Short-change the World with a Fiver

Posted by in October's Magazine

As sure as autumn’s leaves are destined to bow out with a death plunge, humanity’s final fall is assured. So why add to the placard mountain? Why blub more tears of pain into the European Angst Lake? Why chew the cover off your copy of ‘No Logo’? Most of all, why waste five quid trying to piss out the fires of our self-created Hades with some pithy everyday radicalism? You can’t change the world for a fiver. You can change the world with a defence budget of $3.2 trillion, let’s not go there.

I’m not advocating acquiescence in the face of the corporate horsemen. It’s still fun to lob a few rocks at them from time to time. But if you’re developing an acute case of ‘anarchist’s elbow’ here are a few alternatives. Anti-activism that really makes a statement, a big two fingers to all of it for half a tenner. Before we begin, a brief disclaimer: None of the suggested antidotes to do-gooderitis will make you feel at all good. Unless of course your definition of feeling good involves intoxicating liquor, shit food and low rent thrills. I’m up for all of that.



So, sod the dolphins. Here’s how to short-change our at once wondrous and despicable orb for less than the price of a ‘Muesli & Teepee Lovers Monthly’. I have actually committed to carrying one of these suggestions out – and thanks to an insane moment of largesse by the Editor of The Leither I won’t be paying for the privilege either. Guess which one I’ll be undertaking and I’ll post a fiver to you.

Take a taxi from your  own house to your own house
A spot of pointless climate change baiting to kick off. What better way to poke a polar bear in the eye than from a safe distance and in the relative comfort of a black ‘Hackney’ cab? Order one. Jump in. Tell the driver to scoot around the block until you’ve endured £5 worth of bellyaching about the trams/bollards/ the council in general. Hey presto! Your own little piece of global warming – actually make that very little; a fiver in an Edinburgh taxi is the time it takes to let the handbrake off.

Feed a cow a fiver’s worth of baked beans
Dig out a clothes peg for this one. Apparently our pasture plodding bovine pals love a good parp. Their every waking moment is spent pumping earth-ending methane into the ether. Yes, our planet is being farted to death. Now you can hasten our demise by forking out for a fiver’s worth of baked beans – best go for ‘own brand’, you’ll get more for your spend – befriending a farmer and feeding them to a cow, thus tripling their flatulence. Simple. Finding a friendly farmer might be tricky though.

Buy 16.6 copies of The Sun newspaper
Dontcha just luv the old ‘current bun’! With its pithy parlance, leering lingo, hilarious headlines and cheeky cheesecake it’s a great British institution! And not in any way a pernicious peddler of politically motivated, socially divisive half-truths designed to prop up the ruthlessly self-serving business interests of a corporate elite best personified by its venal patriarchal head and his extended family. Actually, that’s not fair. ‘News in Briefs’ is good. Particularly after ten pints, a kebab and a lobotomy.

Splash out on a tartan ‘See You Jimmy’ hat
Thanks to imbecilic Georgian tinkering post ’45, Scotland’s national dress is now a garish parody. As though a syphilitic was pumped full of colour-blindness, given the keys to a clown’s dressing up box and invited to ‘do his worst’. Which is why, in the wrong hands, the ‘See You Jimmy’ could be apocalyptic. It perpetuates national caricatures. They in turn make it easy to objectify a whole race or nation. This in turn makes genocide a cinch. Cue global conflict. Giggling tourists take note.

Nick down the boozer and buy a couple of pints
Depending on venue that ‘couple of pints’ might have to be one and a half, or, in the case of the over-priced glitter barns on George Street, just a thimble of lager. You get the picture. Spend the fiver on intoxicating liquor. “But how on earth is that going to disembowel the planet?” you may cry. Well, quite frankly, it isn’t. What it does represent though is less time spent fretting about the ills of this temporal realm and more time knocking your old cynical comfort blanket of denial into shape. Slainte.

So there you have it… a disaster movie for a fiver. Take your pick. Oh, and that bit about ‘a fiver if you guess the one I’ve squandered the Ed’s fiver on’ still stands. Colin Montgomery

Illustration by Dave Sutton

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