If You Can't Stand The Workplace, Get Back In The Kitchen

IF YOU ARE READING THIS now, it means I have been made unemployed, and I am an unemployee.

You’re probably also wondering about the odd title for this blog. It’s from a relatively obscure section of George Orwell’s few exercises in non-fantasy, a book so contemporary in its diet fixation, its fetishistic description of British living standards and its unrelenting pessimism, you could slap it in a slow-pan across a picture of a house and garden and call it The Lifestyle Channel: Interwar.

The ordinary human being would sooner starve than live on brown bread and raw carrots. And the peculiar evil is this, that the less money you have, the less inclined you feel to spend it on wholesome food. A millionaire may enjoy breakfasting off orange juice and Ryvita biscuits; an unemployed man doesn’t.
…When you are unemployed, which is to say when you are underfed, harassed, bored, and miserable, you don’t want to eat dull wholesome food. You want something a little bit ‘tasty’.”1

Now as you might have gathered I’m not exactly a devotee, and certainly I’m no Orwell-nostalgist about how the Left used to be back in the thirties, or worse, Euston Manifestist. My own views about that sordid sectarian street-fighter Orwell and his ouvre are substantially similar to John Dolan’s.

Even if he wound up there accidentally, between bouts of sensationalist slumming, quasi-mercenary war-tourism, hack journalism, misogyny and utter unselfconsciousness, Orwell managed to arrive at an obvious and valuable principle in his sentence about fruit juice and processed snack products: you can’t separate the worlds of work, food consumption, and human enjoyment. As my comrade A (from whom I stole the wonderful word-concept “unemployee”) has observed, employment and the kitchen tend to crowd each other out.

As I’m now, temporarily, and in the sense of wage-employment, at liberty, I plan to spend my time, energy, money, and credibility as a blogger as I please.

I am not an expert, or even a good, cook. The closest thing I have to a palate is the memory of unloading them from the forklift when I was at uni. My politics on most things are fairly reprehensible, and I have more double-standards than a French-Canadian engineering manual. I probably wasn’t even much of an employee. This blog, however, will be about food, politics, underemployment and the consumption of time and leisure, in that order.

1 George Orwell. The Road To Wigan Pier, 1937. #



Add a comment

This is a gravatar

Fyodor · 28 March 2011, 10:32 · #

Like the orange – very Third Way of you.

Monsieur! Un ROFLMAO, s’il vous plait!

Just previewed the comment and got Agro Vation in a bow-tie for my gravatar.


Way cool, Hogan-sama, way cool.

This is a gravatar

Anna Winter · 30 March 2011, 15:46 · #

If being an unemployee = more Liam blogging then I hope you never get a job, comrade.

This is a gravatar

Liam · 30 March 2011, 17:57 · #

It’s an honour for the blog to be launched in the comments field by two such luminaries, F and AW.

I hope you never get a job

If wishes were fishes, oh Goddess of Reason…

This is a gravatar

Fyodor · 30 March 2011, 19:08 · #

What Cruella de Winter said, although I’m curious as to what She requires in the way of inducements to blog.

I’m a little surprised you haven’t engineered a tax-eating sinecure in anticipation of these opportunities, Haiku.

Not only, but also: some suggestions for passe-temps on your sabbatical.

P.S. V.Impressed by your attention to detail, BTW. ABC u.s.w.

This is a gravatar

Adam · 31 March 2011, 22:08 · #

Textile? Oldschool, represent!

Welcome back and keep fighting the good fight.

This is a gravatar

Kerryn Goldsworthy · 1 April 2011, 12:37 · #

Oh, this is very cool. Linking immediately.

Came here via Facebook. I knew it had to be good for something apart from Farmville.

This is a gravatar

FDB · 3 April 2011, 02:06 · #

Thank you Fyodor.

Thank you Liam.

Thank you baby Jeebus.


Commenting is closed for this article.