Sunday, 21 June 2009

Britney Spears, the baby-boom and my pension

Readers of the blog will be familiar with Gombeen Man’s struggle to move house, which has been going on for many years now. The sad thing is, although first-time buyer homes have dropped from the Beverly Hills prices of a couple of years ago (and still have some way to go, I’ll wager), it appears that anyone with a somewhat “grawnder” house in Dublin 15 seems to think we are still in 2006 – the height of the boom.

So, in a bold move, I’ve been looking to buy closer to my roots near town. There was a nice little place in Ringsend which attracted my attention, so being familiar enough with the area many years back, off I went to check it out.

With that in mind, I turned off Bridge Street (Ringer’s main street) onto Thorncastle Street, where clusters of Ringsend’s less socially adjusted denizens used to gather in the distant past – if only to shout abuse/throw things at an embryonic Gombeen Man as he went through the territory on his Vespa scooter in his mod days.

Imagine my surprise when I was confronted not with a hostile gathering of ne’er-do-wells, but a battalion of advancing Britney Spears lookalikes – every one of them vying to outdo their heroine in the economy of their apparel.

After the palpitations had eased, it occurred that the surreal phenomenon was only a temporary one, being the result of a concert by Ms Spears in the nearby O2 arena, and not a result of a radical shift in the social demographic of Ringsend. But I still looked at the house, all the same.

Which brings us on to demographics. Britney Spears, like the rest of us, has gotten older and matured (relatively speaking) with her fans, who ten years ago had just put down their Barbies. It’s a necessary part of the pop star’s career – move with the times, re-invent, and avoid having to pick up an early pension.

But what about the teeny-boppers of the future? It seems in Ireland there will be no shortage of this commodity. Ireland’s population of young children is the highest of any country in the EU, according to last week’s CSO survey. 7.4% of our population were four years old or under, and 6.9% were aged between five and nine, concentrated mainly in the commuter belt of Dublin.

So what awaits them in the Ireland of the future? What are the Government's responsibilities? For one, it is incumbent on the authorities to break the habit of the State’s lifetime, and ensure that each of these children (15% of under-four’s families are new arrivals in our country) are given access to relevant, inclusive and effective English-language-medium education.

This is particulary important given successive governments’ failure to tackle their long-standing record of educational disadvantage in working class areas, where one-third of children are reported to have “severe” literacy problems. If young people leave school able to read and write, they might have some hope of functioning to the best of their potential in an economic and a social context.

That would mean that those of us who aren’t Britney Spears might have some kind of pension to fall back on when our working careers come to an end.

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Anonymous said...

jaysusGM for a minute i thought you were moving to beverly hills with britney, but ringsend has nice ring to it, many upmarket manors with wellmannered natives i suppose lucky you, have you considered drumcondra at all, on my trip to spain and portugal i made so many friends so many really real oirish pubs every day was like st patricks day ,the lads from senegal and gambia etc were facinated with oirland i must have invited 20000 to come over, i advised them to locate in drumcodra for its warm mini climate and sunny people and F-F SUPPORTERS ,just doing my bit for the auld sod ,some of the lads were a bit concerned about the gombeen gubbermint, and oirlands junk credit rating , others worried about the crime curruption and vulgarity amongst the business class ,so if you see tall dark strangers around DRUMCONDRA selling sun glasses and hadbags say hello they are friends of mine -- adois from my perch in beverly hills

The Gombeen Man said...

Hello there Mr BH.

Well done on doing the ambassador bit for our lovely little country when on hols in Spain and Port. I hope your friends won't be too disappointed when they get here, as there's even a higher concentration of shysters around the Drumcondra region than elsewhere in Dublin, I think! And let's not forget the northsiders who voted for CJ, election after election.

Re Britney, despite spending a couple of days and evenings loitering around the Point Depot under the pretext of househunting, sadly I was not whisked away out of this kip by Ms Spears for a new life in Beverly Hills! Maybe you might put in a word for me there?

Adios amigo!

Lew said...

I liked Britney when she first appeared, however now she is nothing but an overpaid spoilt bit*h.

What right has she got charging a fortune to get into see her in concerts and then just MIME to the the songs?
If people wanted to see that they can see it anywhere and for free (or even do it themselves)

Why on earth are girls these days SO gullible they hear her name and dont see anything other than "star"?
it they even thought for 5 seconds a better name would be "washed up star" or "a has been"

Sorry ranting at the moment, its 4:48 am and I'm totally bored, cant sleep because I've a chest infection (along with everything else wrong with me) and if I try and lay down I just end up choking.

Anyone know anywhere to get body transplants yet? I'd love a nice healthy one :)

The Gombeen Man said...

Ranting is fine, Lew. Sure don't I do it myself once in a while?

On the transplant front, I'd be happy to once again have a pair of knees that bend, so any info gratefully accepted!