Have we forgotten how to have fun?
What would Cyndi Lauper think? Her infamous 80’s feel-good track ‘Girls just want to have fun’ has been re-worded by our generation to the tune of: ‘Girls just want to have funds’ - and the even more long-winded: ‘Girls just want to have fundamental rights.”
Now let me put my stake in the ground right now. I as a female do want funds (stop teasing me Ganni, you wicked temptress) and I do clearly also want fundamental rights.
However in amongst all the (admittedly not fun) issues we as a generation have inherited, have we become too issues focused? Too PC? Too angry? Too hustle obsessed? Have we forgotten how to have good old-fashioned fun?
Big Brand Party
I was reading The Wife by Meg Wolitzer recently, about a young woman living in 1960s America. The character, Joan writes in the novel that she is going to a Bid Band Party. Naturally (all Millennial business woman that I am) I misread this as big brand party.
Don’t get me wrong, a pretty fun sounding business event that I might run for a Yolk client: (an animated talk on brand-building to the tune of some banging live DJ sets by The Mac Twins and Hattie Pearson and lush orange saffron wild cocktails by Into the Gathering Dusk - if you were wondering)
But no, I got it wrong. Joan is going to a big band party. Good old-fashioned music, drinking and dancing. Probably tequila shots in the double figures, dancing on slippery tables, regretful snogging and potentially a nip slip.
And I thought, “how fun”.
Is fun something we’ve forgotten?
In our ferocious and ongoing attempts to right the world’s wrongs and combat our own chronic over-tiredness, has fun been sidelined? I think yes. I think that fun has become at best tacky, at worst a frivolous luxury we deem we cannot afford.
The ‘big band’ events of yesterday have been replaced with an influx of events and articles helping us to ‘relax’, sort out our crippling low self-esteem and lay off the caffeine. When we’re not fixing our fucked up chakras (disclaimer - I am a yoga teacher), we’re learning how to become the CEO our mum always wanted us to marry, throw away all signs of plastic (ick!) or how to break up with burgers and pizza and learn to love rice vinegar and miso-roasted aubergine.
What is less likely to be on the agenda is bowling (love ya babes), roller blading or just a pint at the pub. Instead, we’re in the habit of carefully selecting only the leisure pursuits that have a purpose. Ones that consciously contribute to our ‘wellbeing’, personal or business development or common good. Pursuits that perhaps were traditionally reserved for ‘grown-ups’.
(L-R Karen Brady podcast, Jess Ratcliffe Instagram, Bumble Bizz Instagram, the whole of the Balance Festival website)
I cannot listen to 90% of my subscribed podcasts because they are all teaching me how to become a better person / boss / entrepreneur / wife etc and are 100% not a hoot. As Yolk’s Content Lead, Jenna Campbell says: “Podcasts are a full-time job.” There are so much wellbeing, eco, fitness, campaigning, business development, personal development, Marie Kondo-ing tips that I am supposed to be absorbing, that I of course have no time for wine or fun. (Disclaimer: I drink lots of wine, can you tell?)
To make matters worse the fun police are on patrol on social media too. In early 2019 we saw the #10YearChallenge go viral. A social media craze where celebs and mere mortals posted pictures of themselves from 2009 and 2019 alongside one another. A seemingly fun task I nearly got involved with, revealing ‘gap year Daisy’ to the world . But I got spooked.
Heaps of voices across my feed were telling me that the only #10YearChallenge I should be interested in was global warming. Admittedly a huge issue, but also seemingly - I thought - unrelated to this.
So I refrained. Poo-pooed by the sheer frivolousness of my non-global-warming-themed-posting, I kept ‘Daisy at Thailand full-moon party’ safely within my Facebook locker.
Before I continue with this article - I would like to note for the fun-police my acknowledgement of the sheer amount of issues we are facing at the moment.
In no particular order:
Career Ladder Bullshit
Rise in Mental Health Problems
Social Media fucktwads
Great, now that’s over let’s get back to having fun.
Fun is elusive, hidden, non-prescribed. You can’t order it online or take a picture of it. It is the look you try to give off on Instagram, when you open your mouth and smize, but it can’t really be experienced by anyone else but you. Fun is personal.
I worry that we have got used to faking fun - not living it.
But real fun is yours for the taking.
I moved to Manchester in 2017 and am having some of the best fun of my life.
We dance to Oasis (soz, cliché) and invite our neighbours to the pub. We finish work at 4 (often) and treat rules with disdain. We enjoy good food and we reject too much polish.
Fun is simple, stupid, free, friends gathering, music, dancing, laughing, experimenting, failing, not knowing what the bleedin’ heck you are doing.
Fun is not always pretty, it is not Instagram-friendly and it cannot be curated.
Fun is making mistakes and making memories.
Fun is going to a comedy night, fun is ending up on stage at a comedy night, dreaming about becoming the next Micky Flanagan and spending the next 6 months writing your first Edinburgh show.
Fun is dancing to Calvin Harris in your bedroom and eating a burger and chips, followed by cheesy chips and not going to the gym the next day because THAT IS OK.
Fun is going to a wine car boot sale, eating a picnic on the beach and getting sand in your sandwiches, or making your dog a daisy-chain collar.
Fun is letting your hair down and acknowledging that despite all the shit that is going on in the world you are entitled to joy.
(L-R Marbella Club in the 60’s and 80’s, Kate Moss, Wine Car Boot, London)
Fun is letting go.
It doesn’t have to be good and it is not perfect. But neither are you and neither is the world and nor will it ever be.
Fun is human and you deserve it.
So whilst I will not say fuck you to climate change, fundamental rights or a decent career progression, what I will say is that you do not own me. I will fight for you but I will also fight for me. And I need some fun.
How to find some fun
Bongos’ Bingo - Join the Bingo Rave phenomenon (UK-wide)
Try not to take it all too seriously.