When Jesus was asked by the disciples to explain the current Tory agenda he told The Parable of the Bags of Gold; swift synopsis – Bloke off on a trip, gives his staff some cash to manage. When he returns he calls them into his office. He is very pleased with the top manger, who made him some money, but gives a royal bollocking to the unpaid intern who had just looked after it: then took it off him and gave it to his favourite, who he had been to Eton with.
So Cameron and Osborne’s basic policy according to Matthew reads: For whoever has will be given more, and they will have in abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Since that was written things have moved forward and, due to the recently introduced darkness tax and the NHS dental crisis that can be rewritten as: And throw that worthless bottom 80% outside, into the greyness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of gums.
When some kids go all feral, smash-up Poundland and nick some out-of-date twixes they are thrown into a pit for a decade and their mum loses her home. However when loads of bankers and politicians ream the country raw they get a fresh yacht and a council flat to keep some hounds in. Typical.
Who else has got nothing? Performance artists, that’s who. Very few job prospects for a performance artist. It’s not gonna feed the kids and you can’t even get on telly. ‘Britain’s Next Top Performance Artist’ isn’t going to get the ratings, even if they do get Abramović in to be a judge. But, I hear you chorus, they have integrity and are trustworthy and everyone has a soft spot for them, like, y’know, otters or suchlike.
Ah ha, says I, thus to my point; even that is being snatched away.
Last year a man was handing out small envelopes to women in Holborn, London. They contained this text:
Let’s play a game.
I will hand you two envelopes, twenty £50 notes (a total of £1,000 in cash) and twenty blank pieces of paper. You insert the blank pieces of paper into one envelope and the £50 notes into the other. You mix up the two envelopes while I close my eyes, and drop them onto the table. I will chose one of the envelopes, which you will hand to me. You will keep the other envelope.
If you get the envelope containing the money, you keep the £1,000.
This isn’t gambling. You don’t put any of your own money into either envelope. The only person who can lose money here is me.
“Maybe you can tell which envelope contains the money by feel?” I won’t TOUCH the envelopes at all. I will choose the envelope by pointing. I won’t even look at the envelopes when I choose. Fair!
“Who are you and why do you play this game?” I’m a creative person. You can think of me as a performance artist. I like to meet attractive girls and to do exciting things with my money.
If you would like to meet me and play this game once each week, send me a text message. Tell me your name and age. Don’t call, certainly not from a withheld number, as I won’t answer. We exchange a few texts before we speak. Or email me, but I may take a few days to reply.
One rule: if we meet, we play the game the day we meet. You can’t meet me then say you’ll “go away and think about it”. If we don’t play the day we meet, we won’t ever play this exciting game!
Great, thank you Fun London One, and in Times New Roman too – I don’t think so. However if, in the interest of art journalism if you are approached by this performance artist please ask him the following questions:
Is there an autobiographical element to your work; is it, perhaps informed by incidents that occurred in your childhood?
What do you see as the ideal venue for your work? The traditional white cube or do you envisage it better suited to somewhere more atmospheric, perhaps a derelict Danish basement or an abandoned ship?
Who do you see as your audience if any? Is it purely personal? The law enforcement agencies? Or would you like the public to be aware of your practice?
Are you an international performance artist, perhaps taking advantage of the funding cuts to Interpol to present your work more widely?
Do you document your work? Or do you feel that could perhaps limit your career in the long run?
Be aware though of one massive glaring untruth in his little invitation: ‘This isn’t gambling.’ Contacting this man most definitely is gambling.