The London Years

Irvine Welsh: Yeah. I was totally right in that social milieu. I was talking [about] these punks who came here that was basically made and whose life was changed by working in a sort of room full of book and TV. He’s fixing them up and sort of to send them back out. I say TVs, I don’t mean transvestites, I mean televisions. And then off to… Then go down in a pub and buy [IB], you “God Save the Queen” playing, and just blasting your eardrums with it. And then off to London next week, basically, chucking everything in. So that was really… It was just… So, for me and so many other people, the cause and effect there is just so stark. You never you never find anything as stark as that again in your life.

The good thing about back then is, well, because you had the remnants of the Welfare, say, if you’ve been working for a while, you’ve got something called the tax rebate, which has [stopped], which meant that you got the tax back in what you’ve… what you paid there in tax that year, you got it back. So people would basically stop work to get their tax rebates. And you also had the housing benefits and you had a decent unemployment benefit program, so you can go to college for a pound back then.

So you could get by. There’s lots of part-time, temporary jobs you could do. You could do dishwashing. You could do portering. There’s just so much, so much around you. There weren’t great jobs, but you could find a job. You could stop work for 6 months [level] of tax rebates and then find a job again and do stuff.

And most people who did that, they didn’t just waste around. They were forming bands and were getting into getting to all sorts of things or were going to college. So, I think it was a great time. There’s a great idea that you had some kind of paid time out back then. It wasn’t the same pressure to to kind of achieve and to sort of… and basically to be kind of middle aged by the time you were 20.

 

Recorded on: September 8, 2008

 

Irvine Welsh remembers social welfare perks that made being young easy.

Why a great education means engaging with controversy

Jonathan Zimmerman explains why teachers should invite, not censor, tough classroom debates.

Sponsored by the Institute for Humane Studies
  • During times of war or national crisis in the U.S., school boards and officials are much more wary about allowing teachers and kids to say what they think.
  • If our teachers avoid controversial questions in the classroom, kids won't get the experience they need to know how to engage with difficult questions and with criticism.
  • Jonathan Zimmerman argues that controversial issues should be taught in schools as they naturally arise. Otherwise kids will learn from TV news what politics looks like – which is more often a rant than a healthy debate.
Keep reading Show less

Are these 100 people killing the planet?

Controversial map names CEOs of 100 companies producing 71 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.

Image: Jordan Engel, reused via Decolonial Media License 0.1
Strange Maps
  • Just 100 companies produce 71 percent of the world's greenhouse gases.
  • This map lists their names and locations, and their CEOs.
  • The climate crisis may be too complex for these 100 people to solve, but naming and shaming them is a good start.
Keep reading Show less

SpaceX catches Falcon Heavy nosecone with net-outfitted boat

It marks another milestone in SpaceX's long-standing effort to make spaceflight cheaper.

Technology & Innovation
  • SpaceX launched Falcon Heavy into space early Tuesday morning.
  • A part of its nosecone – known as a fairing – descended back to Earth using special parachutes.
  • A net-outfitted boat in the Atlantic Ocean successfully caught the reusable fairing, likely saving the company millions of dollars.
Keep reading Show less