The late Sebastian Horsley said in his rakish yet forgivably eloquent memoirs that the worst thing about getting older is that it gets harder to find anyone who hasn't amounted to something by the time they were your age; a bona fide phrase, especially true in his case, as a continually failing artist with grand designs for his life but perhaps truer still for succeeding generations.
The weekend just passed, a friend and I were discussing the notion of youth in the pub with reference to the fact she and I entertained more teenage friendships nowadays than we did ten years ago, whether it was precociousness or a curiosity for experience that prompted me to seek elder acquaintance was most likely influential however it bore largely from the fact that I felt my peers had nothing interesting to say and I don't think that was an assumption made in arrogance; they were actually terribly dull.
The newer additions to 'Generation Y' were different in that they were raised in a more neoliberal atmosphere and had familiarity with communications, media and digital technologies, meaning they had a lot of access to information for inspiration for self-betterment and were also less ignorant and more cultured individuals. Especially those residing in metropolitan epicentres, more so in the cosmopolitan capital where youth is not about loitering around shops drinking cider and longing to grow up. There are more thrills in the city than you can shake an oyster card at whether you're partial to swing dancing, Venetian mask making workshops or would just rather like to go to a filthy rave in a fancy gallery; the options are in abundance.
It seems the children of the 90's are more attuned to their wishes and faff about less than the generations of old, we have 8 year old boys establishing themselves as relationship gurus after writing books on how to talk to girls, 12 year old avant garde fashion designers, 14 year old literary sensations dedicating their books to Peter Doherty whilst certain passages indulge the protagonist's sexual fantasies of him whilst my favourite electro-synth duo utterly amazed me with the quality of their music at the tender age of 18, however I have since discovered that those songs that I so adored were written and recorded when they were in fact 15, more accomplished still. So it seems absurd to ever accuse youth being wasted on the young.
One of my nearest and dearest at University, a girl the recipient of the young entrepreneur of London Award at the age of 14 and an established socialite at 16, got terribly melancholy on her 23rd birthday, declaring "I am too old to die young." But in this new dawn of ambition and the delaying of responsibilities it's hard to define youth by a number, in my East London contingent alone the members pursuing the same ideals and living undifferentiated modes of existence includes people more than ten years my juniors to beyond 15 years my senior. In the era of the epidemic of 'Peter Pan Syndrome' people are finding themselves sooner and remaining as they are and not falling victim to old fashioned mores and jaded old git maladies. In short the bloom of youth lasts longer and consists of the less lost. Youth is not an age, but a lifestyle choice and a certain mindset of openness, non-conformity and fanciful freedoms; you could say a different class living outside the tedium of society. Characterised by romance and rebellion, artistry and activism, excellencies and excess and daisy chain dreams. I look forward to a summer of feeding the ducks. Anyone for an egg and spoon race?