Somewhere a trustafarian is watching Neighbours
She has lived like this for the past couple of years. Public school educated with a university degree, she does not want a job. She had one once, but resigned after a few weeks. She has enough personal wealth not to need unemployment benefit, and occupies her day with tasks that would take the rest of us half an hour. When we lived together, I would come home from a hard day's toil and ask what she had done that day. A typical reply would be 'I went to the bank' or 'I composed a letter to the gas board, but I'm writing it tomorrow', or 'I did the washing up'.
During the day, various like-minded and bank-balanced characters would drift in and out of the flat. There was Mike, who gave up his job and went travelling for a few years, spending most of his time on the beaches of Goa. He is 27 and his parents financed his trip. And there was Emma, who has gone back to university to do some half- baked course that she will never finish, and Alison who is doing a course in the afternoons just to fill in time before the next rave.
Anne, Mike, Emma and Alison are typical of a small but distinctive group of young people known as trust-fund hippies, or trustafarians. They drift through life without aim or motivation. They sit at home slowly expanding into the sofa, smoking soft drugs and consuming copious amounts of daytime television. Devoid of energy, they often dream up madcap schemes that they will never bother to bring to fruition. They are vehemently critical of society, but refuse to participate in it. They do not vote, but constantly complain about the Government; they were anti-poll tax, but didn't quite know what it entailed, and they regularly take part in demonstrations.
The trustafarian is usually the offspring of some middle-class over- achiever or member of the landed gentry. These people have never known financial insecurity, so have never been motivated by the fear of debt. It is this lack of fear that allows them the luxury of a Neighbours double-bill, that makes them choosy about career prospects - if any - and permits them the huge freedom to experiment. And yet this freedom has its dangers. In the past six or seven years, one I knew died from a drug overdose and three more were admitted to mental institutions to be treated for drug-induced psychosis.
Born in the late Sixties, trustafarians are Thatcher's children. Brought up on the consumerism of the Eighties, they have rejected the terrestrial for more ethereal pursuits such as Buddhist chanting. They have wholeheartedly embraced the rave movement, whose Sixties 'turn on, tune in, drop out' mentality is particularly attractive to those with little to do.
At last Sunday's rally in Hyde Park to celebrate 50 years of LSD, the flower children with painted faces, wearing tie- dye shirts and plaiting each other's hair, were not Special Brew travellers in rusty trailers, leading their dogs about on fraying string, but urban middle- class hippies with Goa tans and mirrored skirts from Thailand. Mike, Alison and Emma were all there, sitting cross-legged on the grass. They had come straight from a rave.
These are the lost children of parents who were too busy to notice their lethargy and under-achievement. Throughout childhood they had expensive holidays and presents in place of attention. Theirs is a case of too much money, much too young. When you had everything that the rest of us could only dream of before your twenties, there is very little to aspire to or hope for. Trustafarians are entirely a product of their upbringing and are some of the most frustrating people to live with. If all else fails in life, there is one thing of which I can be certain. That at 1.30pm somewhere in some sitting room, Anne will be tuning in to Neighbours.
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