Monday, 27 July 2009
My first duty was and continuing duty is to register one of the Lower School forms. I have been blessed with a wonderful year 7 class, who make me use a lot of energy first thing every Thursday morning. After registering them, I usually play games like 'Heads Down Thumbs Up' and 'Hangman'. Walking to their form room was a cautious task, while it looked like the corridors were clear to me, I had forgotten that year 7's are only about four feet tall and have tendencies to dart out of nowhere and run straight into you, especially in the dinner queue. However this particular morning, there was hysteria in corridors. I walked into the classroom to see a large group of year 7s huddled together. I sat gingerly in the teachers chair, and was soon surrounded by them. They all silently eyed me like the calm before a storm.
'DO YOU HAVE SWINE FLU?' A bold, blonde haired girl asked, before the whole class broke into pandemonium. Some started screaming and crying. That week, Alleyn's School had been closed due to swine flu. Many of the girls had brothers and sisters who had attended Alleyn's and they were worried. But I didn't.
'No,' I answered tentatively. The same question and the same answer went back and forth, again and again. By the third time, I burst out laughing and demanded an explanation from Little Miss Bold Blondie on why I was being given the spanish inquisition. I had been romantically linked via Facebook to one of the 6th form boys at Alleyn's who had recently come back from Mexico. I rolled my eyes. They were worse gossips than the 6th form.
Later on that day, the nurse sent home 40 year 7's with suspected swine flu symptoms. Talk about hyperchondriacs. This was back in April. Two months later, when there was confirmed case in our school, there was chaos. Absolute and utter chaos.
This panic has not left the hearts of the public yet, be it a year 7 pupil, a pregnant mother, or a banker reading his paper on the tube in the morning. Every morning, we must read the paper and be told to confront our fate. The media particularly enjoys bombarding us with the constant reminder that we are all going to die in the midst of this 'Farmageddon': Swine Flu, Bird Flu, Mad Cow Disease (I do realise this was a disease from the 90s). (Actually upon reflection, it makes you wonder how these diseases get these names!).
But some of the statistics are fuelling the frenzy (we do have to be prepared for the worst, in case it all goes pear shaped). I'm particularly talking about the speculated effects on the economy. Swine flu couldn't have come at a more worse time.
The NHS are predicting up to 65,000 deaths this winter and the Chief Medical Officer, Sir Lim Donaldson has added that up to 30% of the population could show symptoms. Currently the UK Death Toll is currently around 30. Someone please enlighten me how this is plausible?
The Oxford economists are slightly more realistic than our health care analysts but it is still alarming. The UK gross domestic product (GDP: a basic figure of the UK's economic performance) could drop by 5%, our economy could head towards deflation (this doesn't sound too bad in theory, it means that the value of money will increase but most economists agree that it could lead to a downward spiral. It is a slippery slope to reduced economic activity). Finally to put the king in the cake, our economy, already in need of a quick bounce back, return to form could be delayed by 2 years. It means that we could have to sit tight for a bit longer riding out an extended recession, trying to battle throught the underlying problems, clutching our tissues and blowing our noses.
Other estimates from the Ernst & Young Item Club, who are working closely with Sir Lim Donaldson are predicting up to a 7.5% decrease in the UK GDP, this is based on 100,000 cases of swine flu and 50% of the UK showing symptoms. Our economy could reach a slump that hasn't been seen since 1921. The Item Club say that, "With the Western world still teetering on the brink of deflation, it is not an exaggeration to say that a pandemic on this scale could tip it over the edge." It COULD happen, however what most of this hype is helpfully revealing, is that there is a real underlying threat to our economy.
Swine flu, more interestingly, will certainly affect our behaviour towards money. There will be heightened uncertainty about economic developments (whole companies could collapse completely due to swine flu) which is likely to make businesses postpone investment. Increased uncertainty would also have a negative impact on financial markets, bringing lower share prices and higher market interest rates than warranted by the economic situation. Spending will take a nose dive, as many people will not go near anywhere which is harbouring swine flu (ie. restaurants, cinemas and retailers.)
However, some retailers are now recording profits such as Next. (I do wonder how Next ever made a profit!) Stockpiling tins of beans and jumpers to serve an army against a nuclear bomb, or just to ride out the swine flu, is certainly appealing for most of the public. Let us not forget, Procter & Gamble, (who sell the essentials; helping us stockpile Pampers, Vicks and toothbrushes) and therefore will always make a profit, and GlaxoSmithKline and other such pharmaceutical companies who produce medicines undoubtedly will have no trouble breaking even. GSK currently have a swine flu vaccine in the pipeline, and were heavily criticised this week for wanting to charge £6 for a vaccine which allegedly costs £1 to produce.
Swine flu has made us all a little paranoid. I'm now afraid to cough, sneeze or breathe too hard in public in case I am mobbed by year 7s or given a hard stare by an old lady. I think they've accepted that it is not the steady sound progress but sound of our economy taking a nose dive into Farmageddon.
