When the Titanic sank, a string quartet continued to play until the
very end. On this sinking ship, the band has long been laid off.
Welcome to the SS Financial Meltdown
You already know all about doom, gloom and apocalyptic headlines – you live in London. Rather than wallow in the mire, we
want to help you appreciate the joy of living on the cheap in the
The cheapskate used to be the person who borrowed a tenner,
didn’t get a round in at the bar and then denied ever knowing
you. Now a cheapskate is the person knowledgeable enough to
have a great time on the town for under a fiver, inventive enough
to make some extra cash quickly and good-humoured enough
to know that sometimes all you can do is laugh.
Cheapskate Magazine is for that person and everyone who
needs to become one. It is free and put together by full-time,
professional cheapskates. Each week we’ll be recommending a
slew of things to do in London for nothing (or next to) and casting
an appraising eye over all the latest trends in cheap.
Just as importantly, we’re turning our backs firmly on the culture
of spend, spend, spend, and the wailing despair of the establishment by issuing a collective call to arms: Join us and celebrate!
For we truly have more sense than money.
How much money can you make in a day?
Forget dinner, here’s the sex
Eating out’s expensive. Make love, not smalltalk
Just press play
The record stores fighting back
Boeing, going, gone
How your luggage made it to Tooting
The fine art of talent spotting
Find the next Hirst at a University show
Work experience gone bad
Limited time only
Pop in to some pop-up shops
Interview: The scammer scammer
Rags to riches... to rags
Confessions of a cheapskate
Eating in: Dog dinner
Interview: Reverend Billy
(pullout from p.24)
Editors: Ciaran McCauley, Ceiri O’Driscoll;
Designer: Paul Campbell; Chief Sub Editor: Paul Bentley; Picture
Editor: Sylvia Rowley; Production Manager: Lena de Casparis.
Thanks to: Declan Gillespie and Nicole Duong
Underground rebel bingo
the week in the
What, other than
Christiano Ronaldo, can you
buy for £80 million?
1 Big Mac for the entire population of
10,666 pectoral augmentations
Otherwise known as moob jobs
Photos Bullets: lilfishes.com; Lego: entertainmentearth.com; Toy: robertbradford.co.uk; Uniform: M&S; Mattresses: Tara Todras-Whitehill; Robstopper: Ananova
138,000 ounces of gold
3 trips to the International Space
Station With spare change of just
over £15 million
80 per cent of Newcastle United
11,400 hip replacements
Madonna’s art collection
8,163,265 Nike footballs
1 Island Macapule, off the coast of
Mexico, is 14 miles long and currently
for sale at £60million. Leaving you
£20million to spend on sun cream
Not content shoving his kids’ old toys in the attic like the
rest of us, Cornish sculptor Robert Bradford stuck them
together and made two giant ones. They are now on sale
for £12,000 each. Resourceful!
Quote of the week
“This is the first show I’ve
ever done where taxpayers’
money is being used to hang
my pictures up rather than
scrape them off.”
School uniforms are rubbish
Running out of ideas… let’s recycle
this one further! Marks & Spencer
has announced it is to sell a school
uniform made entirely from recycled
waste. The clothes are produced by
washing and melting plastic bottles,
refining the gloop and then weaving
them into polyester. Shoes are cobbled together by chopping up and
remolding landfill-bound leather shavings. Rubbish joke up ahead:
Banksy on his new exhibition at the
An Israeli woman has
sites after she binned a
worth of her mother’s
bought her mother a n
then threw away the o
stuffed within. She tho
in an account. As soo
mistake she ran outsid
had already been remo
rything in proportion an
the bad,” said a stoica
The mother, less philos
world of cheap
top 10 ways to grab an
One in five jobseekers are using unusual tactics to stand out during the
recession, according to a survey
conducted by CareerBuilder.
Even Michael Owen has resorted
to desperate measures. His agency
sent out a 34-page booklet to prospective clubs, defending his reputation for not scoring goals and always
Here are the most inventive
tactics found by the survey:
1. Sending a shoe with a CV to ‘get
a foot in the door’
put to bed
A Chinese robber confessed this week to munching
through caged window bars in order to break in to a
series of houses in the Nanjimen region, Chongqing.
“Through our investigations, we found the grids had
been cut with deep tooth prints,” said a local police
spokesman. Police arrested Xiong, 23, after originally
interviewing his roommate who told them Xiong could
crack walnuts with his teeth.
Xiong grew up in a mountain town and harnessed
his tooth-strength by using them to open walnuts
that grew in the area.Over a two year period, Xiong
only failed once in attempts to chew through window
bars. “I bit on a 2cm thick steel grid and the first bite
nearly dislocated my jaw,” he said.
“I never take other tools with me when breaking in,”
he added. “That’s why I never got stopped by
patrolling officers at night.”
Verdict: Nut job
2. Staging a sit-in in the lobby to
get a meeting with a director
Washing cars in the car park to
4. Sending a CV wrapped as a
present offering skills as a ‘gift to the
Giving CVs to cars at red traffic
6. Sending a cake Designing it as a
business card and putting the candidate’s picture on it
Frequenting the same barber
as a company chairman and encouraging the barber to speak to him
on the candidate’s behalf
8. Handing out personalised coffee cups to potential employees
spent all week scouring landfill
a mattress containing $1million
s savings. Anat, from Tel Aviv,
new bed as a surprise gift. She
old bed, unaware of the fortune
ought her mother’s savings were
on as her mother told her of her
de and discovered the mattress
oved. “People have to take evend thank God for the good and
sophical, refused to comment.
9. Wearing a bunny suit to an Easter time interview
10. Telling a receptionist an interview has been arranged with the
manager Upon meeting the manager, the jobseeker confessed that he
was driving by and decided to stop in
on a chance
scamMING the sc
‘Gilbert Murray’ was sick of emails from
fraudsters offering him millions, so he set up
scambuster419.co.uk to beat the scammers at
their own game
Talk us through why you started trying to bust scammers
I kept getting emails from scammers and one time, instead of deleting the email, I decided to do something in retaliation. It was a
small gesture, but I wanted to waste the scammer’s time as much
as possible. Dealing with my bogus response would give them less
time to defraud other people.
Well, not entirely. I was pissed off they were taking me for a fool.
I wanted to string them along just as they string along others. I
wanted to have a bit of fun: to play with them by inventing ridiculous personas and scenarios and see how far I could go without
them realising I wasn’t for real. I wanted to scam the scammers. It
What was your first scambust?
I got an email from ‘Wale Williams’ an African foreign exchange
banker who claimed he used to work for Kofi Annan. He said a
wealthy client of his had died and wanted him to protect his money
from corrupt officials in his country. He said he had $30million to
split between us.
I said I was an inventor and could do with the money for my latest
project: Icarus III, a propellor-powered jumbo jet. I explained to him
that Icarus I and II had crashed during trial flights.
It resulted in a ridiculous exchange. I kept delaying sending over
personal details due to my nutty sidekick, Beaker, regularly blowing
himself up in our labs. I agreed to seal the deal on a trip to Lagos
and they weren’t best pleased when, after hours of correspondence, they turned up and I wasn’t there.
What’s the funniest scambust you’ve done?
I got an email from someone posing as Rossy Kofi, a young girl
who said she was orphaned after her dad was killed by her uncle.
She said her dad had $7.5million in a bank account, which she
wanted me to look after so her uncle couldn’t get to it. She said I
would then get 15 per cent of the money.
I feigned concern and started making arrangements for the transfer. She sent me a picture of her and wanted one in return. I told her
I owned a massage parlour and wanted her to come work for me.
She agreed but wanted to speak on the phone. I said my phone
line was down after a truck delivering KY Jelly to my house crashed
into an electricity pylon.
Then she started with the conditions. She put me in contact with
her ‘bank manager’ who wanted $350 for an official stamp duty fee
and for me to send over my passport.
I pretended I had sent the money and blamed them when it didn’t
come through. In the last email Rossy threatened suicide and said I
needed to help because I was now “like a father to her”.
Do you ever feel bad stringing along the scammers? What if
Rossy was for real?
Of course she wasn’t for real! Scammers are criminals! All they
want is your money and they will do whatever they need in order
to get it. If you’re tempted to feel sorry for people who I’ve messed
around, don’t. They are not nice people.
Have you ever been threatened by scammers after taking
them for a ride?
I’ll never forget one guy. ‘Barrister Bernard Williams’, who freaked
out when he found out my payment was fake. He called me a bastard and wrote: “don’t contact us again... be warn!” Be warn! That
cracked me up.
I get threats all the time but I never give out contact details and
they’re a bit too far away for me to get worried.
Some people accuse scambust websites of being racist for
targeting African scammers. What do you say to them?
Advance fee fraud does go on in many countries but most of the
scams originate in West Africa, particularly Nigeria. My website is
intended to poke fun at the individual scammers, not their countries, nationalities or races. Advance fee fraudsters are a disgrace
to their own countries, and have done much to harm the international reputation of many countries overseas.
Why did you start the scambuster419.co.uk website?
Firstly, to raise awareness about the scammers. The more people
know about what they’re up to, the better. I also knew I was on to
something pretty funny. The web users love the emails. You just
have to read the feedback on the site. One person said his whole
office was getting in trouble for spending all day reading it. Others
have said it’s the funniest thing on the web. I’m not sure about that,
but it can be pretty hilarious. The site’s name comes from advance
fee fraud, which is sometimes referred to as “419 fraud”, relating to
the section of the Nigerian penal code that prohibits it.
Do people ever actually believe the scammers’ emails? They
You wouldn’t think so. The English is often poor, the spelling
atrocious, and the stories wildly unbelievable. But people are regularly
taken in by them. Advance fee fraud is big business.
What should I do if I get an email from a scammer?
First of all, do not believe it. Second, do not respond to it. Third, delete
it. If you feel like pissing off the scammer, you can always forward the
email onto the abuse department of the scammer’s internet service
provider, for example [email protected] or [email protected]
ISPs are not keen to have their services abused by scammers and
will often do what they can to shut down email accounts used in this
What’s next for you? Any plans for a book?
