Reading Group With Babeworld3000: “The Pleasure Button: Low Income Food Inequality”

Lectures/Talks, Reading Groups

PDF of scans of the text above

Notes made during the reading group:

  • Fish and chips on a Friday night with my Granddad
  • sharing of working class experiences via the reading group
  • “aftertaste of regret” – this hit me because immediately after eating or drinking a “treat” you start to regret it and think about all the things you should have spent the money on instead. Also as someone with an eating disorder I am also hit with the guilt that I shouldn’t have eaten something that unhealthy, and start to spiral about that
  • coca cola- Andy Warhol, shared experience- everyone knows what it tastes like and can have the same experience
  • “press the button” really like the rhythm, it flows well
  • “the pleasure button” it’s exactly that, scratching an itch
  • being working class isn’t a monolith- it can vary area to area, and is really diverse- there are some experiences that are universal, but some that are dependant on various factors
  • This text is definitely very focused on the British working class experience, but it does feel super white
  • Right wingers see working class people as pawns but we are also demonised by the left
  • commodification of working class aesthetics and foods by non working class people
  • “Distracting myself from depression” “I associate bad food with free time”
  • the more visible markers of class and the invisible boxes that are tangible but harder to see
  • fast food is immediate relief and a break from reality- nothing exists but that momentary enjoyment- it can be all we have in an otherwise mundane and hopeless existence full of worry
  • facts mixed with lived experience and feelings
  • real life lived experiences are just as valid as facts and figures, if not more so
  • the current education system needs to change- representation needs to improve, and the curriculum needs to become more diverse and accessible, the system needs to change so that we don’t just have to conform and fit into the system in order to learn, achieve and become successful- we shouldn’t have to perform to fit in

This is the first time I’ve been part of a reading group like this and I really enjoyed it! It was nice to be part of a group of working class artists like myself (I found at uni I was always in the minority in this regard) and to be reading a piece of work specifically about class with these people; we all found we had shared experiences and common ground despite being from a range of places in and outside of the UK. The essay focused on food and it definitely rang true to a lot of my own experiences growing up and even now living alone in London and being self sufficient- my choices even aged 25 are deeply rooted in my working class childhood.

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