The Lost Generation (a poem)

11:00 am - March 26th 2011

by Guest    

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contribution by Natalie

I’ve heard about them kids today
That they don’t stand a chance
They hang on streets and drag their feet
And look at you askance

And folks call them belligerent
And cite ASBOs as proof
Lamenting for a bygone age
Oh, disaffected yoof!

I’ve heard about them kids today
That they don’t have a hope
They’re on the brink of drugs and drink
They sit around and mope

And daytime chat and antiques shows
Provide little enjoyment
When towns are rife with trial and strife
And stinking unemployment

The papers and the radio
Say there’s no future for them
They’ll burn and yearn and even learn
But still there’s nothing more than

A refuse job, a retail job
Forget about career!
Just slog until the week is done
On Friday: have a beer

And so we all pack up our dreams
Work in administration
We hapless yobs, we hopeless sods
We long-lost generation

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The voice of yoof
It speaks the troof
In disaffected doggerel
Things haven’t been this rubbish
Since the days of Arfur Scoggerel.

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another’s throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don’t have any kids yourself.

Brilliant. Weekend fun with a serious point.

4. the a&e charge nurse

Kids with a hard luck story.

Who do we blame?

Parent’s who don’t know how to parent, or the tories …….. difficult?


Thanks for that BenSix. I had to dig out a recording of Larkin so that I could imagine how he would read it, with a touch of dismay or complaisance.

I get inspiration from Jenny Jones.

When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple
with a red hat that doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
and satin candles, and say we’ve no money for butter.

I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired
and gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
and run my stick along the public railings
and make up for the sobriety of my youth.

I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
and pick the flowers in other people’s gardens
and learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
and eat three pounds of sausages at a go
or only bread and pickles for a week
and hoard pens and pencils and beer nuts and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
and pay our rent and not swear in the street
and set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

More Philip Larkin relevant to the topic:-

I want to see them starving
The so-called working class
Their wages weekly halving
Their women stewing grass

@6 KB Player:

And the rest too.

When I go out each morning,
In one of my new suits,
I want to see them fawning
To clean my car and boots.

The angry man never looked comfortable in his new suits. But as you imply, the words are obnoxious.

I was going to post up “How to win the next election” as a counter-balance but that might be in too bad taste.

We have this poetry, people comparing Trafalgar Square with Tahrir Square and even Tiananmen Square – and of course this wonderful extract from Laurie Penny’s account of the student demos last autumn:

“”It’s scary, isn’t it?” I ask. The boy shrugs. “Yeah,” he says, “I suppose it is scary. But frankly…” He lights up, cradling the contraband fag, “frankly, it’s not half as scary as what’s happening to our future.””

Thank God we have the left here, in the most mawkish and hyperbolic manner possible, exposing the evil fascist dictatorship as they, er, cut spending back to 2007 levels.

@8. Parasite: “Thank God we have the left here, in the most mawkish and hyperbolic manner possible, exposing the evil fascist dictatorship as they, er, cut spending back to 2007 levels.”

Three threads have mentioned Philip Larkin. One poster observed that Larkin was not a perfect being. We talked around that imperfect awkward git.

Imperfect awkward git.

Poor kids, the public sector has guaranteed they will enjoy little else other than debt and punitvie rates of taxation. All because public sector workers are more ‘worthy’

@ 11 asquith

Hear, hear.

Can somebody arrange to have that poem nailed to the door of Nadine Dorries’ office?

@10 Tory

“….All because public sector workers are more ‘worthy’”

Of course. So much less worthy than those in the city and publicly owned banks earning telephone figure salaries and being given bonuses that would make Coresus gasp, for running their banks so successfully, and delivering such record growth, and making the world economy such a stable attractive place….

…. oh wait….

12. I’ve actually never heard a better summary of how I feel than that poem, which I didn’t write myself but seems to have been done with me in mind (even though it obviously wasn’t in a literal sense).

‘Of course. So much less worthy than those in the city and publicly owned banks ..’

Yes, everyone working in the productive sector of the economy is a banker or hedge fund manager.

Reminds me of Hazel O’Connor back in the day.


“the evil fascist dictatorship as they, er, cut spending back to 2007 levels.”

Hasn’t this bit of spin been sufficiently debunked yet? Overall spending is being cut to 2007 levels, yes. But by 2015, a significantly higher proportion of that spending will be taken up by pensions and debt interest. The level of spending on public services will be back at 1999 levels.

18. George McLean

@ 15. Tory

Yes, let’s divide up the proletariat! Down with the unproductive, parasitic, enervating, effete service sector that merely supports, trains and heals the real workers who sensibly make things for low wages and few holidays, and give in return for an entirely reasonable, if self-defined, profit for their bosses.

Quite a good a poem, i enjoyed it… B+

Why dont the kids have a chance i wonder? Well maybe its something to do with; the substandard homogenised education system forced upon them by generations of collectivist politicians and academics, the erosion of discipline at home and school and the self discipline that that encourages, the elevation of celebrity over skills and intelligence, the over subscription and resulting devaluation of our higher education system, the easy and widespread availability of recreational drugs and the disappearance of taboos associated with their use, the increase in immigration bringing in thousands of people into the jobs market who have 10 times the work ethic than the dross passed out by our education system and who would happily work for 5 times less if they had to, the massive sense of entitlement ingrained into us by 60 years of the welfare state pyramid scheme crippling our ability to stand on our own two feet and take responsibility for our own lifes and actions. Maybe its something to do with all of that?

