve lived in or visited). The Chandless estate was built in the early 1960′s, and from what I know about the architecture of that period, the actual flats might have a more “open” layout. Hmmm.

  3. Ilmari says:

    “I assume that some of the people who control these processes honestly believe that what they are doing is for the overall benefit of everybody, or at least the majority.”

    I used to think they were just ignorant like that, but now I’m more of a mind that its a process of wilful self-deception.

    Newcastle certainly has its swanky suburbs, its just the association with mining and industry it can’t shake. Gateshead even more so, and it doesn’t help that it was given a lot of horrid brutalist architecture (as opposed to neoclassical Newcastle). I understand they’ve been getting rid of some of that, though. :)


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