Maybe. A lot of the site’s fans say I should publish but there are no
concrete plans yet.
Cheapskate will publish your book! Send your passport,
underpants and £2000 to our bank manager,
Mr Dragan, and we’re in business!
I’m actually abroad at the moment. Meet me at the
Go to our
Lagos Hilton tomorrow and it’s a deal.
webitse for cctv
footage of the
Would you like to become an MP?
The House expects vacancies to arise among its members from Spring 2010 and
wishes to invite applications from any person (man) in the United Kingdom.
Member of Parliament
Hours of work
Monday – Thursday, 10am-5pm (at
most). Weekends will be spent in your
constituency. Or in your 2nd, 3rd or 4th
home, which swap in status on an annual
Three-month summer holidays and postjob opportunities on the after-dinner
£64,766 per annum. Plus expenses and
John Lewis furnishings.
Due to recent interest in our members’
spending habits, the purchasing of duck
ponds is no longer recommended. For
a detailed account of other inadvisable
claims see the Daily Telegraph passim.
Provisions are moderate but the House
can employ your offspring should the
need for a care home/luxury cruise arise.
Any British subject aged 21 or over may
stand for election, unless he is a lunatic,
felon, traitor, clergyman, civil servant,
member of the House of Lords or one of
the Royal Family. A highly developed
God complex is essential. Balding, middle aged men with a wife, lover and
children have a distinct advantage.
• Well practised in the art of question
• Abilty to believe you are fooling the
public with your gimmicks and publicity stunts
• Will comply after a good whipping
• Bike riding (a car will be provided for
your shoes should you need them)
• Middle class background
• Propensity for sexual dalliances
• Ability to conceal aforementioned
• Fluent in the standard vernacular of
the British Isles
• A convincing smile
• Administration and finance skills are
not necessary. You can employ your
children to cover these roles
• Knowledge of your constituency
None necessary. However, previously
disgraced candidates are encouraged to
apply. As are the spouses and children of
former party leaders. They will be promoted quickly.
NB. In line with our policy of adherence to the letter, but
not the spirit of the law, we are issuing an open invitation
for applications, but must warn that it is likely we will fill
the post internally.
Education: Candidates who attended a
university ending in –bridge or –ford are
preferred. Not including: Bradford,
Stafford, Uxbridge etc.
THE HOUSE OF COMMONS
We are not an equal opportunities employer
Republic of Ireland vs Nigeria
Craven Cottage, Fulham
Shh! Here are eight more
almost legitimate hustles
After a one-off purchase of a high viz
jacket, I headed to Craven Cottage, home
to Fulham Football Club. I arrived 45 minutes before kick off to do some undercover stewarding. I didn’t exactly look the
part – the jacket sat loosely over a T-shirt
and jeans. Even worse, the Fulham stewards wore orange jackets while mine was
Day-Glo yellow. Should’ve done more research.
A decent crowd was gathering. Figuring
a bit of actual stewarding would help me
look the part, I stood in the middle of a
road and waved my arms around.
I approached two Irish fans who had
stopped for a long conversation in the middle of the crowd.
“Folks, move along there please.”
One of them turned. “Just the man. I’ve
got a ticket for the Riverside Stand but my
friend is sitting in the Hammersmith End.
Any chance I could swap my ticket for one
at that end?”
I looked around desperately. “Ahh, yes.”
“Great. Where do I go to swap?”
“Ahhhhhhhh.” I spotted a vaguely official
looking ticket booth. “Over there?”
“Yeah,” I said, making up my mind. “Over
It was time to end the method acting and
actually get in. At the far end of the Haynes
Stand was the reception area, monitored
by two security men in suits. Suits – too
scary. I made my way to the other end of
the stand - the official players entrance - a
corrugated steel gate with a single steward
letting people in and out. Deep breath.
“Just getting back to resume my post.”
And that was it. Success. It didn’t end
there. I went looking for the best seats in
the house – the directors’ box. Wearing the
jacket all the way over to the far side of the
stadium, I passed steward after steward
without being challenged. Arriving at Mohammed Al Fayed’s own directors enclave
I quickly removed the jacket and – freedom
– I sat for the entire game in total comfort.
Even better - I was sitting but yards from
former Gladiators presenter and football
legend John Fashanu. Mission accomplished. Awoooga.
1. Get children to buy your cinema
tickets Payback for the off-licence oiks
who get us to buy them fags and cider.
2. Get out of paying credit card charges on flights Go to www.entropay.com,
set up a virtual credit card and top it up
with cash (like phone credit). Book flights
and choose VISA ELECTRON as the card
type. Enter your virtual card details and
put ENTROPAY USER as the cardholder
name. Voila, a tenner saved from the evil
clutches of Ryanair.
3. Freelance as a health inspector Visit
an office, steal the plastic visitor’s badge
and make your own official-looking insert. Procure a white coat. Patrol greasy
restaurants and demand samples. Never
again pay for a kebab.
4. Join stitch and bitch groups These
are get-togethers where people knit and
drink wine. Wait ‘til the end when everyone is toasted and has merrily made their
way into the night. Collect the abandoned
scarves and rejoice at your warm neck.
5. Make the most of Ikea freebies
Grab some pencils and the leaflets people
use to jot down furniture numbers. Staple
together the leaflets to form notebooks.
Lifetime supply of stationary.
Will high viz get
a backhand from
the bouncers at
We can but
6. Volunteer at a charity shop for an
hour a week Work your one hour on
Monday mornings after the plentiful dropoffs of the weekend. Rummage through
the new stock, taking any item of clothing
that vaguelly fits/suits you. Then grab toiletry sets and novelty items to give friends
and family for every birthday and special
occasion for the rest of your life.
*DISCLAIMER: We take no responsibilty if anyone ends up friendless or in jail
after following this advice, you probably
A successful sneak-in to Craven Cottage
Photos Declan Gillespie
Ever look at a construction worker
and think ‘I wonder if I wore a high
visibility jacket, could I sneak into
places for free?’ No? Us Cheapskates have.
Just how does a self-mad
Photos Hammer: boston.com; Basinger: Wikimedia Commons; Tyson: popularpersons.org; Best: Flickr
Manuel Francisco dos Santos was born
into a poor family near Rio de Janiero,
Brazil. He had to work in a factory as
a child and his father was an alcoholic.
Football provided an escape for Garrincha and he went on win the World Cup
with Pele in 1958 and 1962. FIFA still
consider him the world’s second greatest
player of all time.
Garrincha’s personal and financial life
was not so successful. He was barely literate and the first contract he signed was
blank. His life was the proverbial game
of two halves – early sporting years of
glory and a sad decline after retirement
as drink, injury, financial and marital problems brought him to ruin. Garrincha died
a forgotten hero in 1983 after suffering an
Sports writer Josh Lacey summed it
up well: “He lost his virginity to a goat,
slept with hundreds of women and sired
at least 14 children. When he played for
the Brazilian national team he scored 34
goals and won the World Cup twice. He
killed his mother-in-law in a car crash,
then died of drink aged only 49.” Yes, that
really did say ‘goat’.
For several years MC Hammer was the
best-selling hip-hop act in history. Other
acts - na na na na - couldn’t touch him.
Massive concert sales, record-setting album sales and the failure of an entire generation to question their ears and eyes,
earned the Hammer $49million.
His potential to make money did not
stop there. Unlike conventional rappers
who only use their street cred to pedal
clothing lines, fragrances, and soft drinks,
Hammer had his own trading card, action
figure and Saturday morning cartoon. The
man would do anything for cash.
But what goes black can quickly go red.
In the early nineties all semblance of reality in the great wordsmith’s mind had
evaporated. He employed 200 people,
paying them $7million a year. His 40,000
sq ft ’crib’ was decked out with a bowling
alley, a recording studio, a 33-seat theater, two swimming pools, tennis courts, a
baseball diamond, a 17-car garage and
a gold toilet. Confusingly, he also owned
two helicopters. And had the lease of a
Like most people, Hammer liked to
party. But he liked to party in a cloudlike haze. He wasted further notes on a
fire suppression sprinkler system that
released mist over social gatherings. In
1996, the Hammer declared bankruptcy.
He is now a minister.
If ever the phrase ‘more money than
sense’ was needed it is now. Kim Basinger, evidently beautiful and talented,
has shown the economic instincts of a
walnut. The woman could command
$1,000 a day modelling or make a few
million pretending to be Eminem‘s mum,
Batman‘s mistress or Micky Rourke‘s
missus. Instead she pissed around with
needless financial tussles.
Based on the advice of her family - who
later fell out and caused her to lose the
place - Basinger purchased Braselton,
Georgia for $20 million. She hoped a
small town in Georgia would become
a tourist attraction. The fool-proof plan
failed. Coupled with this financial meltdown, she dropped out of her next movie, Boxing Helena. In the film, Basinger’s
character was to have her arms and legs
amputated by a stalker who kept her
cooped up in a box long enough for her
to fall in love with him. The movie was not
based on a real life story. The studio sued
Basinger for $8million for backing out of
the project. She filed for bankruptcy soon
It should be noted that Basinger has
since turned her career around. So much
so that she could grace Eminem’s biopic
(pretty much) with its best line. Seeking
comfort with her son about problems
with her new boyfriend, Basinger’s character whined: “Greg won’t go down on
me”. Pure movie magic.
ches... to rags
de superstar blow it all?
Mark Twain was a success before he was
an author. He worked as a riverboat pilot earning $250 a month - the modern
equivalent of an average MP’s expenses
claim. When he began to write, the royalties poured in.
But Twain was a habitual gambler, fond
of funding speculative investments and
pointless inventions. He sunk piles of
cash into innovative but useless devices
like infant bed clamps. The financially
challenged Twain even set aside work on
Huckleberry Finn to concentrate on creating a children’s trivia game, a decision
comparable to Joaquin Phoenix shunning acting to become a rapper.
Twain, as per usual, summed it up best:
“October. This is one of the peculiarly
dangerous months to speculate in stocks.
