You may not think it to look at me, but I was young once, not all that long ago. In the toss-up between work and pretty much anything else, the latter would usually win out.
I was weaned on Trainspotting’s opening mantra, so choosing life was in. Choosing flat-screen TVs, coffee makers and the means to acquire them was not.
Are all youngsters the same, preferring to live in the now over the hum-drum of work and responsibility? The jury is out, although I did wonder when I’d heard the latest dispatch from Brooklyn Beckham HQ earlier this week.
Brooklyn, the first son of Victoria and David, has been cast as a work-shy, talentless ne’er-do-well in the media.
If he has any concerns around this, he certainly doesn’t show it. It was revealed recently that Brooklyn’s mum had helped him secure a deal as brand ambassador with clothing company Superdry worth a reported £1m.
A megabucks launch at the brand’s flagship London store soon followed the announcement, but the deal has proved short-lived and Superdry have called it quits after mere months.
A source told Heat magazine that Brooklyn “reportedly said no to various shoots and campaigns” that Superdry had asked for because “it didn’t suit his schedule”.
Yes, apparently Brooklyn Beckham, with no discernible profession to speak of unless you count brief flirtations with photography and cooking, has a “schedule”.
Brooklyn has also reportedly accused his mum of “pushing him into” the deal, and noted that he had wanted to work with Gucci instead. Oh, to have the confidence of a mediocre white man with famous parents.
Now I, too, have benefited from nepotism, insofar as my parents managed to help me get jobs with their connections. The difference was that I was 15, and the jobs were office cleaning, hotel housekeeping and lounge-girl work.
Like Brooklyn, I arrived to these summer jobs with all the enthusiasm of root canal surgery and was probably about as useful as a chocolate hairdryer for that very reason.
And let’s face it, that is the wont of young people. Yet even at that age, I knew I had to start somewhere. There was a definite sense that dues had to be paid.
That, I guess, is the difference between Brooklyn and the rest of us because when a £1m contract to do nothing but be yourself is considered shoddy, you’re living on an entirely different plane of entitlement.
There have long been connotations around entitlement and complacency when we talk about nepotism. There’s a belief that if something wasn’t hard won, yearned for, or won by methodical planning and work, then it hasn’t been deserved. It’s why most nepotism babies feel embarrassed at their privilege.
They’ll say they need to work twice as hard to be taken half as seriously. They will also note that while a certain name/connection opens doors, the onus is very much on them to prove their worth because doors can slam shut.
Alas, this idea appears to have been lost on Brooklyn, who seems fairly OK with the world thinking of him as someone happy to live off his famous name indefinitely. Yet at 23, he is still young. He has enough time to make these mistakes and to learn from them.
We all had to do it — it’s just that we had to get there sooner. I can still hear my mother shrieking something about money not growing on trees when I refused to budge out of bed on time for a chambermaid job, aged 16.
What it must be like for a young person when that is very much the case, I can barely begin to imagine.
New research has revealed what most of us already keenly knew: almost half of British women have done no vigorous exercise in the last 12 months.
A survey for Nuffield Health notes that several of its survey’s female respondents fell out of good habits and lacked motivation during Covid.
A lack of time owing to work was also a significant barrier to regular exercise.
On this particular subject, most working women, mums especially, will simply say, “well, duh”.
Let’s be honest — the lives of working women are simply not set up properly to comfortably involve vigorous, regular exercise.
Between juggling childcare, work, other caring duties, and often the lion’s share of housework and emotional labour, there’s not much bandwidth left over for personal motivation.
Alas, the cliché too often bears out: women place themselves further down the totem pole than almost everyone else in their lives.
Of course, it’s easy to point at the many ways in which time-pressed, nearly-out-of-puff women can easily turn all this around: there are running buggies, online classes, playing football with the kids, just making the extra push to juggle, and so on.
But let’s not kid ourselves — the obstacles between here and the gym are plentiful.
And most of us are only ever trying our best.
It’s so heartening to see the outpouring of love and respect to the English women’s football team amid the Euros. Stadiums have been almost full, matches are shown on prime time and the commentary has been robust.
Players such as Alessia Russo and Leah Williamson are being written about with the breathless reverence their male counterparts have been for decades.
The recognition has been a long time coming. And, given the lack of homophobia, hooliganism, toxic fans and corruption in women’s football, perhaps this really can be the beautiful game.