Life used to be fun for teenagers. They used to have money to spend, and free time to spend it in. They used to wear teenage clothes, and meet in teenage coffee bars and discos. Some of them still do.
But for many young people, life is harder now. Jobs are difficult to find. There's not so much money around. Things are more expensive, and it's hard to find a place to live. Teachers say that students work harder than they used to. They are less interested in politics, and more interested in passing exams. They know that good exam results may get them better jobs.
Most young people nowadays, worry more about money than their parents did twenty years. They try to spend less and save more. They want to be able to get home of their own one day. For some, the answer to unemployment is to leave home and look for work in one of Britain's big cities. Every day hundreds of young people arrive in London from other parts of Britain, looking for jobs. Some find work, and stay. Others don't find it and go home again, or join the many unemployed in London.
There used to be one kind of teenage fashion, one style, one top pop group. Then, the girls all wore mini-skirts and everyone danced to the music of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. But now an eighteen-year-old might be a punk, with green hair and chains round his legs, or a skinhead, with short, short hair and right wing politics, or a "rasta", with long uncombed hair and love for Africa. There's a lot of different music around too. There's reggae, the West Indian sound, the rock, there's heavy metal, country and western, and disco. All these kinds of music are played by different groups and listened to by different fans.
When you read the newspapers and watch the news on TV, it's easy to get the idea that British young people are all unemployed, angry and in trouble. But that's not true. Three quarters of them do more or less what their parents did. They do their best at school, find some kind of work in the end, and get married in their early twenties. They get on well with their parents, and enjoy family life. They eat fish and chips, watch football on TV, go to the pub, and like reading about Princess Diana. After all, if they didn't, they wouldn't be British, would they?
unemployment — безработица
to look for work — искать работу
to join the many unemployed — присоединиться к большому числу безработных людей
top pop group — самая популярная музыкальная группа
right wing politics — правоцентристские политические взгляды
uncombed hair — неухоженные, нерасчесанные волосы
reggae — регги (направление в музыке)
to be in trouble - быть в опасности, быть в беде (иметь много проблем)
in one's early twenties — тот, кому за двадцать (возраст от 20 до 25 лет)
to get on well with smb — ладить с кем-то, поддерживать хорошие отношения с кем-то