The others are July, January, September,
April, November, May, March, June, December, August, and February.”
Given that he is a genius, here’s a gratuitous Twain quote: “A banker is a fellow
who lends you his umbrella when the sun
is shining, but wants it back the minute it
begins to rain.”
Unhinged at the best of times, ‘Iron Mike’
once told Lennox Lewis: “I’m ferocious. I
want your heart. I want to eat your children. Praise be to Allah!” Tyson is decidedly bonkers but surely even he couldn’t
spend a $300 million fortune...
Apparently he could. Much of his wealth
was swallowed by his entourage. Tyson
thought it necessary to pay a man called
‘Crocodile’ hundreds of thousands of dollars to shout “Guerrilla Warfare!” at prefight press conferences. A generous type,
Tyson bought a batch of six Rolls Royces
and distributed them among his friends.
He had custom-made Harley Davidsons,
a fleet of Rolls, Bentleys and Ferraris, and
a half-million dollar watch emblazoned
Tyson’s ultimate undoing was animals
(see Cheapskate recipes on p42 to save
yourself a similar fate). Food and shelter
for his two Bengal tigers set him back
$12,000 a month. Most absurd though
was Tyson’s outlay on pigeons. As ridiculous as earning $30 million for a night’s
work was his spending on his 350 worldclass birds. Imported from all over the
world, the vermin cost thousands to feed
and care for. He even had four elaborate
barns built in his mansion to house them.
In 2003, Tyson declared bankruptcy,
owing over $10 million. He now has to try
and sell his assets, such as a $100,000
platinum bracelet inscribed ‘Heavyweight
Champ’. Not many buyers available for
that one, Mike.
Embarrassingly skilled with a football and
blessed with pop star looks, it’s no wonder the Belfast Boy - who grew up in the
city’s modest Cregagh estate - became
football’s first superstar. ‘The Fifth Beatle’
and European Champion opened nightclubs and boutiques in the late Sixties,
seemingly putting his handsome wage to
But as his career petered out, Best
conspired to waste everything he had.
“I spent a lot of money on booze, birds,
and fast cars. The rest I just squandered,”
he explained. Bankruptcy soon followed.
Best spent the rest of his life as an alcoholic, finally succumbing to liver disease
For some people, Wimbledon means drinking Pimm’s in the rain, cheering for a British no-hoper or wanting to strangle Cliff Richard.
For me, it represents my darkest hour – the time I had innocent, tennis-loving grannies shopped to the cops for cold hard cash.
After I graduated a few years ago, I needed to raise some quick money for a holiday. I wasn’t exactly broke but was desperate to
jet off somewhere sunny. A friend recommended getting a job at Wimbledon. But the romantic idea of serving strawberries to tennis
skirt clad luvvies on Murray Mound was soon dashed – the only work left was checking tickets and bags as people entered the
The uniform was ridiculous: navy suit; gold buckles; a dainty flat cap to set off the embarrassment. Worst of all, the hourly rate
was shocking. I didn’t know if all the work would actually pay for the holiday. Luckily for me there was incentive – we were rewarded
with £100 bonuses if we caught anyone breaking the rules.
Immediately, I was tempted. A few well-planted quarter bottles of booze or drugs and – quids in – I’d practically be on the beach,
sipping a Caipirinha. As it turned out; I didn’t even have to do that.
In the UK it is illegal to carry a lock knife. These laws were brought in to discourage knife crime: a noble aim. However, knife crime
isn’t the biggest of problems round SW19 come late June and I’m fairly sure the laws were not designed to prevent venerable old
tennis heads from tucking into packed lunches of bread and French cheese.
Nonetheless, we were told that any punter coming through the gates with such a ‘weapon’ should be reported and would be
refused entry and cautioned by the police. And, of course, any responsible steward to report such knife-wielding, cheese-eating,
geriatric maniacs, would receive the £100 bonus.
Now, I’m usually a moral person. I swear. I once stole a fiver out of my mum’s purse to buy 20 sherbet dips but felt so guilty I
broke down during a sugar rush and cried syrupy tears for four hours, begging my mum to forgive me. She did; but I haven’t been
able to look at sherbet since.
But this was too tempting. Before me was a succession of unsuspecting old dearies, unaware of a change in the law that could
ruin their yearly routine of toasting tennis with a glass of Rioja and a freshly sliced chunk of Roquefort. Obviously they were no risk
to anyone but I needed dosh. It was an easy decision.
So up they came to the gates. I searched the bags. Finding any lock knives, I had them confiscated immediately and beckoned
any nearby police to escort the offenders from the All-England Club.
They didn’t take it lightly. Most were confused. One old lovely thought she was being taken away because Wimbledon were tightening their rules on entry with cheese. Another man was a little brusquer, wagging a middle finger in my direction in a particularly
undignified way. He also told me to ‘go soak my head’, whatever that means.
I was only following rules. And I made enough in bonuses for my two weeks away. But I felt awful and was too guilt-ridden to stay
in the job – although the sweltering heat and stupid polyester suit also had something to do with it.
I feel terrible about all those innocent grandparents I had arrested. All for a holiday, paid for with blood money. In fairness, though,
it was a really good holiday.
If you want to
confess your tight
Home. It’s where you live. Full of metaphors for peace, love and belonging it may be,
but playground it ain’t. What to do when enthusiasm is high but funds are low?
Let Cheapskate guide you through the cornucopia of free fun to be found
with the front door closed.
Nothing is more fun than the cutlery drawer. Told as a child
never to play with knives? Piffle! Imagine a world without knife
thrower’s! It’d be rubbish - but that’s what we’d have if we’d
listened to our parents. Now all you need is a volunteer from
the audience. Flatmates, neighbours and siblings are fine, but
if doubtful of the accuracy of your aim then perhaps stick to a
teddy bear for now. Sellotape your volunteer/victim to the wall
and hey presto! Hours of circus-based fun to be had.
Bored of perforating your friends? Empty the contents of the
cutlery drawer out onto the grass and build a machine. Not a
time machine – this is a serious article – but one of those Wallace and Gromit style, Pob inspired machines that uses multiple
implements, and a dash of evil scientist cunning, to do something utterly mundane. For instance: Tie a watering can to a
windowsill underneath a leaky gutter; when the can fills it will
tip, pouring water into a funnel which decants the liquid onto a
spatula attached to the toaster handle. The handle will be pulled
down, setting two pieces of bread to toast; when they pop up,
the toast will land on a scalectrix set, activating the cars which
will race round the track. At the end of the track is your hamster
which will squeak with alarm and start running round his hamster wheel. This will generate enough energy to cause a spark
on the faulty circuit board you have wired up, setting fire to your
next door neighbour’s fence. Genius!
They say his home is an Englishman’s castle and what better
way to celebrate than with a fort in your lounge. Architecture
nous is as important here as when considering an extension
to your house. Good foundations? Check. Sufficient space?
Check. Clearly accessible entrance/exit? Check. Think outside
the (cushion-based) box though. Does your house extension
have a hole for throwing things at intruders? Didn’t think so.
Cast your mind back to our previous exploits and now add a
little liquid refreshment to proceedings. What better to throw at
intruders through your fort hole than a balloon filled with water!
Stuck for a glutinous substance to sink the hamster in as part of
an ingenious egg launching machine? Look no further than your
flatmate’s wet-look hairgel.
Sleep, you little domestic adventurer. You must be exhausted.
Soundtrack for a Cheapskate
Each week Cheapskate will be playlisting the skint experience. This week it’s all about - you guessed it - being cheap.
Go to cheapskate.com to download this playlist straight
into Spotify and comment on our choices.
Mo Money Mo Problems - Notorious B.I.G.
Biggie had money, Biggie had problems. Now he’s in that big
crib in the sky. Feel the lightness of your wallet and rejoice
Money for Nothing - Dire Straits
Rock out 80s style with the ‘Straits and read how to get real
money for nothing on p15 in the Cheapskate challenge
Taxman - The Beatles
Who feels the pain of the taxman more than a multi-millionaire popstar? Just don’t look at your payslips anymore, we
Common People - Pulp
If you called your dad he could stop it all yeah? Well my dad’s
blocked my number and moved house
Gold Digger - Kanye West
No-one likes a scrounger, but everyone likes this song.
Dance round the kitchen and dream of being dug-worthy
Money (That’s What I Want) - The Blues Brothers
Everyone has covered this tune. That’s because everyone
wants some money. See? You’re in excellent company
Skint and Minted - The Libertines
Few people know the highs and lows of city life than a drug
addict. Remember, there’s always someone worse off
Next week: Squatting
TA A P
o n ly
TA A P
w w w. ta a p. c om
Can three cheapskates make money out of thin air?
Armed with budget props, raw cunning and one day in central London, a busker, a
kissogram and a woman with a suitcase of old clothes went to find out...
few fans (well, observers). More importantly, I had some cash.
It was difficult to tell exactly how much I had earned, as I had
put some of my own shrapnel into my guitar case beforehand to
save on the embarrassment of making nothing.
For my next number, I recruited backing vocalists from the
crowd. In truth, the three girls who joined me were my crowd.
But no matter, within five minutes I had formed a band.
I thought forming a band would be great. I could concentrate
on playing without my fingers sticking to the frets while the girls
sang three-part, money-making harmonies. Again, my logic
failed me. Within minutes we nearly broke up, citing artistic differences. They wanted to sing Miley Cyrus but I only knew songs
written in the previous millennium. After deciding that the Miley
Cyrus song was too difficult for me to play, we compromised on
With our creative differences aside, the girls and I flourished. A
valiant rendition of the Man in Black’s Ring of Fire brought the
people of Covent Garden to their knees, yelling for more. Well,
not quite, but we did receive a few sympathy pennies.
Our stock was on the up, but like the Sex Pistols and Stone
Roses before us, we disbanded at our zenith, in a blaze of glory.
As Neil Young once said “It’s better to burn out, than to fade
away... my my, hey hey.” Indeed.
