Monday, 8 February 2016
Candid chiropody photos available in L, XL and XXL
There’s a new economic Armageddon on its way apparently, this one to be caused by the mass selloff of buy to let houses, which will lead, along labyrinthine and occult pathways, to either more public service cuts and general misery or to a glorious revolution or nothing at all. There’s also word that there may be a snap general election on the way, which would be quite a thrill. Let’s see how many people vote Conservative despite all the terrible things they have done. I would imagine that a good number will still vote for them to fix everything and also to keep out the hordes of Johnny and Jane Foreigner who want to swamp Cambridge and make it smell of their spicy foreign cookery. Saint and Greavsie preserve us.
I, like many many people the world over, probably didn’t entirely understand why it all went to hell last time but have been made aware of two possible causes; that it was because the government had borrowed too much money to try and make the country a bit less shit or that “The Banks” did it by using money in new and indecipherable ways. That the national debt is higher now than it was under Labour and the country is still shit for millions of people (some of whom voted for the Tories) does not seem to invalidate the argument that it was Labour what done it, which goes to show how well the message has been sold.
Heather and I were in Liverpool on Saturday and whilst we were queuing for the cash machine at the top of Bold Street we listened to a very angry man tell his woes, at quite a high volume, to another guy who stood there patiently listening. He really was very angry indeed, the Job Centre were treating him like a fool and the old geezer in the flat above him was making a racket and would not stop for anyone. Neither he nor the man he was talking to looked well, they had the grey skin and stooped posture which you can only get if you have nothing to divert your attention from the daily grind of having no money and nothing to look forward to. It was a bloody awful picture he was painting but it did not stop two passing students stopping and filming him with their phones. Heather asked them “Are you going to post that online now? Because it would be bad if that happened to you, wouldn’t it?” They looked a bit sheepish and stopped filming. I would not put it past them to still make a spectacle of this misery.
Money has changed, or so I read yesterday in an article by Lisa Adkins called “What can Money Do?”. It used to measure the value of things and mediate the exchange of one resource with another. You’d do your work, get your wages and exchange it for something else. The money itself, for most people, wasn’t the important bit, it was what you could get with it that mattered. Now most people in the country no longer have this relationship with money, whether they realise it or not. You get your wages and the most pressing use for it is to service your debts. If you’ve not got any debts, well done, you are very clever, give yourself a pat on the back and prepare a sermon or two. For the rest of us there are not only bills to pay, food to buy so we can eat and clothes to buy so that we can keep our Sandy Balls and Cheddar Gorges hidden, there are money men to pay off. That’s where the money gets made, not by making anything but by lending money and charging interest. I’ve often thought that I was in the wrong business, I thought that I should be in the A4 printer paper business since it has been ubiquitous for years but now I see the light and I was wrong. I should have been a loan shark, but a respectable one who just takes your stuff away and doesn’t break your knees. Or even better, doesn’t do anything to you, just keeps extracting the money for ever and ever because you can get a job which pays just enough to keep your nose above water. A successful parasite does not kill its host.
It could be said that there’s nothing about the above story that is especially hard to grasp, so it makes you wonder how so many people got into this position in the first place. I’ve met and had the pleasure of talking to people who put the blame squarely on the shoulders of people spending beyond their means and that if they weren’t such weak and flimsy creatures they would have never got themselves into this mess in the first place. People like that tend to have a pretty large blind spot when it comes to issues of control and trust. If the experts at the bank, people you expect to know about money, are saying to you “it’s ok, take out a loan, everything will be fine” then it is understandable that you would trust their judgement, they are a bank after all. And if a bank offers you a credit card there’s a good chance that you will think “it’s ok, they wouldn’t give me a credit card if it was a bad idea”. Then there’s the mortgage and the finance on the car and once you’ve got all this going, are you thriving? Have you been emancipated? No, you’ve signed away a portion of your life to some blokes in an office somewhere who do fuck all. Sorry, they sell you money and then do fuck all.
Kind of makes one feel a little vulnerable. Kind of makes a person want to find some reliable, trustworthy sort to fix everything and tell you it is alright. Who better than a selection of millionaire public school boys? Who better than a group of chinless wonders who know how the whole thing operates because daddy worked in the city and this knowledge is in their DNA? It’s not as if privileged rich arrogant white neo-liberals (or PRAWNs as I have just started calling them) have ever made life a force 10 shite gale before is it? And where’s the fun in not waking up in the middle of the night, covered in sweat and gripped by the fear that your maths has failed you and there won’t be enough money in the bank to pay all the direct debits this month? That’s what makes life worth living, that burst of adrenaline, your heart pounding in your chest, that scream rising in your throat. It’s better than bungee jumping into a pit of bears wearing a suit made of salmon. It’s a real thrill. Thinking back to that man near the cash machine I may have got it all wrong; he wasn’t angry at all, he was just super stoked because of all the far out wild times he has been having. He’s grey from all the adrenaline. He’s having a fucking riot.
Here's a picture of bear. He doesn't care. Not one bit.