Friday, March 27, 2009

There are certain people who are enjoying the recession - one friend of mine a case in point. He is never happier than when having a moan and the current mess has given him extra scope for ranting.

Taxi fares are a recurrent theme that bring him to boiling point.Personally, I have no problem with taximen. I have mostly been blessed with pleasant drivers who take me from A to B without cause for complaint. It is also an excuse for me to waffle on without being cut off as I so often am from those who know me better.

Being from the outer Fingal county area, Nightlink buses are non-existent Monday to Friday, with Iarnrod Eireann pulling the plug on party plans at 11.25pm...This leaves taxis as the only remaining option for those who dare venture into the city midweek.

Even on the weekend their expense is more appealing than braving the horrors of the 'Nightmare' or Fightlink'. Luckily this is no longer a problem for me, now that I am city centred. Other friends have also relocated, weary from years of stumbling into taxis alone to embark on a forty minute journey so ridiculously expensive it is only ever contemplated with alcohol on board.

The decision, of course, always regretted the next morning when you wake €55 the poorer. My ranting friend lives in Skerries but regularly joins us in town. Never one to be ripped off, lately he has bargained his way home for a cheaper price by skulking along the ranks till he finds a taxi willing to accept whatever fare he can get on these now quieter streets of Dublin.

Sometimes it takes him longer to find an obliging driver but he has been ferried home for an average of €35 in recent weeks. Last Thursday he joined us in town for a few drinks and started his usual tirade of abuse against the city's taxis and how they had ripped us off for so long. He smirked that tonight he had done one better and wouldn't need their services at all.

He had found a hotel room in one of Ballsbridge's finest establishments for an unbelievable £31 with TWO double beds. If he had three more to share with, it was better value then the last train home. It was just himself for tonight though, satisfied that he had outsmarted the taxi trade... Of course with all his moaning he missed the cheapest option of all. He could have stayed on our couch, no charge and with a free breakfast thrown in.
There was even a lift down to Skerries the next day.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I Attended the Nokia Young Fashion Designer of the Year Awards last night, an event I've come to look forward to on the Dublin fashion calender..was very impressed with all of the students stunning designs which were inspired form the Nokia Supernova handset. The winner Aoife Gallagher, a fourth year student from NCAD was awarded with the coveted Nokia Young Fashion Designer Award 2009, as well as receiving a Nokia Supernova handset, €5,000, media profiling opportunities for the year and a work placement with retail partner, House of Fraser! Lucky girl! Apart from the catwalk creations there was also delicous canapes and refreshing mojitos for the many stylish guests who attended. A perfect recession evening!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I was delighted to hear the news the other week that my brother - not the unemployed one - had moved into town just around the corner from me. He was to live with two friends and one of their girlfriends in an apartment that was, apparently, 'way better than mine'.

He wasn't lying.

I called around one evening to find a spacious loft-style complex complete with a 42'' flat screen state-of-the-art TV. It was like stepping into an episode of Friends.

All well deserved for four young professionals who had earned top marks in college one might think … except that my brother is days away from finding out if his job, in the financial world, is a gonner. One of his new housemates has no job: he has two degrees but since returning to Ireland in October has yet to unpack his rucksack and, when I called, was in his shorts complete with sand from Bondi beach. Luckily for him, his girlfriend is paying their share of the rent; her masters having earned her a career in accountancy that is secure for the time being. Not a sign of worry in this party house, they bought the TV for a staggering €900 for a special offer that allowed three years to pay it off. My TV was not much smaller but luckily it had been a gift rather than an over indulgent purchase..It got me wondering about my generation - why did we feel that, despite the threat of no jobs, we still deserve to lead luxurious lives? Is it because we have studied so hard until now, having spent our whole lives being told that getting through college was a means to a dream ending? Of course I couldn’t afford to pass judgement on why my brother had finally taken the plunge to move out of home at 25 when his job was on the line, as I had done so myself only two months previous, knowing well that my job was hanging by a thread at the time. We had both taken a huge risk with expensive rental deposits. For years we had claimed we couldn't afford to move out as we kept our money for more important things like socialising. The reality was we had plenty of money in our first jobs but were too comfortable in the family home. Funny then that we had finally moved out when our finances were at their worst. Perhaps there comes a time when you simply can’t stay at home a minute longer. Despite short stints of travelling, we had yet to set up our own base in town, it's just a pity our need to move out came in 2009 as we may both soon be back with our parents... and back to their 27 inch TV.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The sadness of finishing up in work has become eclipsed by all the exciting catching-up I have had to do with friends during my time off. With others also free there has been plenty of walking, tea-drinking and cinema trips of late.