I shared my takings with the band, bid farewell to our dwindling
public and slung my guitar over my shoulder for the trek home.
After an hour in the shower with a large bottle of shampoo my
hair is clean and I am £5.57 richer.
was in a band at university. I knew the best way to make
a quick buck in London: just belt out some rock classics
for the baying and paying Covent Garden crowds. Looking
back, my logic was flawed. My band made no money - why
would I now?
In Covent Garden, I realised I needed a gimmick. The public
won’t accept a scruffy singer with an acoustic guitar anymore.
They need star power. I decided to inject my performance with
the spirit of rock’s most successful singer and earner – Bono.
I hit the shops, Stars In Their Eyes style. Sunglasses, black
leather jacket and tub of Brylcreem later, I was ready to rock.
Sticky fingers were my first downfall. Bono’s barnet must require
a mountain of product to stay slicked back like that. I was covered in the stuff and my fretplay was severely limited as a result.
On the upside, I had been professional enough to restring my old
acoustic. But I neglected to learn any U2 songs. Or practise.
Musicians tell me London crowds are tough – spoilt for choice,
presumably. I wasn’t exactly competing with the line-up at the
O2, but I did have the other performers in the square to compete
with. Things were not looking good. I was flanked by talent: a
magician with better patter than Del Boy Trotter and a man who
dressed up and stood very still. The heat was on.
I took a deep breath. The audience would forgive dodgy hair
and fudged chords if I could belt out a sweet vocal melody. I
closed my eyes and channelled the spirit of Bono.
I began to sing. My choice of song could not have been gutsier.
One, by U2, begins: “Did I disappoint you or leave a bad taste in
your mouth?” I didn’t wait for the crowd to answer.
As the words flowed out, I opened my eyes to discover I had a
wo dads paid £20,000 for their daughters to kiss Twilight hunk
Robert Pattinson. I thought 50p for a peck on my cheek would
be a blatant bargain. Apparently it is not.
For the Cheapskate Challenge, I decided to save on costs
and use what my mamma gave me - prostituting myself on
the streets of Covent Garden. I would accept no less than 50p for a
kiss on the cheek, £1 for a lipsmacker and a fiver for a full on porno
The outfit was simple. I took a cardboard box from a skip, ripped
some holes for my head and arms and stuck on some A4 sheets of
paper. ‘Kiss me for 50p!’ I wrote, ‘on the lips for £1’ with tongues for
a fiver’. My only expenditure was the 53p value sellotape I bought to
stick the signs to the box. My tongue, lips and cheeks (facial) were
there for the taking.
I slipped on the outfit and as my head lingered in the dark space
between box and outside world I swear I heard the London crowd all
at once pucker up.
As it turns out, most of them were ‘pah’-ing in ridicule. “Urr, that’s
dir’y”, said a schoolboy, pointing me out to his mates. I went over to
explain that I was really quite a hygienic person. “Step away from the
underage boys!” shouted their teacher.
An elderly lady was smiling in the distance so I jogged over. “How
can I guarantee you are disease free?” she asked. Unable to provide
a doctor’s note confirming my lack of facial Gonorrhoea, the pensioner hobbled on.
I walked around shouting “kiss me for 50p” at the top of my voice
- all shame and inhibition had gone with the paedophile accusation – and more people began to notice. I could see some
considering it – even fishing in pockets for shrapnel (yes, possibly to throw at me) - but as soon as I got eye contact they
would shuffle away.
One mouthy teenage girl asked “how much for a pound?” I
said a kiss on the lips. She looked at me like I misunderstood.
Aided by a friendly barrow boy – “Fresh kisses! Get your fresh
kisses here! Best kisses in London! Credit crunch kisses, ladies
and gentlemen! 2 for £1! You won’t find a cheaper kiss anywhere else today!” - my luck soon improved.
A 50 year old from Watford gave me £2 for a kiss on the lips
while her friend took a photo. “To show my kids,” she explained.
“I’m going to put them on Facebook. They’re going to DIE!”
Fellow challenger Bono then chipped in and followed me
around singing ‘Kiss me’ by Sixpence None the Richer. It
worked, with business picking up further.
A group of French tourists came within earshot. Perfect!
“Donnez moi bisoux! Donnez moi bisou!” A kindly few obliged,
but none fancied paying a fiver to show off their national technique.
A man then gave me a couple of quid. Not to kiss me himself
but for a picture of me being kissed by our Cheapskate suitcase
seller. Whatever. It was another £2 in the pocket.
The high point was the pound I earned from a fellow Covent
Garden performer: a human statue painted in black. They don’t
move for anybody. But he waddled over and planted a soft
black kiss on my cheek. “You’re going to get a thousand kisses
from beautiful girls today,” he whispered in my ear.
He was wrong. I got 15 kisses – 13 on the cheek and three on
the lips. And most were from oldies with scurvy and a sense of
humour. Still, it was fun, I earned £11.97 and I’ve got a black lip
mark on my face that I’m not washing off any time soon.
the suitcase seller
o I cheated. When my editor said we all had to go out
and find inventive ways of making money, I saw, or
rather could smell, a suitcase filled with musty clothes
under a desk and thought ‘that must be worth a bob
or two’. The boss wasn’t sure but I argued back: “surely being
a cheapskate is all about recycling, reusing, salvaging, blah,
blah, blah” (this goes for content for articles too – read on page
26 how the suitcase ended up in the office). He was convinced,
but warned me I had minus £16 to start with as I had to pay
back the price of the case.
Off I went, rolling my big red case behind me. I decided to try
my luck on Portobello Road. I’ve never found anything there for
under 50 quid, so was sure my wares would attract the eye of
some bargain-hunting west Londoners.
The first challenge was picking a spot. There were only a few
people about and I was already knackered from dragging the
bloody bag. I soon chose a busier pitch inbetween two bric-abrac stalls, opposite the Electric Cinema. I hoped the fact the
neighbouring stalls were friendly would stop them dobbing me
in for not having a licence.
Sitting on the curb, I unzipped the case and started yelling in
my best East End drawl: “50p an item – everything must go!”
A group of rather attractive men sitting in a bar opposite were
rather amused by my shouting. I heard one of them say: “she’s
obviously had a few”. Unfortunately, I had not.
To my surprise, passers-by began flocking. Petite, welldressed women crowded round, rifling through the size 20 Primark dresses and shirts – women can’t resist a good deal. A
few men came over to see what the fuss was about; one even
bought some pink heart-patterned shorts, claiming they were
for his girlfriend.
One nervous moment came when a small uniformed guy walked
towards me with a white ticket in hand. Thinking that I was about
to be charged for illegal trading, I began frantically preparing excuses to get me out of a £50 fine. Luckily, he sailed on past and
placed the ticket on a car parked just behind me. Phew.
A few hours in and the items were still selling. Some pennypinching women tried to haggle me down from 50p. There was
also a fair amount of concern among the punters that I’d stolen
the case from a poor, now bagless tourist, though it didn’t seem
to stop them buying.
Stupidly, I hadn’t bothered to go through the case in the office
(time is money after all) so a load of worn, secondhand underwear was left inside. I could see some were put off by having to
touch oversized granny knickers to get to an Ann Harvey smock
As the stalls began to pack up, my main priority suddenly became not dragging the case back with me on the Central Line. I
decided to try and get rid of the whole thing for a fiver. The lucky
buyer would get all the remaining contents as an extra perk (by
now, the greying underwear and some shorts with stains on the
crotch). For over half an hour I yelled “just a fiver for the case!”
“Wheels in perfect order!” To my bafflement and despair, there
were no takers.
In the end I gave up. I’d already made £20 in three hours (minus
£16 made it an impressive £4 an hour). I abandoned the case
on the street corner and crossed over to the bar to spend my
hard-won earnings. They only bought me two Notting Hill-priced
glasses of wine, but I got chatted up by one of the men who had
laughed at me earlier in the day.
Other ways we could
have made money...
Sounds good doesn’t it fellas. Sperm donation sees you get
paid (usually around £250) for a simple bit of hard labour.
However, before all the guys go rushing out the door, you can’t
just rock up to a bank and make a rewarding deposit. First you
must pass a strict screening process. Don’t even think about
applying if you have any kind of sexual diseases or genetic
And remember: in 18 years you could answer a fateful knock on
the door and find your teenage self looking back at you.
Contact the London Fertility Clinic for more info at www.lfc.org.
Depending on the study, and your suitability, medical testing
could actually be an earner. Usually, a volunteer will be paid
£70-£150 per 24 hours spent in a clinic. The studies themselves
are diverse and can involve anything from sleep deprivation to
testing a new treatment for eczema.
Again, you have to pass a series of eligibility tests and the most
well-paid studies are competitive. In addition, studies involving long stays in a clinic are boring, and unpleasant side effects
(including death) are rare but not unknown.
Check out www.londonclinicaltrials.co.uk to take an eligibility
test and view studies now recruiting.
website to watch
videos of the
challenge and to
upload your own
After a very scrupulous
test we discovered that
selling kisses will make
you the most dosh...
so pucker up and hit the
streets of London
Renting Your Stuff
Being short on cash and rich in stuff can actually prove a money
earner. Thousands of people are signing up to websites like
rentnotbuy.co.uk and uk.zilok.com where people are renting their
various bits and bobs to other people. Everything from fussball
tables, mobile disco equipment and designer handbags are
Ever hear of Kyle MacDonald? In 2005, he began a series of
swaps which saw him start with a paperclip and end up with a
house. The profile of swapping has subsequently soared, with
thousands of people trying to get those things they always wanted – a car, a holiday, an afternoon with Cliff Richard – by trading
up. Not a money maker per se, but you never know where that
half-eaten sandwich could take you.
Try www.swapshop.co.uk or www.iswap.co.uk.
It’s a bit of a long shot – literally. In order to sell hair to wig
makers you need to have at least 10 inches of hair, and prefereably more. Moreover, most will demand that your hair is free of
contaminates such as gel, dyes or treatments. But the rewards
could be great if you have particuarly nice locks – wig makers
have been known to pay out four-figure sums for one batch.
