George O Well: Life In The Time of Precarity
London is a city where everyone is at the end of their tether. It’s an amplification of what will happen to all cities if our current projectory continues. It’s Mega City One. A futuristic dystopia.
After struggling here on and off for the few years I am faced with the prospect of having nowhere to live and no job. After being sent home 20 minutes before a scheduled shift at some hipster bar off brick lane, I am also told there will be no more shifts available apart from cover and should not rely on that job. I guess this is what “precarity” is all about. The colonisation of any form of stability.
I have lived in some of the poorest areas of London, I see poverty all around me every day. I also see pride and community. The pride that enables you to laugh and joke with your friends despite your problems. The pride that allows you to partake in the most menial and humiliating of work and still be able to crack a smile at a stranger when confronted with the bizarro world we live in.
As a non binary trans person I do have a very specific perspective on living here. London is a city that allows me great freedom to just be whilst simultaneously placing me in a constant state of incarceration. The jailers in this invisible prison are the landlords, the bosses, the cops, the guardian companies, the immigration enforcement officers.
Through this constant onslaught, my community has become fractured. They’ve closed down our clubs and bars, they evict us, they deport us and we’re meant to be fucking grateful for living in a more tolerant society. I feel isolated. My friends who do have stable jobs are unable to socialise because they’re exhausted. Sometimes it’s me who’s too exhausted to leave the house. This poverty is fucking exhausting.
I’m relying on the kindness of my parents who help pay my rent. I’m relying on the kindness of my friends who support me emotionally. The kindness of my flatmates who don’t say anything when I take their food in order to have breakfast before I leave the house. Even with the privileges of these support structures, I’m basically a big burden. It’s depressing isn’t it.
I feel worn down mentally and physically. Should I move back to my mom’s house in a city I have little connection with and few friends? I think that will just lead to further isolation and potentially being too depressed to work again. There is no time to decide, no time to organise, no time to explore. Nothing to do but just keep on trying. Guess I better start packing regardless.
George O Well