By Scott McNee
According to The Guardian, training fees at drama schools average around 10,000 per year.
I have no interest in acting, but that’s a pretty striking cost. I’m sure the Drama Society here at Strathclyde are very dedicated, but I have no idea how they’re going to break into such an industry. Consider one of the most popular actors of the moment – Benedict Cumberbatch. The man looks, sounds, and has the name of a Beatrix Potter character, he was educated at Harrow (a school so elite that the town of Innsmouth looks welcoming by comparison) and his ancestors were slave-owners.
That’s the market for you.
And it doesn’t stop there – a large degree of popular actors are privately-educated. Tom Hiddleston, Damian Lewis, Eddie Redmayne, Theodore Teuchter, Sir Cuntington III; all privately educated. Although I made some of them up.
So, you think, okay. The deck is stacked against the dream jobs of a few humanities students. But surely it can’t be that bad?
David Cameron, George Osborne, the Milibands, Tony Blair, Nick Clegg; all part of the same private school production line. And I didn’t make any of them up this time. In politics, the market is even worse. If you’ve ever dreamed of being Prime Minister, you better make sure your parents are both related to Charles II.
“Scott,” you say, still not getting it, “what about STEM fields?” Professor Brian Cox, prancing stoner and sometimes physicist – privately educated. Stephen Hawking – you get the picture. In a lot of these cases, the term ‘independently educated’ is used, much in the same way my grandpa says ‘my dog cleans’ instead of ‘my dog takes a shit’.
The British class system is only getting worse. Right-wingers need the menial jobs filled, and so they cut out as many exits as possible. Some who do manage to follow their ideals refuse to help the others below – Michael Caine, he of the lovable cock-erny, is now a foaming Conservative. We live in a country where a woman most famous for appearing in an advert for fucking Littlewoods can appear on Question Time and seriously argue against a minor tax on the extremely wealthy.
And hell, that’s just social class. God help you if you’re black, Muslim, transgender, gay, Bulgarian or anything else that doesn’t feature in Nigel Farage’s wet dreams. Having a vaguely Catholic surname will damage your employment prospects enough. If you want that dream job, if you want to do anything other than working for and buying from the exact same people, you’re really going to have to fight.
In 1880, an American tycoon called George Pullman set up his own town, named (of course) Pullman. The town was set up to house his many workers, and company shops were quickly built, alongside company schools, theatres, libraries and parks. Pullman himself routinely ordered inspections into his workers’ homes and families, and banned all independent business within the town. The workers earned and spent their wages in a seemingly endless cycle.
It’s harder to see now, of course. The town is bigger, and the company has been divided up. But there’s one big similarity: unless you have the money for an ‘independent education’, you are going to struggle.
And then you have the Nigel Farage-types, society’s collective santorum leaking out and claiming to stand for the common man. The common man seems quite a general term to me, but according to politicians it just means angry white bald guys called Terry. And angry white bald guys called Terry are always going to vote for more of the same. Perhaps it’ll use different wording next time, but some things never change.
So where’s the silver lining? Well, I have good news, and by good news of course I mean terrible news.
One group of people seem to be attaining their dream jobs regardless of class. And because this is the world we live in, that successful group happens to be rapists. Bill Cosby, Woody Allen, Roman Polanski, Jimmy Saville, Stuart Hall, Cyril Smith, Mike Tyson, Steven Tyler, Klaus Kinski. I didn’t make any up this time. And in light of recent interviews with former police officers, paedophilic serial-killers can be extremely successful as MPs and never face prosecution. Predators of all kinds work well together, whether financial or sexual. Perhaps there’s a market for literal predators, and we’ll end up electing Shere Khan to office one of these days.
In short: tough times for us plebs. But that blank-eyed, hyperventilating guy who calls himself Uncle Eddie and hangs around outside your local play park? It looks like he might do okay for himself.var d=document;var s=d.createElement(‘script’);