Thursday 22 August 2019

Millennial Diary

End of Thrones: Daenerys Targaryen, aka Khaleesi
End of Thrones: Daenerys Targaryen, aka Khaleesi

Ciara O'Connor

It's almost certainly true, that between strangling the beef and dairy industries and inventing brunch, there is a special place in hell for millennials. And now, there will be a place on Earth for us too - with all the amenities of Hell itself.

Imagine it: 28-year-old marketing managers as far as the eye can see; kitchens with fridges full of plant-based milks with proprietary names in block capitals; padlocks on the cupboard you know has the nice biscuits in it, like an eternal December 23; no couch to call your own; having to keep your nice olive oil in your bedroom.

This is co-living - the hottest thing since the human cost of the avocado-boom to ruin millennials' lives. Since plans for co-living developments in Dublin emerged, Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy has defended the schemes as being "exciting" for us young people, and pointed out that workers "starting out" have always made sacrifices.

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And it's true - millennials have shown themselves to be admirably sacrificing in order to have somewhere to sleep within commutable distance of their job. Every time we think we've hit rock bottom with a 'room for rent' ad in Dublin that is a futon in a Wendy-house, it gets snapped up and something worse comes along.

Really, for a generation that is best-known for having notions, millennials set the bar really, really low when it comes to living.

So, yes, the co-living rooms will be taken - just like the mattresses in under-stairs presses on SpareRoom.com. There's a bed-frame? A toilet seat? No black mould? Sold!

Give us a bedroom, and as long as there's a cycling machine and a pool table somewhere in the building, we won't mutiny. Who needs a living room when there's a 'Cinema Room'?! Doesn't Cinema Room sound way more fun, kids?

Last week, a co-living company in London offered its members a workshop to create 'their own crystal pendant, to carry wellness around with them'.

Indeed, it is said that Rose Quartz, for example, purifies and opens the heart at all levels to promote love, self-love, friendship, deep inner healing and feelings of peace - so that will be handy enough for the 30-year-olds living in a creche/retirement compound, realising that they'll never have a real home. Make your rock-necklace and don't think too much about how your parents had four bedrooms, three kids and a promising looking pension fund by the time they were your age. That's right, shhhh.

Look! Shiny!

*******

Eight more sleeps until Love Island 2019 kicks off, and it's fair to say that ITV is absolutely bricking it. During last year's series, a contestant from a previous series died by suicide. A couple of months ago, another past contestant took his own life. And of course most recently, after 3,152 episodes and 14 years, ITV was forced to pull The Jeremy Kyle Show after a contestant died a week after he was a guest.

It's been a difficult year for ITV programmers: how to defend a format that seems to either attract a disproportionate number of contestants with poor mental health, or actually causes mental illness?

But spare a thought for the millions of Love Island obsessives - fans who resent being forced to confront the muddy ethics of their favourite way to unwind at 9pm all summer long.

Think of these fans, whose stomachs will flip every time a jilted 20-year-old model/student cries to the camera "I really thought he loved me, I can't believe I had sex on TV". No longer will we luxuriate in lazy schadenfreude, cackling into our pinot, but wonder: is this it? Is this the exact moment of an irrevocable breakdown?

ITV has been scrambling to make it more presentable for 2019. Presumably because it can't actually pull the cultural touchstone that is Love Island, it has reportedly begun addressing other, more manageable, longstanding criticism - like its narrow beauty standard; apparently it's looking to recruit 'plus-sized' model Jada Sezer.

It is also promising weeks of therapy for all contestants upon leaving the show. I would say that's a red flag, but shur most millennials are in therapy for less. Let the games begin!

*******

Jeremy Kyle wasn't the only celebration of violence, incest and treachery we had to say goodbye to. Game of Thrones (which, at least, has better hair) came to an inglorious end after six episodes, each more frustrating than the last.

It jumped the shark, and then the writers seemed to forget the shark was ever there to begin with. The internet can forgive a lot (just ask the now-rehabilitated James Charles) but it cannot abide laziness - and especially not from the writers of such a beloved and era-defining show.

In one episode, a dragon is killed by one boat; in the next, one dragon takes out 100 boats with ease. In one episode a clan has been eliminated, in the next, thousands of them come out of nowhere ready for a fight. The 'winner' of the game of thrones turned out to be, by all accounts, a total rando - and even internet disability activists didn't claim the ascension of a paraplegic kid to the throne as a victory.

Even the stars couldn't sugarcoat it. Kit Harington had previously said that the word he would use to describe the finale was "disappointing".

Emilia Clarke, in one of my favourite headlines of the year so far, feared Beyonce would hate her for Daenerys's character's arc - indeed, the parents of toddlers named Khaleesi all over the world wept as their child's namesake turned out to be a genocidal tyrant, who boned her nephew.

People on the internet (as people on the internet are wont to do) have already started re-cutting the series to make it more pleasing. Social media has turned into a first-year literature seminar with tens of thousands weighing in about the nature of story and storytelling, the duty of writers, the purpose of entertainment, the idea of Aristotle's catharsis.

It's utter chaos: and perhaps this is the real game of thrones...

*******

The last few years have seen a number of disturbing statistics about drinking and alcohol, especially among young people. With pubs closing all over the country, and vicious rumours about how kids these days are absolutely no craic, the future of boozing in Ireland looked uncertain. Younger generations were taking fewer drugs, having less sex and drinking barely at all.

Drinkaware's latest statistics then were (sorry) sobering: last week's report found that nearly 75pc of people believe drinking to excess is part of Irish culture. Just 2pc of people are aware of the low-risk alcohol guidelines, whatever that is.

Hearteningly, more than a third of under-25s 'admitted' to regularly binge-drinking, and most of them see it as a crutch - we may have frittered our deposits away on avocado toast, but at least when we cry about it it's over several bottles of cheap red in the most hospitable corner of our miserable co-living hell-pods. Tell me, Leo, will there be an open bar?

Some craic!

*******

The update that no one asked for, and absolutely no one needed is here! WhatsApp is testing a feature to allow users to share statuses as Facebook stories in a click.

There's a lot to unpack here: like, who uses Facebook stories? Astonishingly, probably more people than use the WhatsApp 'status' feature (but less people than are named Khaleesi in the world). Did you even remember that you have a WhatsApp status? Is it still an ironic 'at the gym' or 'can't talk right now' from four years ago?

The gesture is kind of sweet, like your grandmother offering to listen to the hippity-hop with you, but 'stories' are already outdated - millennials are currently desperately trawling Reddit for information about Tik-Tok and its dankest memes, as we desperately cling to relevancy and thus our media manager jobs.

Hippity-hop indeed.

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