Music Features

The Culture Bunker #1

Overeducated, underemployed and stuck in the same town he spent most his life planning to escape, our very own Peter Mattinson sits in his room with only television, computer games, the Internet and his record collection. To keep his sanity teetering on the right side of the line, we've allowed him the space to inflict his musings on his aimless life on the world...


So here we are. Three years and three months since the great adventure of Higher Education began, six months since it ended inside the world's ugliest Cathedral getting a scroll of paper from a course leader who I spent three years ignoring, resenting and plotting against. (We heard she was on happy pills after suffering a nervous breakdown while working on a certain low-grade tabloid. The plan was to swap them with some Grade A Speed that the wacked out surfer type in my house could provide. We bottled out of doing it in the end, obviously.)

I trooped away from home with the pretence of coming out the whole university experience a whole new person. And when you do graduate but don't instantly waltz into the offices of Uber Publishing Ltd, you find yourself at the mercy of Unemployment Benefit, you're not worried. After all, 'Hey, I've got a degree! I'll be earning my share of pretty green in no time'. But seven weeks turns to seven months and you're running out of excuses to why you're still sleeping in the same room you were aged five.

Of course, let's be honest here, not everyone is like me. After all, take away my total of six weeks work placements, I've never worked a paid day in all of my nearly 22 years of life. And that doesn't make for a good CV. But a quick straw poll of friends who graduated the same time as me reveals thus:

* Six of us are unemployed, including one with a 1:1 in Graphic Design.

* Two currently work in Supermarkets, stacking fruit and veg and working the till.

* Two work registering mobile phones.

* One works in a popular out-of-town Car/Bike part type place. While he did this part time for many years as a student, he now has the privilege of doing it all the time.

* Our final contestant works in a record store.

Hardly a glittering range of careers on offer for our young graduates. Currently, three of the unemployed candidates are considering teacher training as a way out (present company included).

Update: One of our unemployed troopers has just been offered a job as a Legal Clerk in Newcastle. Starting salary: £10,500.

A final detail - None of the people listed above graduated in degrees like Media/Golf Studies or Ancient American Cave Painting. We're talking courses for degrees that you might think would prove useful in the real world. Meanwhile, people we know who left school at 16 are earning money some of us might not see until we're 25. As the man said, go figure.

In any case, back in my world, an overview of the day of this long term doleite can be seen thus:

* Wake up sometime between 10/12.

* In the hour immediately after waking up, check for any post and then have a mentally crippling panic attack which renders self useless for any length of time up to 90 minutes.

* Mope around house, waiting for various TV programmes on post-four PM.

* Moping occasionally interjected with using Internet to seek employment/read message boards/read articles by insane American types.

* Any in-house activity is very occasionally interrupted by visits into town to waste time in Library.

* Spend rest of day writing for No Ripcord, or trying to work on script I'll probably never send away due to habitual fear of rejection.

And so on and on into infinity.