One of the most popular (and annoying) cries that goes up around these parts on a regular basis is ‘There’s nothing for our young people to do’.
Personally (and even when I was a young person), I have never understood the thinking behind this pathetic plea. I actually in all honesty, do not know what it means. In short… I would like to know what it is that young people do that old people don’t?
OK, so you may say…skateboarding…
But that really has nothing to do with the above whine. All you need is a skateboard and judging by the racket on the wide pavements and the chipped low walls of the Bancroft, you can do it anywhere and no-one can stop you.
I think what the people (young/old) really mean by their plaintiff moan is, ‘There is nowhere the youth go to indulge their youthfulness?’ But again, this makes no sense. Try as I may I can not think of one activity that spotty youth need exclusively for their own use. (Help me out here?)
To illustrate my point, I have seen one or two suggestions that what we need is a ten-pin bowling alley…well yes…I agree. That would be very nice. I’d like one of those too. What I’m saying here is…I don’t see the connection between ten-pin bowling and youth only.
The truth lies in the phrasing of the original question.
What is really being said here is not ‘There’s nothing for our young people to do’ but, ‘where can young people go, to get away from old people’. Which makes much more sense, is understandable to all parties and a solution much easier to find.
Of course, this piece wouldn’t be complete if as an old fart I didn’t refer to my own painful and spotty youth-time. Us old codgers always say the same thing. That we never complained about ‘having nothing to do’. In my case, it is true. I was lucky enough to spend a lot of my early years on the edge of lush farmland. So obviously, my friends and I spent many a hot summer’s day setting light to it, topping of a wonderful and complete day by helping the Fire Brigade put it out.
If we weren’t doing that then we hung about in pub doorways smoking and listening to radio Luxembourg. If we could do that with a couple of girls who were er…rude (sorry #metoo) then all the better. Otherwise, it was the bus down-town for more hanging-about. Hanging-about is obviously a lost art. You rarely see it these days.
Taking into consideration the above, were you to ask me what the solution was, I would have to say, an empty warehouse. Fill it with young people left to their own devices and not one older person would venture within a hundred yards.
Except maybe to share the drugs.