Thursday, July 26, 2007

Regarding the reflexive plasticity of the labour market / gay shower scene

Our mate Steve recently had to put up with a work colleague's five minute rant about how all these Poles should be sent back to their own country and stop coming over here and stealing our jobs.

People see the job market as a zero-sum game. It's a common myth that one job position being taken results in one fewer jobs out of a finite number available. It's not true. Taking one position can create one or more other jobs.

Here's an example. You apply for a job but you get turned down, because you are manifestly an idle bastard and your C.V. is a work of baroque fiction. The job goes to someone else, who for the sake of argument, we shall say is Polish. The department she works for benefits greatly from her hard work, becoming more efficient and so the company decides to expand it, creating five new positions. Had a less dilligent worker filled the position, the company could have just slugged along as usual. The Polish worker just expanded the labour market. Try and be grateful.

This should be bloody obvious, but apparently not. Write it on a piece of paper and pin it on your co-workers face, Steve.

We are living in a climate of fear. People, to some extent understandably, fear what they don't know. Rapid societal change can be worrying for people. The fact is, Polish workers aren't claiming benefits. The UK labour market needs them. They are doing jobs that British born people don't want to do, or are not qualified to do. It reflects the fact that the government has left a whole generation of non-academically minded people untrained because they were rushed into university to do pointless degrees instead of learning a trade.

Last saturday night at Tony's house I watched Tango and Cash. Tango and Cash is the gayest film ever made. An execrable piece of buddy trash, it's hard to believe that the film makers weren't having a private giggle at goading the witless Sylvester Stallone into playing a flaming homosexual. Stallone is supposed to be the urbane, intellectual straight-man to Kurt Russel's bad boy maverick cop. Witness Stallone's odd, high-pitched accent as he battles with the limitations of his monotone voicebox. His lips move only for the words to flop out several seconds too late, like dead fish from a keep-net. They clearly overdubbed some of the more complicated bits. When I say this film is gay I mean it in the true sense. As Ruthless Reviews says, "Not only do Russell and Stallone shower together at one point, but they look at each other's cocks while naked. And then talk about each other's cocks. We see both of their asses for way too long. It is really inexplicable." I am glad I watched Tango and Cash. As one commentator on a torrent forum said, "It's a good film for people who like to drink in the daytime. I'm drunk right now".

Current reading

Gulag: A History - Anne Appelbaum
Britain BC - Francis Pryor
London: A Short History - A.N. Wilson
The Diversions Of Purley - Peter Ackroyd
The Undercover Economist - Tim Harford
Dark Water - Koji Suzuki

Friday, July 13, 2007


Ladies and gentlemen, we have hit the modern art motherlode. If you are irritated by Banksy’s feeble pictorial metaphors and his tiresome band of metro-wank apologists, brace yourself for the poisonous Dash Snow.

This fawning hagiographic shit-stream comes courteousy of Ariel Levy, a New York Magazine hack.

Charlie Brooker said he wrapped up his TV Go Home site because television had become so absurdly dunder-headed that it was beyond parody. He cited as an example the show ‘Touch The Truck’, in which someone is rewarded for touching a truck for a lengthy period of time. When I first read about Dash Snow I thought it had to be the work of Brooker or Chris Morris. But no, it’s horribly real.

"The artist Dash Snow rammed a screwdriver into his buzzer the other day. He has no phone. He doesn’t use e-mail."


"So now, if you want to speak to him, you have to go by his apartment on Bowery and yell up."


"Lorax-like, he won’t come to the window to let you see that he sees you: He has a periscope he puts up so he can check you out first."


"Partly, it comes from his graffiti days, this elusiveness, the recent adolescence the 25-year-old Snow spent tagging the city and dodging the police."

Dangerous. Straddling the line between crime and art!

“He’s pretty paranoid about lots of things in general, and some of it was dished out to him, but others he’s created himself,” says Snow’s friend, the 27-year-old artist Dan Colen, who—like so many of their friends—has made significant artistic contributions to the ever-expanding mythology of Dash Snow.


"Colen and Snow went to London together this fall for the Saatchi show in which they both had work. (Saatchi had bought one of Colen’s sculptures for $500,000.)"

Seal of approval!

"Saatchi got them a fancy hotel room on Piccadilly. They had to flee it in the middle of the night with their suitcases before it was discovered that they’d created one of their Hamster’s Nests, which they’ve done quite a few times before. To make a Hamster’s Nest, Snow and Colen shred up 30 to 50 phone books, yank around all the blankets and drapes, turn on the taps, take off their clothes, and do drugs—mushrooms, coke, ecstasy—until they feel like hamsters."

Wow. Wow. Ensuring underpaid hotel cleaners have a really hard day at work. Smearing your privileged foie-gras shit in the faces of the working class. That's so now... just so... so brave.

"McGinley was lying on the floor next to stacks of the New York Post and the Daily News with words and pictures cut out of them. “I’ve always been a big fan of the Post, and I remember in 1992, or whenever the fuck it was, Desert Storm, the Gulf War? Remember? I’d always read the Post, and there’d be really rad headlines about it,” said Snow. “I was just down for it! I’m down with anyone, even if they’re bad people, if they’re just, like, anti-American, you know what I mean? This is a series I’m working on,” he pointed at some collages on the wall with lots of pictures of Saddam Hussein, whose likeness is also tattooed on Snow’s arm. “They’re old headlines, and they all have come on them. Yeah, mine.”

I fought with this for hours. Am I giving this more time than it deserves? Isn’t it just spoilt kids fucking around in their trust-funded bubbles? Doesn’t it merit no more than a laconic dismissal?

No. No, no, no. The correct response is disgust. There is a moral duty to be outraged. This is art at its most decadent, ignorant and socially parasitical. It’s enough to turn me into a Trotskyist class warrior. Dash Snow, all his toadying friends and the wretched witch that wrote this should be sent to Abu Ghraib. They should be allowed to escape, just so they can be sent back again. Repeat until dead.


Last night I had the dream that has been seared into the collective consciousness and troubled millions. I was in a plane that had been seized by terrorists. It was, inevitably, being flown into a building. I was preparing to be murdered. At my side was a glorious Islamic martyr, staring at me with a vicious pride. The last thing I wanted to see when I died was the triumphant face of a deluded idiot. So I looked at the building we were crashing towards and tried to think about architecture as I began to suffocate.

I hope it was Dash Snow's apartment.