Get a Job
Somewhat hard to find these days. These mythical creatures
usually hang out around job centres and pullouts of local newspapers. If you track one down, let us know on the website…
our cheapest lubricants yet
macrobiotic diet fa not some
website for all thos It is a new
ford dinner dates an who can’t afd
straight to the main want to go
If you’re up for a little NSA action log on at www.forgetdinner.co.uk
*Some names have been changed
Photo Beach table: Flickr
ondoners are cutting back on all aspects of their spending and
that includes their love lives. The internet dating scene has been
swept by a glut of sites specifically for no-strings fun. Forgetdinner is just one of them. It provides a meeting space for those
who want to bypass expensive time-wasting and get straight to the sex.
It is proving a huge success; the site has had an 80 per cent increase in
new profiles over the past six months.
Cheapskate wondered what it would be like to give up on fairytale
romance and step into the world of fast love. So we logged on to Forgetdinner and created a profile. It was easy to get started. Hardly any
information was needed (it can be fake), there are no safety checks and
it is all free of charge.
Our first message was from Nick, a 28-year-old from Stockwell. “Hi, I
like your profile and tone,” he wrote. “ I’m a thirty-year-old, who knows
how to treat a lady and am after some fun NSA [no strings attached].
Message me back and we can arrange to meet.”
Within minutes our inbox was filling with messages. It was hard not
to feel a little flattered, though we soon remembered it was the fictional
‘Anastasia’ character they liked, not us.
A slight put off was that many confessed they were in relationships but
were looking for some action on the side. Tim, 42, from Kent, messaged:
“Hi, you sound great, I’m married but looking for some more fun.”
Howard James, the marketing director of Forgetdinner, defended this
aspect of the site. “Although we are aimed at singles, there are almost
certainly married people using Forgetdinner to facilitate affairs right now,”
he said. “Given the no-strings, fun nature of the site it will be attractive
to those trapped in an unhappy marriage who want an uncomplicated
An hour in, after viewing porno-style profile pictures and messages
from an array of leering men, we realised we wouldn’t be finding The
One we had hoped for here any time soon. Forgetting dinner is not for
us. But others are enjoying the sex-driven site. One member, Jess*, 32,
from Holborn, said: “Forgetdinner is quick, simple and painless.” Jess
has met three men via the site. “It is refreshing not to take on other people’s careers or financial situations. You’re there for fun that is hopefully
mutual and free.”
The record store’s obituary has been publis
where two of the best are thriving
A chink of light at the end of a very dark tunnel for Sister Ray in Soho
Photos Nicole Duong
he music industry is dying. In fact, it’s dead. The
internet came along with a large shotgun called ‘Piracy’ and blew it away in a hail of buckshot and
cries of ‘FREE music.’ Record sales plummeted.
Major labels’ profits fell 4000 per cent. Record stores up
and down the land closed their doors. Kanye West couldn’t
get out of his gold-plated four-poster and Amy Winehouse
became too depressed to hit the pub. The end.
Good story - but not true. Kanye is a little more upbeat
these days and our Amy still finds time for the odd binge.
Meanwhile, the music industry is seeing those fabled green
shoots of recovery. Buoyed by innovations such as Spotify
and Last.fm, the industry appears ready to embrace the
possibilities of the internet, instead of suing everyone with a
But what about the humble record store? Undoubtedly
they have received a fairly brutal kicking at the hands of the
digital revolution. Over 1000 independent stores existed in
the UK over a decade ago – now only around 350 remain.
But they too are experiencing a mild comeback. Whether
reinventing themselves with performance spaces and bars
or simply offering a product no one else does, record stores
– those still standing – are finally looking up.
A comeback it is then. Maybe not of Take That proportions
but a Boyzone one at least.
At Pure Groove, in Farringdon, just across the street from
Smithfield Market, a large group of cool things are gathered.
They strain against the glass shop front to get a glimpse
inside the rammed interior where chamber-popist turned
electro-muse Patrick Wolf is playing a free gig. Later on,
Graham Coxon will be popping in to perform an acoustic
Store manager Simon Singleton is flat out, serving drinks
and selling the odd CD. A few days later, with the shop
quieter and airier, he sums up the ethos Pure Groove has
hit on to succeed.
“Reinvention is the only way for record stores to survive,”
he says. “A small number of really good niche shops will
survive because they offer music no one else does. But
shed prematurely – especially in London,
despite the toughest of times.
other stores will add things – maybe bring in a bar or a studio
in the basement. There is a clear need to transform with many
Pure Groove epitomises this ‘rip it up and start again’ mentality. The store opened in 1989, specialising in hard-to-find
dance imports before setting up it’s own labels. Most famous was Locked On, the garage imprint that launched the
careers of Artful Dodger and The Streets.
Pure Groove reopened last year after a comprehensive
revamp. In came a large performance space with a stage,
bar, cinema, tables, chairs and an art gallery. Amazingly,
out went the records. The traditional record store concept
– musty, wooden shelves filled with dusty vinyl and CDs,
browsed over by muso-nerds – has been discarded almost
entirely for an airy space in which anything goes.
Singleton envisions a place where people come to see
what’s going on and end up staying for 20 minutes. It’s a
bold move, but is there a danger people will forget about
the records completely? No chance, says Singleton: “It will
always be anchored around the music. Pure Groove would
lose it’s appeal it if was just a venue. Business has been
good since we relaunched and in-store gigs are what we
thrive on. Because of them we know the records we need
to chase and push.”
But what of community spirit, the essence of any good
record store? With emphasis removed from browsing and
chatting, could Pure Groove become just another hangout,
which happens to stock some records?. Not according to
Singleton. Excellent taste is so integral to how punters think
of Pure Groove that the music will always be the driving factor, he says. “When we have an in-store, people just come
no matter what, even if they haven’t heard of the band. People come based on trust.”
An important part of Pure Groove is their label arm, which
holds publishing deals with 10 bands and manages five others. It is this dedication to grass roots music, even in lean
economic times, which has enamoured Pure Groove to
London’s music community.
And for musicians, the stores still make a huge difference: “Bands aren’t interested in the internet scrum. Record
stores and physical products give what they do meaning
Sister Ray owner Phil Barton is feeling good. Not huge,
things-are-great-happy-days good. But the kind a long-term
hospital patient feels after being discharged.
“There’s a chink of light at the end of a very dark tunnel,”
he says. “It’s the first time in a long time we’re feeling positive
Last year Sister Ray, situated in the heart of Soho, went
Strike up conversation over a record
into administration. The music press instantly issued an
obituary signalling the death of the record store. After all,
Sister Ray is one of London’s best known indies. It featured
on the cover of Oasis’s What’s the Story Morning Glory? and
was the first shop to stock the Arctic Monkey’s debut EP. It
is famous for its untouchable range of hard-to-find records
and for the snobbishness of its staff – the hallmark of a true
indie record store.
But the digital revolution hit Sister Ray hard. Barton was
forced to beg and borrow in order to buy the shop from the
administrators. Now, as Barton says, they’re “keeping the
wolves at bay”.
The most important thing is that customers are coming
through record shop doors. “People realise that unless they
support them, they won’t have them,” he says. “Also, there’s
a last man standing attitude to the remaining stores. If we
can come through the end of this process then
we’ve got a good chance of moving forward.”
To Barton, the alternative is unthinkable: “If Sister
Ray was to close then there wouldn’t be a full service record store in London’s West End and that just
wouldn’t be right. Unfortunately the things that will kill
us are out of our control.”
The biggest problem for Sister Ray has been dealing
with the music industry as it flails in the digital flood.
Major labels have passed on distribution costs to
the stores who find the costs more difficult to meet.
“Whether you like it or not, the money flows down
from the major labels and if they aren’t making any
money, less is going to come down.”
Sister Ray’s solution to financial woes is simple – remind people that record browsing in an actual record
store is rewarding and fun.
“When you come into Sister Ray you can hear someone actually recommend something,” says Barton.
“And that’s much more powerful than reading a recommendation in print. Also, if you get a record for free
then you are much more likely to discard it. People
cherish albums because they persevere with them.”
Interestingly, this is pretty much the philosophy that
has underpinned Sister Ray from the beginning. The
shop itself has barely changed since 1987. It’s still
a dark, musty recess with little natural light – the
bat cave of record stores. Every inch of floor space
is taken up with stacks of albums. Sister Ray is the
antithesis of Pure Groove’s mantra of reinvention. By
underlining its traditional values, Sister Ray is emerging into a future with a brighter beat. A big part of
their store is a large section of recommendations
from which many customers find something new and
“We carry a wide catalogue and put our recommendations out front. It’s vital the customer buys
new things they haven’t bought before. Major labels
are charging more and more for new releases and it
would be a real shame if we just did back catalogue,”
Barton explains. “People come in looking for something but emerge with something completely different. What people like is the browsing, the physical
aspect of a bricks and mortar record store.”
The physical aspect – this is the core that Sister Ray
and Pure Groove share, even if they do it in totally
different ways. But the different approaches are not
important. What these stores show is that survival is
possible with a little creativity. Scrap the obituaries
– the record stores aren’t dead yet.
91 Brick Lane, E1
Since a refurb last
year, Pure Groove
has built it’s reputation on in-store
gigs from the likes
Mystery Jets and
Worth a look for
an event although
– they do most of
their trade online.
What not to say:
Where are all the
of British indie
record stores is
with a sprawling
new music mecca
just off Brick
Lane. Despite the
travails RT is in
rude health, combining its many
label pursuits with
one of the biggest
perusable CD and
in the UK.
What not to say:
I wish the major
labels would buy
out these smalltime indies….
most iconic of
SR has suffered
as a result of the
industry’s changing face. But
despite going into
last year its doors
remain open and
it’s often full with
up on CDs. A last
bastion of the
physical experience and filled
with the kind
of High Fidelity muso-snob
staff required by
any record store
worth its stripes.
What not to say:
Do you have any
Music and Video
Camden, Greenwich and Soho.
