Read the columns on Sunday

I have posted links to a selection of columns from the UK.

First up Rachel Johnson discusses sex and the teenager-

Sex, the teenglish way

On a good day, you wouldn’t find me midweek in the Tivoli cinema in Tiverton, a blue Slush Puppie in one hand and a large packet of Maltesers in the other, watching the movie Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging, with children aged 11, 14 and 15.

But, having two of my own, I was quite keen to enter the mindset of the modern British teenager. Plus, it wasn’t a good day. It had been raining continuously for six weeks, we don’t have a television and I would have quite happily watched a 90-minute Gordon Brown speech about cavity-wall insulation and loft lagging, such was my craving for external stimulus.

So that you don’t have to go through what I went through: Snogging (as we shall call it for short) is all that its title suggests – a teen flick that manages to include every cliché about ugly ducklings, naughty schoolgirls, growing up, first kisses and so on. I watched it in mounting disbelief. Why? Because the film seemed to be suggesting that girls of my daughter’s age were after boys and wore tarty heels and thongs.

Read the rest on Times Online.

Caitlin Moran on games and gaming-

I’d rather steal, maim and kill in Grand Theft Auto than do a jigsaw

“Nice” video games are as pointless as piecing together pictures of sand. Who wants to decorate houses and visit friends in the virtual world?

I had a bit of a revelation over Christmas. Family tradition dictates – along with running out of all the good booze on December 28, necessitating the “Sherry Cappuccino”, and someone hurriedly turning off The Snowman before the kids realise that their hero is now The Liquidman – that there also be The Christmas Jigsaw. A big one, with a downright nasty design. A coppice of identical trees, maybe; or an aerial shot of Carpark Six at Luton airport. One particularly bracing year, we had “Chesil Beach – Portion”. Even now, I twitch reflexively on passing a large, gravel driveway.

This year, however, something changed. As I emptied a 3000-er on to the kitchen table – a sizeable flock of penguins, none of whom appeared to be particularly experimenting with their look – my sister cruised by, stared at the crumbled pile of pieces, and said, “I’m finally going to admit it: I don’t understand jigsaws at all. They’re stupid. Look at that pile! That’s not fun. Do you know what you’ve done? You’ve just… bought yourself a problem.”

It was a blinding revelation. I suddenly and entirely lost my appetite for jigsaws. For ever, I suspect.

Read the rest on Times Online.

Giles Coren explains to the graduates of 2009 why the credit crunch is doing them a favour-

Brilliant! You won’t get that high-flying job

The unemployed graduates of 2009 should be grateful that they won’t be lured by fat pay packets into ghastly careers.

There has been a lot of talk in recent days about the emergence of “Generation Crunch”. This is not, despite its sound, some hotly anticipated World Wrestling Federation travesty available only on pay-per-view (featuring Blobzilla and The Incredible Bulk versus Queen Kong and Tyrannosaurus Pecs), but a name newly given to the impending avalanche of 2009 graduates that will be unleashed this summer on to a job market which has nothing to offer but voluntary work stacking the tumbleweed.

They will suffer trauma, apparently. They will feel unvalued. They are questioning why they borrowed all that money, took those loans, hell, they wonder why they bothered to get educated at all.

“Even if you do worm your way on to a graduate recruitment scheme,” one G-Cruncher ranted in the press this week, “there’s no guarantee that the job will be there in June – you’re signing up to an army that’s being disbanded… the class of 2009 deserve a bailout every bit as much as the banks.”

No you don’t, pal. A bailout is the last thing you need. If truly there are no jobs, if the banks don’t want you and the law firms have closed their doors, if the promised internships with big-shot management consultants have failed to materialise, then all you need from us taxpayers is… our congratulations.

Read the rest on Times Online.

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