Still, free time can add up to being expensive and so I was glad when my friend threw a house party for his birthday last weekend. As a change, it seemed a house party was the perfect plan to suit everyone during these recessionary times. We could barely manage a full turnout on New Year's Eve together so I was delighted to hear that everyone was going, fifteen guys and five girls.

The recession themed party was a Mexican night - burritos and tequila, followed by some drunken games of bingo on an €11 machine purchased specially for the occasion. Although I was secretly looking forward to a few games of bingo, it wasn't something I had imagined the lads among us enjoying. Around 11pm that night the game commenced with our wittiest friend on the microphone, entertaining us with some great banter.

'Number 18' he boomed over us. It was the number of degrees held by our tequila- soaked group.

'Number 7' was next - the amount of post-grad qualifications between us. Then it was 4 -the amount of us currently out of work due to recession, followed by 3, those who had been warned their jobs were probably next.

‘'Five', our bingo host hollered. 'It is the number of qualifications someone in the room has', the microphone echoed and the room erupted with laughter. For years the lads had been slagging the eternal student among us for his two degrees and three masters and still not 'getting a real job'.

Not so funny now. I won a game of bingo in the end! I went home €38 richer, a nice little perk to the evening. I never thought I would see the day that we would be sitting on a kitchen floor playing bingo with a plastic machine from Argos. Saturday nights were usually spent at over-priced clubs listening to over-hyped djs and the house parties were always 'after parties'.

Now here we were all perfectly happy with such simple fun because everyone was together and had a childlike escape from their economic worries.

Birthday boy may have had the stress of losing a job last year but he was lucky to have so many close friends celebrating together that night.

I guess we were all lucky in that sense, bingo winnings aside.

Monday, March 2, 2009

The week was a busy one. I finally finished up in work and amid dumping my unused business cards and clearing my cluttered desktop, there was room for a few celebratory send-offs. The weekend saw Facebook overloaded with 'goodbye party' pictures, repetitious images of posing PR execs, comforting each other over cheap cocktails. Sad times for everyone as the reality finally hit home that things would never be the same again - for the four of us being let go and for those left behind. But I didn't have time to moan about missing my office buddies: I had to be grateful with the waitress job I had started a week earlier, grateful with minimum wage and whatever tips I could charm out of equally broke and recessed customers...I spent my days pacing the restaurant floor waiting to hear back from my interviews, determined my PR career would continue despite the current climate... I tried to shun all negative newspaper reports, switch off the television and turn down the radio. I tried hard to ignore the recession, an impossible task resulting instead with my boyfriend ignoring me.

"All you ever talk about is the recession,''he informed me, "give it a break.''

I knew he was right when I found myself texting a friend travelling abroad a summary of the catastrophic banking business. Another friend, a chef recently departed for New Zealand received a similar response when she emailed to ask how 'things were at home'? My reply was a list of restaurants that had closed or were in danger of closing. "Tesco is the best value on cleaning products,'' I told her in answer to how were things going living with my boyfriend.

I haven't heard back from her yet.

This has to stop I thought, as I diagnosed myself with 'recession obsession'. It's just like the 1980s again, I later conceded with an anxious pensioner at a bus stop, realising I didn't remember the '80s and my obsessing over the depressing economy really was out of hand.

My boyfriend has now imposed a limit - I have 10 minutes every evening to update him on the recession, what I read that day, which friends of friends' aunties' brother's girlfriend were the latest to lose their job, which shop is the latest to close.

I guess I better stick to his imposed sanction or my job might not be the only thing I could lose!

And then I would really have something to be depressed about!