London and a
place has the
musty atmosphere and décor
of a 1970s snooker hall. But it’s a
must visit – you’ll
find it difficult to
leave without an
armful of dusty
What not to say:
Ever think of
giving this place a
Sounds of the
of a record store
finding its niche
in the market
– this place is
perfect for all your
minimalist, avantgarde, polkagypsy infusion
What not to say:
I’ve never heard
is it any good?
WITH PRICES LIKE THESE WE’LL GO BUST
BOEING, GOING, GONE
Fancy a suitcase of other people’s stuff?
A f lying visit to the lost luggage lottery
and it could be yours - pants and all
Models show off the suitcase contents
Stuart, far left:
Women’s vest and shorts set, Primark
Polka-dot belt worn as tie, George
‘Baby’, far left,:
Pink babygrow with hat, Mothercare
Summer dress by Peacocks
Pink top from George
Floral top by Deisel
Pink bra, Primark
All models: unlabelled neon socks
ead people, bankrupt people and luggage-less holiday
makers: their belongings are all up for grabs at R F
Greasbys, a small auction house in Tooting.
There’s a peculiar mix of stuff here, with boxing gloves,
crates of Carlsberg, and used perfume – the remnants
of other peoples lives – stacked side by side against the grey
But it’s the lure of the lost luggage lottery that draws most people in on Tuesday mornings. Dozens of secondhand suitcases
are piled up in the room at the front, waiting to be snapped up
by their new owners. Bidders get only the vaguest description
- “black trolley case cont. mixed clothing” - and you can’t look
inside before you buy. There might be an Armani dress hiding in
there, or it could be full of skid-marked pants.
Greasbys has been run as a family business since it opened in
1919, and sells goods on behalf of airports, bailiffs, customs and
the police. The bags are from Gatwick and Heathrow; lost luggage that has been left unclaimed
after three months or more is sold off to the highest bidder. About 150 cases are sold every week,
so if you lost your bag on the way to Majorca, it
might just have ended up in Tooting.
For a beginner, the auction house is not the most
welcoming of places. But it brings together an
eclectic assortment of people, from young professionals to old hands who’ve barely missed a sale
in decades. Christine Sachett, the owner, plays
mother hen to her brood of ‘boys’ who do all the
heavy work. A no-nonsense middle-aged woman
with blonde hair and a black dress, she says we
can’t take photos inside. One of the guys leans in
towards me. “I wouldn’t cross her,” he whispers.
I decide to glean some bargain-hunting tips from the
regulars before the auction gets underway at 10.30am. “Go for
the bags that look better quality or have brand names on, like
Samsonite,” Kelly Jones, 29, from Kent, advises. She has found
Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren outfits before, but says you
can’t always tell where you’ll hit the jackpot: “They muck about
with the bags, sometimes you’ll get good stuff in tatty bags, or
cheap stuff in posh bags,” she says.
Richard from Hampstead has earned his living at Greasbys for
two decades by selling on the contents of suitcases. “The best
thing I ever found was a diamond ring in the lining of one of the
bags” he says. Another time he came across £60 in a jacket
pocket inside a suitcase. But even if there’s no Tiffany in your
lost luggage, money could be made from selling the clothes on
eBay. Or you could get a clutch of new outfits on the cheap.
But there’s the possibility of getting an unpleasant surprise too.
The auction staff are supposed to take out the dirty laundry,
but sometimes they forget, says Richard. “It’s been in there for
months. You can imagine the smell as you open it, it’s horrible.”
To enter the bidding you have to put down a £100 deposit (this
is not for the totally skint). Armed with card number 157, I bid
on a leopard-skin trolley case. But it quickly flies past my £20
limit, as do most of the bags I had my eye on. £35 seems a lot
to pay for what could be a bag of tat. But all of a sudden I’m in
luck. Lot number 48, a “red trolley case cont. ladies clothing”, is
mine for £16. Yes!
Leaving the auction at 4pm that day (you have to wait
until the bidding’s finished to pick up any goods) it felt like I was
coming home from holiday. But with somebody else’s stuff. “Been
anywhere nice?” said a cheery man in a lift on the way home. I
had to admit that I’d actually just bought the
suitcase at an auction down the road, and I
had no idea what was in the bag that I was
trailing behind me. Had the owner been on a
beach holiday? Gone skiing? Hopefully she’d
lost it on the way out when everything was
clean…It seemed very personal suddenly, as
if I’d nicked someone’s belongings.
Then came the moment of truth. As I unzipped the bag and threw it open I was presented with…lots of size 22 beachwear from
George (ASDA) and underwear and pyjamas
from Primark. Seems I’d nabbed the suitcase
of a large woman on a beach holiday. And it
was more Costa del Sol than French Riviera.
Amongst the treasures were a lone beaded flip flop, deodorant,
plenty of pants, some new baby clothes, a couple of nice vest
tops, stained shorts and a grey bra that would fit on an average person’s head (we tried it). But there were some size 12
and 14 tops and shorts too, a tell-tale sign that they do mix up
the contents of the bags. Once I’d paid the extra charges the
suitcase came to about £18 – pretty expensive for a haul of
secondhand, cheap clothes. But maybe next time I’ll get Armani
and a diamond ring.
in there for
Greasby’s is at 211 Longley Rd, SW17 9LG. Auctions held
every Tuesday at 10.30am, viewings from 2.30pm-6.30pm
Mondays and 8.30am-10.30am Tuesdays.
Tel: 02086722972. www.greasbys.com.
Auctioneering: the best of the rest
Frank G Bowen
seized by the
police. Lots feature everything
from clocks to
bikes to militaria.
to police stock
cars if you’re in
the market for a
glass and crystal
road diggers can
be found here.
and art. Low
make this popular
with buyers and
tend to include
clocks and other
well as cameras
IS IT WORTH IT?
Did I really
Michelle Obama recently wore $540
shoes to visit a shelter for homeless
Jennifer Anniston spent £40,000
on styling for the London Marley &
Me premiere. A snip for such shiny
Spot the tramp
Celebrities are known for their glitz and glam but they are always much more interesting without it. Dodging paps or just having a cheeky day off, many are now choosing
to sport the ‘tramp’ look. Here we have former tween actress, twin powerhouse and
multimillionaire Mary-Kate Olsen (middle-right), declared a fashion icon by The New
York Times for the fabulous “homeless” look she’s adopted. Stylist Karen Berenson
says: “the Olsens are the real thing. Mary-Kate makes tramps look cool.” How thankful those tramps must be.
Homeless chic has fans and followers amongst all the Stateside glitterati. Next to
Mary-Kate is former Hollywood hunk Joaquin Phoenix (middle left), last seen looking
like a tramp at LAX airport. Oscar nominated for a razor-sharp turn
as Emperor of Rome, Phoenix has gone from pin-up to puke-up
with the addition of a hobo-licious beard.
Even Drew Barrymore has ditched haute couture for homeless
hotness. If ET was stuck trying to phone home today, he and
Barrymore would be sharing a Special Brew and a park bench.
The best dressed by miles in our lineup is actual homeless
man Craig* (far left), wearing a pair of pink flares, multiple layered tops and carrying a fetching manbag. Celebs take note.
bo: a snip at
Victoria Beckham reportedly owns
100 Hermès Birkin bags, in an array
of different colours and sizes. Each
bag, just a little different from the
last, costs about £10,000
Kylie Minogue sipped a £35,000
cocktail called ‘Flawless’ at London
nightclub Movida. The cognac
and champagne tipple is the most
expensive in the world. Beyonce
performed a rousing rendition of
“Get Me Bodied” at the Black
Enetertainment Channel Awards,
wearing $100,000 gold Balenciaga
leggings and a matching bra top
An unnamed Russian
oil oligarch became
the proud owner of
the world’s most expensive house when
he purchased a Cote
d’Azur mansion for
£390m last summer
The most expensive
house in the UK is
steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal’s £117m
mansion in Kensington
Photos Phoenix: National Photo Group; Olsen: Splash news; Barrymore: gossipnewz.com; Knowles: Kevin Mazur; Handbag: Mulberry
Virgin Records boss Tony Matthews
paid £4000 to fly a takeaway curry
from the UK to New York for a dinner he was hosting with Beyonce.
He wanted an ‘authentic curry’.
From Lingfield, in Surrey
Britain’s best young artists will be exhibiting at university art shows in London
throughout June. Go with an eye for talent and some cash in your pocket and you
might just head home with an original piece by the next Damien Hirst. Charles
Saatchi does it. So should you
harles Saatchi is probably not a Cheapskate reader. The
multi-millionaire advertising industry magnate and collector of art and Nigella Lawson, is not, at first glance, the
archetypal cheap liver. But he and we could have something in common. Or at least we should have: spending the summer on the lookout for talent at the London graduate art and design
Every year a new batch of bonkers and brilliant students of the
aesthetic are tipped out onto the streets of London for one final
hurrah – the graduate show. These displays are a chance for the
next generation to show off the work they have slaved over during
their degrees. They are also, more importantly, an opportunity to
accrue commissions or sales. This is where to head to pick up a
future Damien Hirst (ex-Goldsmiths) or to commission the next Terence Conran (ex-Central St Martins), then watch the value of your
investment (hopefully) soar.
The biggest of the London shows is Free Range, an eight-week
long exhibition at The Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane, featuring art and design graduate pieces from universities all over the
country. Friday June 19 is the opening of a three-day photography
show at Free Range and Thursday June 25 is the beginning of the
dedicated art shows. The exhibition runs until July 20 and entry to
all exhibitions is free.
Andrew Marsh, 21, is midway through a design innovation combined BA and MA at Queen Mary, University of London. His exhibit
at Free Range is the Synflower, an instrument based on principles
of music therapy. Andrew’s plan for Free Range is to gauge public
reaction to his work and “show off my talent” before trying to become an established designer.
