You can always do more

Dear all,

I must warn you now that this post will be moderately epic, even by my standards. You have been warned.

Now, first of all let’s have those long-awaited thoughts about Bobby Vee. I was listening to The Bobby Vee Singles Album the other day and wondering why no young people listen to that kind of music any more. It’s beautiful, sing-a-long-able and great fun. However, superficially it has nothing to do with the real life of young people these days. “A Letter From Betty” – who writes letters now? Betty should have just sent a ‘Ur dumped!’ text. “Stayin’ in” – it’s called being grounded, and why not just sneak out and get pissed anyway? The youth culture that Bobby Vee sings about is vastly different from ours, and our attitudes to relationships have changed a lot too. No longer does a boy have to officially ask a girl on a date. Now, friendships segue into sort-of relationships, a kiss at a party could mean everything or nothing at all… we don’t have the clear boundaries that we once did. However, if you look at the fundamental themes of the songs, they apply absolutely to today’s yoof. You may not be ringing up someone’s mum to ask them out, a la “Bobby Tomorrow”, but you can still be put on hold indefinitely. You can still suspect that someone’s cheating you and that they’re “Sharing You”, and if they go with the other person you can ask them to “Take Good Care of my Baby”. The sentiment is the same, although the expression isn’t. Same goes for Helen Shapiro.

Today I was walking home when I got pounced on by a “chugger”. For those not in the know, this means “charity mugger” – those people that ask “Have you got a minute?” and then show you a clipboard full of pictures of starving babies and then get you to sign up to give to their charity every month. I made it fairly clear to this fundraiser pretty early on that I wasn’t going to give him any money. I work in a charity shop every week and any money I give will be to that charity, thanks. But still, he kept talking, and it developed into a nice little chat. I only wish I could remember his name so I could give him a cool pseudonym. Let’s call him Richard, because he looked like a Richard. He’s doing fundraising for a year or so before he goes back to uni to do a PhD. He studied the same subjects as me at A level and did a Philosophy degree. It was very interesting. However, he did keep trying to persuade me to sign up. He said that he didn’t want to guilt trip me into it, but it would really help starving people and all that jazz.

I think he was wrong. He should guilt trip people into giving. People should feel guilty if they’re not doing anything to help other people. Guilt is a powerful and important emotion. It’s like your conscience saying “You’re so well off, but what makes you any different from those starving people? You were just lucky. You have a duty to help them. You’d want to be helped if you were in their place.” And I do feel guilty. I try to rationalise it – I have no money to give, I already do stuff, I do a lot more than other people my age… But still. It’s hard to get rid of that niggling feeling that I should be doing more.

On the bus on the way home, I was thinking about it and I came up with a kind of life mission or general purpose.

I want to spend my life making deserving people happy.

Generally, that is how I want to spend my life. Whether it’s teaching, politics or spreading joy through the medium of theatre or sitcoms, I want to make other people happy. I want to give back, to let people know that life can be wonderful. I already do some things to help.

– I am vegetarian.
– I am on the organ donor register.
– I work at a charity shop.
– I make and effort to be kind and polite to everyone.

But I know I can do more.

I would very much like to give blood. It’s so simple and such an important way of helping other people. But I don’t weigh enough. This winter, I’ve been cold all the time, as usual, and I think that gaining weight might help. So I now have a goal. Gain enough weight to be able to give blood by this autumn… and then give blood! Only 11lbs to go… πŸ˜›

Lots of love,
Wilhelm Scream.



  1. anontanan said,

    Thursday, 23rd April 2009 at 4:57 pm

    Wow! very very interesting! I like this sentence “I want to spend my life making deserving people happy.” As same As ME! Bye πŸ™‚

    • Friday, 24th April 2009 at 7:49 pm

      Hurrah! Let us all pledge to do that, for it is a worthy thing indeed.

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