All hope is not lost however, all our kids need to know is the Cantonese for ‘Could you please spare some change’ (??????????) and they should at least stand a chance.

Oh dear, the site doesnt support Chinese charaters, maybe all hope IS lost!

Hopeless, see only a future working for my dole
being a slave, that will be my role

Impoverished, exploited and humiliated
to make daily mail readers feel titilated,
and to make those with more money than they can count
an obscene amount

It fills them with much gladness
to see the weak and vulnerable consigned to a future of sadness

The tory supporters think they will pay less tax money
if they cut welfare till we can’t feed our tummies.

But by burning the safety net for those they so despise
they dont seem to realise

By colloborating with Dave
they are digging their own childrens graves

The middle class
will soon be a thing of the past

There will be just rich and poor
no middle class no more.

well with that demo, they just just lost….

Oh dear.

Transplant these cretins back to 1950’s Britain. Where there were no TV, no PC’s, no laptops, no Playstations, no ipods, no blu tray players, no ‘job seekers’ handouts.
Where every other patch of land was a bomb-site and you could still die from TB.

THEN bring them back and let’s see what sob story poem they scrawl out.

And as for the digs at a job in refuse collection…be glad you pompous windbag known as ‘Natalie’ that SOMEONE ‘lowers’ themselves to do that job.

Because if not, as you walked to your utterly pointless (paid for by the refuse collectors taxes) ‘Media Studies’ course…you might trip on a discarded bin bag and bruise your delicate skin.

why doesn’t this site support the Tories, its always full of lefties whining and moaning. Infact I am so annoyed I think I might leave a comment then have a flame war with some left wing liberal pc thug from this site. makes a whole lot of sense doncha think.

Haha… this semi-literate ‘poetry’ is desparate stuff. Every week, tens of thousands of Indian and Chinese students travel hundreds/thousands of miles to seek work or go to uni. They don’t feel sorry for themselves. They know that life is about hard work and that the world is indifferent to their ‘suffering’.

There is no lost generation, just a bunch of self-indulgent whiners too weak to cope with the reality of the globalised, competitive world we live in.

I’m getting to feel like Sally when right-wing trolls post on this site, it’s a left/liberal site and they wonder why it’s anti tory duh.
Ay, it want like that in my day, kids cleaned chimneys and went down the mines.
If you like the social values of third world countries why don’t you move there, I’ll be the first to contribute the to air fare.

A 10-year-old schoolgirl amputee has been told she is not disabled enough to receive benefits.

Olivia Porter lost her right leg below the knee after suffering meningitis in 2003. She has a prosthetic limb, but still struggles to walk.

The little girl – who lives with her aunt after her 21-year-old mum died in 2002 – had been given an allowance of £300 a month to pay for petrol to enable her aunt to drive her to hospital appointments.

But the benefit was stopped after officials called Olivia’s school to assess the severity of her disability.

Olivia’s aunt Sheryl Robertson, who also cares for Olivia’s sisters Beth, 13, and Georgia, 12, as well as her own two children, said: ‘I’m being told Olivia is not disabled enough to qualify for the allowance. It’s diabolical. How disabled do you have to be? She can’t catch a ball or ride a bike.I am outraged the decision was made after the Department for Work and Pensions phoned Olivia’s teacher.’

be nice to see a bit of a compassion coming back, sadly this was done under a Labour government.

28. the a&e charge nurse

[27] as you say, ATOS was a wheeze introduced by NuLab and has been described as a “disability denial factory”

ATOS are currently recruiting more staff to help meet government targets to force more people off benefits. The Government plans to cut £2.5 billion from ESA and to limit ESA benefit to just one year

Incidentally, one respected bloggers is touting a binman as more worthy than most of our politicos – perhaps that’s hardly surprising given that one legged 10 year olds are now being hounded by private providers?

I like that fulminating Tories hold the views that (a) bad parenting, bad education and bad popular culture have been screwing up young minds and (b) the youth have never have it so good. Er…

As one disaffected, overeducated yoof in the gutter of the temping industry: hear, hear!

Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    The Lost Generation (a poem)

  2. Sam Lansallos

    RT @libcon: The Lost Generation (a poem)

  3. Greg Sheppard

    RT @libcon: The Lost Generation (a poem)

  4. sarah ismail

    @chelleajohnson The Lost Generation (a poem) | Liberal Conspiracy via @libcon Reminds me of ur Millenials!

  5. Nat Guest

    RT @libcon: The Lost Generation (a poem)

  6. Nat Guest

    A poem wot I wrot is up on Liberal Conspiracy. The comments call me a "pompous windbag" 🙂 #lostgeneration

  7. Nat Guest

    If you missed it last night – there's a poem I wrote up on the Liberal Conspiracy blog

  8. Mari Elliott

    RT @unfortunatalie: If you missed it last night – there's a poem I wrote up on the Liberal Conspiracy blog

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