Kentaro Doi, 21, a fine art graduate, is exhibiting sculptures entitled ‘Just War’ at the Goldsmiths BA art show opening on June
19. “At Goldsmiths, a lot of students aren’t interested in selling their
work,” he said. “They are more interested in walking around and
seeing what the other art is.” That may be the case, but the success of the college’s richest art alumnus is not far from thought:
“People do come to see what we do. Goldsmiths is famous for its
art - after all it produced Damien Hirst.”
So back to Mr Saatchi, renowned for frequenting the graduate
shows. In the best art tradition of ‘knowing what I like’, he has described himself as just “a sad kid who wants to find a new sweetie”.
The sweeties he accumulated in the early 90s made the fortunes of
Young British Artists Tracy Emin, Hirst and the Chapman Brothers
– kicking off the entire Brit Art movement in the process.
Damien Hirst’s first spot paintings went for about £300 whilst he
was still at Goldsmiths. A small one now fetches over ten times
that. Got a few hundred quid and a good eye for talent? Now is the
time to get on to the streets of London and pick up some sweeties
of your own.
Shows not to miss this summer
BA: 19-22 June, MA: 10-13 July
Camberwell College of Art
BA Fine Art show: June 23-27 MA: July 15-19
Central St Martins
Foundation diploma show: June 23-27
BA Fine Art: June 23-27
MA: July 15-29
Chelsea College of Art
BA Hons Fine Art: June 20-24
MA: September 3-6
Wimbledon College of Art
Diploma in Art and Design: June 17-23
BA Fine Art: June 17-22
MA: 4-7 September
Class of 2009: Student art exhibited at Free Range
ob prospects for Britain’s brainy have
never been so poor. With the global
economy as stable as Susan Boyle, and
the number of graduates at an all-time
high, work is scarce. According to a survey of
100 firms by High Fliers Research, there are 47
per cent fewer entry-level jobs available this
year, making 2009 officially the worst year to
graduate for over two decades. Students who
have paid extortionate top-up fees for three
years to ready themselves for their dream careers are boiling kettles in an office near you.
Do you want to be bored, unchallenged and
stuck in an uncomfortable chair with only a
few discreet glances at Facebook to get you
through the day? If you have a great degree
and can make enough tea to satisfy an office
full of people whose jobs you could do in your
sleep, join the rest of your graduate friends in
the queue for work experience. There’s nothing like a bit of casual exploitation to bolster
Lack of pay, menial errands and social isolation are the common ills of work experience.
But we have found tales of much greater woe.
If you are reading this under an office table
whilst waiting for the next tedious task to
come your way, enjoy the schadenfreude...
the corporate cleaner
Susanna Underfoot, 26
My university tutors always said the best way to get a job in accountancy was to
get a summer internship with a big firm in the City. Being a hard-working, bright,
go-getting kind of girl I took their advice. I wasn’t being paid to be there, but I knew
it would pay in the long run. And either way, the practical skills would help me in
The job was tedious. I worked from 8am till 8pm doing admin tasks that required
no accounting expertise and didn’t further my ability to do the job in the slightest.
But at least I had my foot in the door, and it’s not as if they wanted to use me as a
personal slave or anything like that. Or so I thought.
Midway through the internship my job developed. Instead of working as a general dogsbody I was helping one of the head accountants with his work. It could
have been great, developing a personal relationship with a big-hitter and seeing
the workings of the top of the industry from the inside. Instead, I became a servant to his puerile daughter.
My boss had been divorced the previous year and had to look after his spoilt
daughter for a portion of the summer. She was living in his rented luxury flat in
London and spent so much of her time falling out of plush nightclubs that I had
to take over her chores.
My most demoralising task was washing her vomit-stained clothes and bed
sheets. I had to trek to and from laundrettes on sweltering buses with designer
dresses spilling out of a laundry basket that reeked of Paris Hilton style excess.
I was now acting as a maid for a bratty bitch who was older than I was, but
couldn’t manage the stress of paying other people to wash her own clothes.
At the end of the summer I was offered a job with another firm based on my
impressive reference from the bigwig boss. Every cloud...
the crocked critic
Lorna Duke, 24
Getting work experience at a national broadsheet is supposed to be quite something
for a journalism student. I had emailed my CV, phoned and generally kept nagging to
secure a single week over my Christmas holidays. I was to be working on the food
desk and was so excited. I thought this would be my big break and a chance for the
nation to see my name in print. Instead, I ended up with food poisoning.
In an effort to cover the credit crunch with a degree of flair and creativity, the bright
sparks at the paper decided to run a week-long review of the country’s cheapest
food ranges. I thought I’d be eating like a queen while working for the newspaper;
instead I ended up gorging on foods with the nutritional value of Aldi’s budget
range cat food.
If I was less than enamoured with the idea of ingesting cut-price groceries, the
paper’s food critic was furious. She point blank refused to let anything nonorganic pass across her lips. So it was me who had to try the cheapest, vilest and most fattening foods Britain has to offer. Monday was spent eating
mounds of plastic marketed as cheese; Tuesday was meat day; Wednesday
pasta sauces, and so on.
The worst moment of the week was reserved for Saturday morning, when I
rushed out to buy the newspaper. All my friends and relatives were told to buy it to
see my first foray into proper journalism. I opened up the food section only to see my name and
photo were absent. Instead the regular writer stood beaming, healthy and altogether non-food poisoned over
my finely written and much suffered-for words. I burned the damn thing.
the poop scooper
Gracie Coupland, 26
I had just finished my English degree in Durham and wanted to go into
fashion journalism. I wanted to write for Vogue and was told the best
way to get into fashion was to do some work experience with a fashion
PR company. The boss of the company I worked for was a very powerful
lady in the industry so I was chuffed to find myself helping her out for two
weeks. My path to the top seemed to be paved with sartorial gold.
The first few days were intimidating as my boss came across like Meryl
Streep’s character in The Devil Wears Prada. But if it worked out for Anne
Hathaway, it could work out for me. Or so I thought.
I found myself making coffee and trying to look as pretty as the rest of the
girls in the office for the first week. Not exactly what I’d been hoping for but
not too demoralising. I knew if I kept my head down the boss would give me
more responsibility in the second week.
I turned up bright and early the next Monday morning, awaiting my promotion. Sure enough, the boss had a special project for me. I was over the
moon. Until she handed me her Chihuahua, dog lead and designer poop
scoop. My new role was to walk her rat-dog through the streets of London
and make sure that any excrement was tidied.
I was sent out to Hyde Park with champagne kisses and the words “If she’s
being temperamental give her right leg a lift into the air and she’ll do her business no problem,” ringing in my ears. Two weeks in the fashion industry were
enough for me.
Send your soul
to [email protected]
They pop - you shop.
the pop-up eateries and
stores emerging at a
derelict space near you
Photo Lee Iddiols
ants shopping at Marks & Spencer, crowned by dinner
at Pizza Express, has long been a British institution. But
in scant times (of money, not aforementioned pants),
such habits seem unnecessary, and perhaps just a tad
Pop-up shops used to be a way for fashion and art graduates
to sell ripped tights and vomit-stained canvasses to the trendy
and well informed. A disused space – shop, ship, sitting room,
shed – temporarily becomes a boutique, until stock or fickle
zeitgeist-obsessed customers run out.
Now plummeting budgets and MTV attention spans are
bringing the pop-up shop/restaurant out of secret Shoreditch
hideaways (well, some of them). Normal people with an interest
in cooking and a surplus of chairs are opening up their living
rooms as restaurants and taking bookings.
Pop-up restaurant sensations MsMarmiteLover and Horton Jupiter are friends running eating establishments from
their homes. Word of mouth, Facebook and a blog on veggie cooking tips kept these two ‘underground restaurants’ in
customers. Until, that is, their cool credentials were properly
cemented when they were outed in the Guardian.
MsMartmiteLover’s Kilburn living room/restaurant will feed
you a full vegetarian dinner for £15 per head. Horton’s Wednesdays-only Japanese feast in Dalston will set you back a tenner.
Unsurprisingly, both insist vehemently they are not “doing it for
The retail experience is also going domestic. Horton happily
admits he bought his mismatched cutlery from jumble sales
held in houses and squats. Such short-term home-made
shops are less easy to track down on the internet, but a productive afternoon wandering around Brixton Market can prove
After ascertaining that they were legitimate (and not drug
dealers or rapists) I followed Paul and Simon into a building on
Electric Avenue, through a cast-iron door opened and closed
by a massive slide lock. Four flights of stairs up was a bustling landing filled with people perusing second hand books,
clothes and furniture. “It’s for the Brixton locals,” says Paul with
a shrug. As well as taking money, people swap items with each
other. “This is a nice community”, he says.
So, you’ve now ditched your M&S boxers in favour of some
second hand candle sticks and you’ve waved goodbye to a
Pizza Romana to herald in a homemade gyoza dumpling on a
But what about those who aren’t quite ready to abandon
brands, receipts and VAT bills altogether?
Many clothing labels or homeware brands hold sample
sales to either trial new products or clear end of season stuff.
These aren’t so much ‘pop-up shops’ as ‘sneak in and see if
anyone notices shops.’ They are usually unadvertised and in
place for as little as a day. Cheapskates in denial, or those with
expensive other halves to maintain, can find labels like Alexander McQueen, Paul Smith and Nicole Farhi selling for up to 90
per cent off retail price.
A Nike pop-up shop in Shoreditch with a limited edition range to peddle
The trick to finding sample sales is to befriend a blabbermouth
fashionista or hang out where the sales happen – usually big
open plan rent-a-spaces like the Old Truman Brewery on Brick
Lane, The Old Sessions House in Clerkenwell, Centro One in
Camden and myriad town halls, meeting rooms and conference
centres across the city. Local vintage boutiques are good places
to ask, and check out the drink-sozzled, sample sale-hopping
exploits of urbanjunkies.co.uk.
Inevitably, the pop-up shop/restaurant notion has been seized
in the eagle-like talon of the corporate monoliths that need it
least. Most notably Nike, who get one one sniff of urban cool
and come running. Nestling on Bateman’s Row in – where else
– Shoreditch, the Nike concept store comes and goes with the
high-end limited edition collections that it sells. There is more
floor space devoted to concrete trainers and sculptures than
stock and the walls are covered in one-off paintings of athletes
frozen in a nanosecond of sporting superiority.