Currently Listening to: All Them Witches - Plugs, Fastlove - George Michael
Friday, 24 July 2009
One thing that affected my childhood more than anything and still affects me (I’m still a child, you see) is the divorce of my parents. I don’t think myself or anyone outside the family circle really saw it coming. There were incidents, I guess, where my mum and dad didn’t see eye to eye and lots of them involved gambling.
My dad never had a gambling addiction or anything serious; he saw the occasionally fiver or lottery ticket as some slight amusement that my mum didn’t approve of. I recall one evening, where my dad had come in from work, waving a lottery ticket around, asking for someone to give him a number. Naturally, I ran to him and said 15, and I sat on his knee as he circled the number on the paper. My mum came in at this point, and her jaw dropped. I swiftly ushered out of the room before I heard commotion in the living room. Another time, my dad thought it fit to gamble the mortgage on the manager’s special at our local Ladbrokes. Fortunately for his sake and my mother’s sanity, he won, and quite a substantial amount too.
The point I’m getting at is that, no matter how lucky we think we are when we win the lottery, many of the winners have come out later and said that it has changed their lives for the worse, and labelled the lottery as a ‘curse’.
So I’ve gathered the best of the worst, (what an oxymoron) of the lottery winner stories, inspired by this news story. Enjoy.
‘’Winning the lottery isn't always what it's cracked up to be," says Evelyn Adams, who won the New Jersey lottery not just once, but twice (1985, 1986), to the tune of $5.4 million. Today the money is all gone and Adams lives in a trailer. ‘’ Everybody wanted my money. Everybody had their hand out. I never learned one simple word in the English language -- 'No.' I wish I had the chance to do it all over again. I'd be much smarter about it now," says Adams, who also lost money at the slot machines in Atlantic City.
Evelyn Adams, who won the $5.4 million dollar New Jersey lottery not just once, but twice in 1985 and again in 1986 gambled most of it away, and is broke today. 1993 Missouri lottery winner Janite Lee won $18 million, but was overly generous by giving the money away to a variety of causes leading to her filing bankruptcy just eight years after her stroke of good fortune hit.
Lucky isn't a lady, it's a downright bitch, don't you think?
Currently Listening to: Isn't She Lovely - Stevie Wonder
Monday, 20 July 2009
I've decided that every monday or so often, I'm going to dedicate a whole blog post so I can let off some steam and have a rant about stuff that is REALLY ticking me off this week.
So what's really not doing it for me this week?
Jokes About Michael Jackson
It's pretty much become common knowledge that Michael Jackson is dead, and you'd have to have been living under a rock to not know this fact. However, even the same night that MJ died, my facebook almost crashed under the sudden influx of people writing condolence messages in their statuses and for the more adventrous, jokes. Jokes which I think are in poor taste. 'His heart just couldn't beat it' and other various puns. I don't think everyone has to be a fan of MJ, but even if you're not, HAVE SOME RESPECT FOR THE DEAD, for gods sake! That was almost a month ago. There are some very silly people out there who won't cease with this immature and unneeded and warped sense of humour. The man is dead. Let the dead be laid to rest. The jokes weren't that funny in the first place. Stop the MJ jokes.
Leggings as A Substitute for Trousers/Jeans
I love my clothes. It's summer. I love summer clothes. You get the gist. On Saturday morning, I was waiting for a bus, when my eyes were greeted with a girl who was wearing really cool leopard print leggings. She was really working them. My eyes followed her as she walked past me seated at the bus stop and up to the station. A white van stopped, and a leery man beeped his horn and shouted at her. In a split second, I realised the reason why. HER LEGGINGS WERE SEE-THROUGH. EVERYONE could see her thong. I sighed to myself. When will we learn? Some fashions need to be worn correctly! Walking around town, I encountered several other people making this fashion faux pas. It doesn't matter how hot you are, just because you can, doesn't mean you have to. I mean, sheesh!
I'm not going to rant too much about this, as I'm saving this for another blog post. But I'm sick of the media hype. 'We're all going to die' and other such armageddon like statements. In a post in this distant future, I will discuss the effects of swine flu on our economy but for now I'm going to finish getting gobby.
Don't be dismayed, it's not all bad news, I'm enjoying England's victory over Australia at Lords and the sun is shining. I'm now off to celebrate finishing this post by enjoying a magnum, courtesy of a brilliant 'Buy One Get One Free' deal at Tesco!
Currently Listening to: Get Low - Lil Jon
Friday, 17 July 2009
Two days ago, I celebrated my 17th birthday, (yes ladies and gentleman, I'm legally allowed behind the wheel of a car, so BEWARE!) and in honour of gracing and blessing this earth with my presence for 17 years and enjoying my last year as a teenager, I have decided to start this blog. Its use, so I can capture EVERY single moment (good or bad) of this new year. Fortunately, you are the lucky spectator to this!
I will be talking about anything that makes me tick or articles and popular/weird/wonderful/(*delete as appropriate) stories from the news. If it makes me sigh, then... (I'll have to find a rhyme for that! Hmmm...) Anyway happy reading and please come back and visit my blog.
Currently Listening to: Body Groove - Architects