September 21st, 2003


Sunday Afternoon

Among the things this journal currently lacks (aside from any kind of visual appeal!) is lists. I've never been one for compulsive listing, but I thought I should make an effort to make one at least
As many people do, I sometimes dream about inexplicably coming into the possession of large amounts of money. With this money, I set up a small business which is able to operate free from any worries about its actual viability. The various small business ideas are as follows, in no particular order:
1. Natto/Tofu factory. As far as I know, there is currently no one producing natto in the UK (Click here for slightly insane view of natto). Furthermore, the tofu that's sold in health food shops here doesn't bear any relation to East Asian varieties. Let's flood the UK with cheap natto and proper tofu. The problem with this idea is that it almost makes business (and certainly nutritional) sense and it's hard to heavily fantasise about natto production.
2. Kinokaffe. Never quite worked out the spelling of that one. This is a mixture of cafe and cinema. The cinema probably only seats 100 at the most. Films are shown both in the cinema and, simultaneously, in the cafe and toilets as well. The programming is unashamedly 60's and 70's arthouse with occasional retrospectives and special screenings. It also has a great collection of Soviet/East European animation. The cafe only serves one choice of meal a day- could be porridge one day, takoyaki the next. Buttered crumpets are available at 4pm, but just for ten minutes . It's a cinema, not a restaurant. Entry to the cafe is free and you pay something like £2.50 for the cinema. This gets you unlimited access to the cinema for the day, not just for one film. There's no pre-booking. Its purpose is to allow anyone who wants to see great cinema at a reasonable price.
3. Shop. It doesn't really sell anything at all. Its purpose is to pay shop assistants very generous salaries for no actual work as such. There might be a packet of seeds or an old mitten for sale from time to time, but it's not the norm. Customers are treated very cordially at all times and offered free tea. Half-day on Wednesdays. Initially SHOP should be situated in economic dead zones, those kind of shops that have been boarded up for years on side streets. It doesn't advertise itself. Should a West End branch (and especially one in Chelsea/Fulham) ever open, staff would be expected to verbally and physically abuse other shop workers in the area during their lunch hour.
What capitalism lacks for me is a sense of playfulness. Imagine what the wealthy could do if they had some actual imagination. It would not be difficult to quickly destabilise sections of the economy. I don't hate Bill Gates for the creative ennui that is Microsoft, I do find it disappointing that people with so much money don't really want to play with it. At best people try and immortalise their compassion by setting up various charities, foundations and the such. Well, money has its own agenda (like language) and resists most attempts at its subversion. Attacking money - there's a thick billfold in your hand you can use against it, you're gathering up courage but the money will start talking, "I'll tell you what you can really do with me", there you are, you've ended up going shopping again. Money has to replicate, survive. In all honesty, money has to be exterminated and, alas, people will defend money before they defend other humans. That's the level of infection: we will kill each other before we would even consider killing money. A very successful contamination. Martinis all round.
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    Goodbye Love - Redlands Palomino Company