Even the Royal Academy of Arts hosts a sporadic pop-up
restaurant-cum-art gallery called Flash, currently closed, until
the RAA is next in need of a gastronomic experiment *cough*
Pop-ups are fleeting, flighty and perilously close to the cutting
edge. Keep your wits about you and your ear to the ground
and no doubt a scintillating ephemeral experience is to be had.
But perhaps, just sometimes, there is no harm in photocopying
Pizza Express 2for1 vouchers like the rest of us.
the places going pop
38 Carnaby Street, W1F
Plays host to art galleries, second hand clothes
boutiques, gift shops
The Old Truman Brewery, E1
Sprawling venue full of rooms becoming pop-up
restaurants and shops, notable for its designer label
As the pop-up restaurant phenomenon ripples out of
the trendy cliques that started it, new people and new
places, well, pop up. The latest is the Savoy Truffle
Club - see savoytrufflesupperclub.com for bookings
Westfield shopping centre, W12
Save the Children has teamed up with fashion mag
Grazia to host a pop-up shop in an unused space
at the uber-mall. Designer threads are all donated,
much cheaper than retail price and all proceeds go
straight to the charity
MsMarmiteLover can be found at marmitelover.blogspot.com. For Horton Jupiter search for ‘The Secret Ingredient’ on Facebook.
Fed up with the same old cuts of meat? Wasting
cash on pet food? we challenged the best (known)
chefs in the world to provide cut-price recipes of
the highest pedigree
Mains: labrador ravioli
Side: flash fried terrier puppy salad
Dessert: cocker spaniel cheesecake
One stray labrador
Fresh rolled ravioli
A big pair of bollocks
Right. Now. You’ll need a big pair of bollocks for this one.
Got them? Let’s go big boy. Catch a stray dog. What do
you mean you don’t want to? Show some fucking passion
man! What are you? A pitbull or a poodle? Now – tenderise the flesh. Dog. Ravioli. Oil. Boil. Done. Now fuck off.
Flash fried terrier puppy salad
Photo David Loftus
Baby dogs, yeah!
Fresh organic Jamie Oliver Sainsbury’s peas, geez!
Fresh Jamie Oliver Sainsbury’s spinach, yeah!
Pedigree Chum, mate!
A CD of my band Scarlet Division to cook to, yeah!
Forget about all that fancy schmancy ‘hote quizene’ crap
- cookin’ a dogg is all about salad. From Sainsbury’s. Pukka! Never mind Borough Market, forget Tesco, no mate,
not Aldi - ride your push-bike down your local Sainsbury’s
for some quality veg. Quality.
Buy something with my face on it. Anything! From Sainsbury’s. Next, hush the puppy, take its head off and don’t
be squeamish, they’ve had a good few weeks roaming
free round your back yard. Fry it up with some lovely fresh
Jamie Oliver spinach and peas. Then throw my rubbish
CD in the bin. Sprinkle over any leftover Pedigree Chum
you have in the cupboard – Rover won’t be needing that
anymore. Bish. Bash. Dosh (for me). (And Sainsbury’s).
Cocker spaniel cheesecake
One rigid cocker
There’s no point making a cheesecake when you can
watch me eating a cheesecake. Oh Look! I’m in a nightie.
You don’t mind, do you? It’s just so hot in here... Right,
let’s get down to it. Give the cocker ten minutes with the
melted cheese and you’ll have a hot, creamy mix ready for
some tabletop action. No dogging session is never complete without nuts! Sprinkle some over – hmmmm nuts.
Wait till the sweet treat goes firm, hard and expands. Give
your cocker a little pat and purr like a kitten. Who wants to
help me lick the spoon?
WHAT KIND OF CHEAPSKATE ARE YOU?
You’ve saved up enough to take your loved one out for a slap up meal. What do you
a) A small piece of bamboo to chew on – it’s nature’s toothbrush.
b) I’ve never paid a bill in my life.
c) 10 per cent, 15 per cent if I’m seriously impressed with the service.
d) Get a better job. That’s a good tip for a waiter, right?
Your friend is short of cash and urgently needs to borrow a tenner. What do you think?
a) The only tenners I’ve ever had I’ve laminated and stitched together to make a raincoat.
b) No chance. There’s no way I’m spending money on anyone other than me.
c) I’m not exactly flush but what goes around comes around. Never know when I might need a
d) I’ve only got fifties. And my driver carries my wallet for me.
You’re short on cash but the nearby bank machine charges for use. What do you do?
a) I wrapped all my money in a banana leaf and buried it years ago, so it’s no problem.
b) Pull my cap low across my face, sit in a stoop with an empty coffee cup and wait for the free
money to roll in. Easy.
c) Go looking for the nearest ATM that isn’t a rip off. Shouldn’t be too far.
d) What’s a bank machine? Is it, like, your parents?
Mostly As… The
The hottie you’ve fancied for ages finally agrees to a date. What would you do with
a) We’d go for a walk in the woods followed by a dinner of foraged mushrooms and road kill,
cooked over a flaming oil barrel. Delicious.
b) The Savoy, The Ivy and Nobu are all possibilities. All I know is I won’t be paying.
c) A free gig and cheap bite to eat – as long as I’m with my date I’m sure it’ll be fun.
d) A day out at the races. I can pretend to be excited about betting while checking out the
You are the Ray Mears
of London. The type
who can survive for
days with a toothpick,
eight grains of sugar
and a compass. You
have skills and bravery
but you think the Gherkin is actually made
from pickled cucumber
and is designed to sustain city dwellers when
all the food runs out.
City life isn’t for you.
When getting dressed in the morning, what are you most likely to put on?
a) Anything camouflage.
b) Whatever I can find in my housemate’s room once he or she’s left for work
c) Vintage stuff from charity shops, especially clothes that I’ve altered myself.
d) I’ll pull on my pre-ripped skinny jeans and trendy tankie but cut out the designer labels.
Mostly Bs… The
You are an extremely
smooth financial operator, with a keen eye for
a bargain and a healthy
bank balance. You
also happen to be an
scabby bag of scum.
You’ve been given five days off work. What do you do?
a) Head to the forest, pitch a tent and find a wild animal to wrestle, kill and eat – just as mother
b) Either bum around on the sofa to avoid spending money or hit the streets and pretend to collect for charity. Depends on the weather.
c) Take in as many free exhibitions, markets and gigs as possible.
d) Jet off to Daddy’s beach house in Nice – but I’ll make sure to tell everyone I’m going to
Blackpool, wherever that is.
Mostly Cs… The
You truly have more
sense than money. You
embody the cheapskate
spirit – we commend
What do you look for in an ideal partner?
a) They’ve got to like it rough and ready. Me Tarzan, You Jane! Can’t be afraid of getting dirty.
b) A really great personality, great looks and a sense of humour are completely unimportant. Just
a pocket full of cash.
c) If they can make me laugh and don’t sponge any money, that’s plenty grand for me.
d) Someone who can teach me how to be cheap. Commoners are so fun and zany! I can only
spare two days a week in between ballet lessons and utilising my annual membership of The
Mostly Ds… The Fake
Yeah, yeah. So you
once visited a bookies and have recently
learned what a kebab is.
But trying to order Dom
Perignon in the Dog and
Bull gives you away.
You’re as fraudulent as
an MP’s expense form.
Back to your country
You come across a tenner in the street. What do you think?
a) I don’t need a tenner – all I need is two coppers to rub together to make a fire.
b) Pocket it and don’t tell your friends. Subsequently claim to have lost a tenner so that they buy
you a drink at the pub. Even better, someone might find a tenner and think it’s yours.
c) Spoil yourself and your mates by buying an extra round of drinks at the pub.
d) Christ it’s a tenner – anything below a £50 note is crass and distasteful.
...and the church of stop shopping
Bill Talen, aka the Reverend Billy, 59, from Minnesota, USA, is the High Priest of the Church of Life
After Shopping. He and his gospel choir stage
interventions at supermarkets, on a mission to
stop customers before they buy. He is running as
the Green Party candidate for Mayor of New York
and recently brought his campaign to Britain.
Why should we stop shopping?
Consumerism has shut us down, sister! The level of shopping
that we have got to is ridiculous. When we do this we’re receiving
instructions from the advertisers to shop, shop, shop. But now
we have to stop that shopping and back away from the gleaming
products calling out to us from the shelf. The government won’t do
it so we are calling for the social change. Say hallelujah!
Amen! The Holy Spirit has praised me.
Why do you use the church to spread your message?
The most effective activists in our culture come from backgrounds
of faith. Think of Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Desmond Tutu.
Preaching is singing and talking at the same time. It is American
vocal tradition, like hip-hop.
Are you a real church leader?
I don’t know the distinction, sister, I don’t know; am I real? All I
know is we are killing ourselves now - amen! We are attacking
life itself by the way we’re consuming things. We have start new
economies fast. The government won’t do it – they’re moving too
slow. We have been subject to a marketing hypnosis. We have
to find a way of being surreal to get back to the real. We have to
believe in the impossible in order to get back to the possible.
Why are you here in the UK?
Americans have a lot to learn from the UK. They’ve led the way in
fair trade and environmental issues. We work with Tescopoly [who
protest about supermarkets like Tesco stamping out local business]. The level of awareness is bigger in the UK, plus they get my
sense of humour. Hallelujah!
You carry out interventions at supermarkets. How do these
You have to go straight to the genitals of the corporation. We don’t
have any time for talking. That time has passed. You have to go
up to the cash point, put your hands on the till and say a prayer,
a big prayer, what I call a ‘power prayer’. We pray the money will
flow the other way to the people. We have to make radical change.
We’re out of time. It’s the shoppocalypse!
For more information on the Church of Life
After Shopping go to www.revbilly.com
The Robbers Bank of Scotland
Produced by Cheapskate inc. Cheapskate squat, Goldsmiths College, MRB30, Lewisham Way, New Cross, London, SE14 6NW