Have you ever wanted to know how to make money very quickly, with very little effort involved – perhaps even just through the power of your own mind? Now you can, with my brand new print-out-and-keep earn money while you procrastinate scheme. Lovely money. Just imagine those cool crisp notes gently caressing your face – go on, while no-one’s looking, go taste the money, give it a lick. Tastes a little like stamps no? Or the bland wafer the priest used to have the gall to offer as transubstantiated godflesh? You remember, correct? Earn money in seconds. Follow me…
You’re born, you live and you die. That’s all there is to it. There might be more out there, but who cares. It’s a dog-eat-dog world. Everyone’s out for themselves. Number one. Numero uno. Work hard, play hard. Play to win. No one remembers second place. Prove yourself through work and enjoy your money. Out with the boys and girls, raving, fucking, shopping, spending. Come time, move out of the city, away from all the junkies and illegals, to a Barratt house in Romford or Coulsdon or Barnet. Make your first million. Play the property ladder. Live fast die young.
This is a fairly cursory summary of the banal hedonism that permeates and palliates our bankrupt and moribund existences. Although it stresses free choice through spending power, this liberation is illusory in that it is all shackled by prohibitions. All the power, the youthfulness and the sexual allure that is expected as reward for complicity or creativity are bound up in physical and social restrictions. Zizek put it nicely recently: you are free to enjoy, but only after jogging, only after dieting, only after cleaning your body and removing it of natural hairs and smells.
But getting to our present purpose, if the first paragraph here sounded like the introductory monologue of a sexy new Guy Ritchie film that you like the sound of, then this strategy may help you. So you want to be rich irrespective of skil, goodness, originality or personal growth. Not even charm is in your possession. But the fool and his money are easily parted, and treating other people with contempt will be the first of many attitudes you may need to adopt to dupe others. So how do we go about this, aside the usual TV karaoke contests and displaying your airbrushed underage breasts to British labourers?
A. Become an artist
What is Art? Our contribution to this tedious debate is simply that which is shown in galleries. Culture is a commodity, and artists flog banal artworks based on brand and supposedly challenging concepts or questions.
Producing work is not enough. You have to network. Act like a dick – you’ll be remembered. Court banal controversy – make paintings of any kind of bodily excretion using the fluids concerned, slaughter chickens, make a porn movie with yourself in it, et cetera. Egoism is key but this will be natural to you. Confuse the critics with statements about your obvious importance and the lack of need to prove it. Write letters and articles under pseudonyms to praise your own work. Whatever you do, never give in: you are a genius just like everyone else.
Start with an expensive arts degree from a London college, Goldsmiths is an obvious one. As a rule in fact, stick with the obvious. It’s simple and no-one has the time to look or think about things any more. Let your lecturer be your muse. Steal ideas unironically from Warhol, he was all about that shit anyway. Exploit your audience – rich, white, middle-class curators and gallery owners – by working with easily insulting or taboo subjects to them. Junkies and graffiti represent a street-life they will have never encountered and they’ll happily lap up as Transylvanian decadence. Threaten them with revolution, make works that demand the galleries, museums, libraries be burned, that the young rob and skull-fuck the old, anything ropey like this – it’ll be lauded as ‘the truth’, cutting edge, and shown in many a retrospective to come. Failing that, just steal some genuine working-class expression of boredom or anger and put it in a gallery context.
The history of ideas is one of plagiarism. Make arrogantly lazy art like Hirst’s or Dalwood’s paintings or Enrico David’s sculpture – craft is bourgeois passé. Pay students below minimum wage to make it instead – easy! Behave badly like Vicky Gold. Obtain internship via family connections. MA Fine Art. Saatchi chums.
Marry a rich bore and write occasionally in the Guardian slagging off your contemporaries. Get rich, support Tory government and leave the country. Obviously you’ll need to be a white European middle-class ass to pursue this. Sorry.
B. Commit fraud
Fraud is even more base, involing taking advantage of people’s better or worse natures for personal gain or damage. But you want to be rich, so who cares about the rats you’ve tramped over to get it. It’s their own fault anyway, bloody mugs. Fraud can also be recognised as an amplification of the contradictions of our social interactions, especially with strangers, who which we are sometimes more given over to paranoia or competition. Government and corporate fraud are the most profitable rackets to get in, as there’s the most public money to loot and there’s no chance of prosecution – if you’re caught out, simply threaten to implicate your colleagues, who will always be just as guilty as you are.
Fraud is most easily carried out in a position of power or responsibility. Deceiving people for personal gain constitutes the essence and purpose of advertising and public relations. Thieving money from pensions and savings into private pockets is the celebrated pastime of the financial markets. Rather like the state-directed terrorism and killings carried out by the army and the air-force, any activity which benefits the state will always take the side of the Law. If you are involved already in these lucrative professions then my blessing to you, otherwise this should be the first step for any aspiring fraudster.
Lacking education and the ability to forge it, the aspiring fraudster must not abandon hope. There are Ponzi and Pyramid schemes to perpetuate. How about selling the secrets of weight loss on the internet via pop-ups – eat well and exercise? Or flogging Brilliant Blue FCF-dyed aspirin as a libido-boosting wonder pill? Even a bit of street-side Three-card Monte or the Shell Game will undoubtedly dupe a few gullible tourists. And if you can boast the charisma, you can get into the real area of big bucks: religions and cults. Offer your services as an exorcist, or trick post-junked hippies into your anti-materialistic commune? Or host conferences in Kennington bingo halls on Jesus Christ’s business tips.
C. Fake your own death for insurance purposes
A fairly easy option, and a method of which Arthur Cravan is a fine exemplar, or British canoeist John Darwin in recent years. Faking your own death is an effective way of escaping debts or making a mint on life insurance, but requires a trustworthy accomplice to start.
You need a form of death without a body – suicide or misadventure by drowning is an effective option. Less scrupulously, consider depositing evidence like a little blood, teeth or a wallet at the site of a terrorist attack or railway accident. Alternatively, tell friends that you are planning a lone road trip to some dangerous part of South America or the Congo. Feign a botched kidnapping by drug-fuelled militia by smearing your car with your own blood (collect this gradually beforehand) and then setting it alight. Hot air balloon or mountaineering disasters can also be faked.
Be creative. And plan effectively. Learning how to make and use boats is one option. Obtain at least one faked passport, driver’s licence and national insurance number. Travel by hitching where possible, or coaches and trains elsewhere, avoiding flying except where essential. Have your accomplice (now with the insurance money) meet you in a country without an extradition treaty e.g. Panama, the Arab states, China, and set up your new life. Of course human nature will ensure this cannot possibly succeed.
From a recent abandoned project. Why shouldn’t a plucky youth from the mean streets of…ahem…it doesn’t matter…want to make his first squillion ripping off his fellow skins with symbolic fancies? Why – if there are no morals eh? Ok that’s enough, fin.