Kings of Leon Moment: Alain De Botton
A couple of years back, I stormed into the then-offices of PQC to declare to my much-younger assistant that Kings of Leon, who I had seen the night before on SNL, was well worth a listen. “They will be huge,” I predicted, only to be informed that they had reached and surpassed “huge” six months earlier, having not missed a week on the music charts ever since. To her generation, Kings of Leon was très passé, and I was dorkus maximus.
Utterly missing some phenomenon or another — only to discover it as new and make a fool of myself by enthusing about it much later — is a common occurrence for me, particularly when it comes to things that transpired during my Amber Period (1999-2006). In the grip of booze, I spent a lot of time looking at newspapers in pubs — a great ploy for a solitary drinker to avoid the appearance of dire alcoholism — but can’t have read them much or, if I did, very little stuck.
When I stumble across one of these great missing pieces, I will occasionally gush about them here. Today, I read Alain de Botton’s The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work from cover to cover. I noticed his name in lights over the past decade so I am sure this is Kings of Leon all over again. But, wow, what a great and engaging writer. Take this sentence about how the middle class have developed a completely unrealistic set of expectations about “job satisfaction”, a timely note for me:
In denying the natural place reserved for longing and error in the human lot, the bourgeois ideology denies us the possibility of collective consolation for our fractious marriages and our unexploited ambitions, and comdems us instead to solitary feelings of shame and persecution for having stubbornly failed to become who we are.