Tuesday, 29 November 2011


Hmm. Yeah.  Flashmobs.

A phenomenom of the past couple of years.  They're pretty awesome and inspiring.  Like this one:

Makes you smile doesn't it?  You can't help it.  Yeah, sure - it's sentimental and a bit 'chocolate-boxey' but it touches something.  When you're watching it, you forget everything.  You don't even need to evaluate what's happening.  There's no judgement going on - you're just grinning and marvelling at it.

And d'ya know the recent trend of flashmobbing is a potent pointer to the latent but irrepressible creativity of people.

It's a perfect antidote to the selfish, grabbing, limiting M.O. of current Western culture and society.

Because it's given freely, utilising people's natural talents with no other motive than to surprise, delight and entertain.

Jesus - it's about one of the only demonstrations in the current consumerist society of an example of talent and effort freely given. Just because.

It embodies everything in total contrast to what we're all used to.

we expect to pay for what we get.  In other words, there's a trade off.  That trade off doesn't really have any basis in reality anymore.  If we were to evaluate everything we buy in terms of the time it takes us to earn it, I think we might make different decisions about what we buy. 

Try this experiment for just one week. Take out the amount of money you can actually afford to spend in one week.  Break it down into your hourly rate: i.e. £200 = 40 hours work at £5 hour (adjusted for compulsory tax and N.I.).  Then spend according to that - for example, if you fancy a BLT from Sainsbury's for lunch at a cost of £3.50 - that's about 45 minutes work.  Perhaps you consider that a fair exchange?  What about a magazine at about £2 - approximately 24 minutes of toil... hmmm, why not?  A packet of fags - about £7 - so that's about 1 hour 24 minutes.

Let's add that up - you've bought a sandwich, a gossip magazine and some fags = 2 hours and 34 minutes.  About 1/3 or your working day.

You haven't even factored in breakfast, a couple of lattes, dinner, drinks with friends, sky rental, broadband, mobile phone rental, the latest handbag, today's newspaper, rent, energy bills, water bills, rates, insurances, petrol or travel costs... haven't.  even.. started.

But you don't think of it like that do you?  You don't convert it into an exchange.  You don't think "well, after I take out all the 'have to' expenses, those things that I can't exist without (rent, power, water, tax, N.,I. - in other words the things you HAVE to pay), I'm left with £X and that equates to 'so much per hour of my time.'  And the reason is, you don't deal in cash.  You don't even deal in numbers and figures - you just deal in a plastic card - a card that says "Pin OK".

You don't even get to handle or feel the transaction.  It has no reality.  It's a plastic and virtual transaction.  And as long as it is - then what you're spending isn't real, what you're buying isn't real.  None of it has any real value.  Until you're able to translate what you buy into the effort you have to put out in order to purchase that stuff, it will never have any reality.

I used to have a cafe down a side-street.  And we engaged in bartering with the other local businesses.  The art gallery 2 doors down gave us a damaged picture (which is magnificent) for 1 months free food and coffee.  The bar over the road gave us free drinks for free food.  The local cab driver ate and pledged to pay us later and when we needed a cab, he'd put us first regardless of the time of day or night.  Our nearest competitor recommended us when he was full and vice versa.  It was collaberation in the true sense of the word.  There was a trade off - but the point is; there didn't need to be.  Many times, people ate and drank and paid later, when they could. And a certain young man had a very public and graphic breakdown and his business was kept going by local people who had become friends and empathised with him, until he could come back and carry on. You don't get that working for Curry's or Sainsbury's.

Because the over-riding dynamic in all of that is collaboration - and that collaboration can only come from connection and ...... generosity.  And that only comes from a desire to create and share.  Creativity isn't only about art and writing and music; it's about whatever someone can do that doesn't involve sacrifice.  It's about that which you do because you love it. Because when you do it, you're no longer neccesary.  When you do it, it's apparent after that it was never neccessary for there to be an idea of 'me' doing 'this'.  In fact, it's totally selfless.  Literally.

You don't just lose yourself in the doing of it... you realise that that's the only reality - which is why it feels so alive and invigorating and energising and authentic.  Because the erroneous overlay of 'me' doing 'this' is dropped.  Isn't necessary. 

Most of the time; although we think otherwise,  everything IS selfless, but most of the time, there is an IDEA of self - me 'doing' this.. and it's only at those times when  action happens without the idea of 'me' doing 'this' that it is completely creative and carries with it no expectation of trade-off.

Which brings me back neatly to the flashmob.  The original impulse was just to entertain, surprise, and delight for no other purpose than because they could.

It's the same as pissing into the ocean.You know that it doesn't really make a difference, but.. fuck, it feels good.

And it carries no cost, or monetary recompense, no reward other than the surprise and the delight and the smiles... the 'just because I can'.

And it's why I feel so mightily fucked off that the magnificent video above turns out to be an advert for a mobile phone company.  In the end, everything gets prostituted and corporatised.

And as we piss into the ocean; creatively and uniquely sprinkling our effort into the rollling sea out there, the roaring wave breaks and sprays back that piss into our face.

Whether we decide to stop pissing is up to us.......

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