Dear Dave – Re: Britons being better off

Dear Dave

Have you got five minutes? Thanks.

You keep telling us there are positive signs that Britons are better off and there is no cost of living crisis. Take home pay is apparently increasing, in part thanks to an increase in the personal allowance (oh how you make me chuckle when you take credit for that) and we’re all apparently much better off. Phew.

With my 2% salary increase and the new £10,000 personal allowance, I’m taking home an extra £21.84 a month compared to last year. Score! The thing is, my rent is increasing by £12.75 a month, having already been increased by £23.18 p/m last year, and Council Tax is increasing by 2.5%. And I don’t even have any figures for the various household bills and our monthly bus passes, oh, and there’s food too, but let’s face it – they’re not going to decrease, are they? Also, my Tax Credits appear to have dropped by £36 per month, but I won’t even try to understand those figures, because they baffle even my brainiest friends.

Now, I failed my 11+ and am a bit thick compared to you and your lovely well-educated cabinet, but I think I can still do the maths. Would you mind asking George to quickly cross-check on his abacus for me? He got a considerable drop in my disposable income since 2010, too? Thought so.

Now my situation isn’t desperate – at least I have a job (even if I have taken consecutive pay cuts with every job I’ve had since being made redundant in 2001). We even still have treats, like Netflix, and the odd cinema trip (and lord knows I love a latte). Oh, but we did have to give up the car last year, and it’s been a few years since our last holiday (mind you, I’ve almost paid off the credit card balance that incurred – yay!). So, forgive me, but I do feel a little bit like I’m wading through toffee.

Could you get back to me and explain how our standard or living has improved under your government? Thanks loads, I appreciate it.

Yours sincerely





Grrrr, Record Store Day

A few years ago I went to my first Record Store Day. I dropped the boy off at his Dad’s, made my way into Big Leeds, and landed at Jumbo and Crash to find everything that appealed to me had sold out. And the items I was less passionate, but still curious about cost me a fucking fortune. At the time I was ignorant to the exclusivity of it all, and that many punters, rather like the ones I “WTF?!” at when they queue outside Next at 4am on Boxing Day, had been queuing since the early hours.

This morning my Twitter feed was full of “Sold Out!” five minutes after the shops had opened, such was the frenzy (comparable, I suspect, to Take That fans on heat when tickets go on sale).  And then my feed fills with people boasting about their purchases. Record Store Day is a minefield of one-upmanship and “naa na na naa na!”. And yes, I am bitterly jealous. Of course I’d love to buy Liars on clear vinyl with wool in it – their new album is ace, and I love a bit of pretty vinyl. But I know there’s no point competing, it’s all way out of my league. Half the stuff will be on ebay later today, already inflated prices through the roof, because it’s not so much about supporting your local record shop as profiteering. I blame Frankie Goes to Hollywood, they started it. Tossers.

David CassidyOne woman tweeted “As a parent one of the most important things I can do is teach my children to fall in love with vinyl”.  She was apparently being facetious amid the throng of people harping on about their purchases. I replied that I can’t afford to indulge RSD, physically or financially. And do you know what? I actually don’t give a shit whether my kid appreciates vinyl or not – he’s of the generation that’s more inclined to listen to music via the internet. I’d rather he enjoyed music for the music, not the format. I also know people who have gone out of their way to engineer what their child’s first record was, just so they’ll sound cool when they have that conversation with music lovers as an adult. What a load of wank. Aged around three my son wanted Chico’s “It’s Chico Time” – perfectly normal pop fun for a toddler, and I fully supported his McFly phase, who he saw live more times that I saw Fugazi. On the rare occasion we visit a record shop together, my son will probably buy some Dub Step and I’ll come out with a Rites of Spring reissue. He’s a teenager and I’m a middle aged Mum – this is the natural order of the universe.

As a parent, one of the most important things I can do is let my son find his own pop-culture joys, not indoctrinate him. And forgo over-priced elitist RSD releases when it’s a toss up between that or a new pair of school shoes.

By the way, my first record was David Cassidy – suck it, hipsters.