High-Visibility Capitalism – say no and keep saying no #GiletsJaunes

I made these a few years ago; my “LOSER” hi-viz vests, and here is the spiel that I used to sell them.

“These are made in China by children. I buy them online at £1.75 each and “add value” with my unique branding and sell them for £25. I got the idea from Premier League football.”

It is many years ago, so I might not remember the exact details, but I heard a radio interview with the parent of (I think) two young boys who was not angry, just frustrated, and he said (of whichever Premier League football club that it was) “Do they really have to issue a third away-strip?”. That weary father knew exactly how he was being played but his manner indicated that he knew that he knew he had no choice. I chose the price of £25 for my own mass-produced tat because that was the price of replica football shirts at the time of the interview. The machine-printed nylon shirts, made in sweatshops in the far east are nearer £80 now.

Rapacious capitalists are very aware of the potent pester-power that is at the disposal of children (I’ve moaned about this before), and this football club knew very well that their fans would have to buy yet another replica strip for their little tykes to compete with each other, and so this is my attempt at satirising their high-visibility capitalism.

In June 2013 I took a stall at a craft fair where I sold various items from my catalogue of satirical anti-commercial products, including the “LOSER” vests. It was just a stunt, and I never expected to actually sell any, but one man found the idea so entertaining that he actually coughed up £25 for a badly stencilled hi-viz vest with “LOSER” written on the back.

I didn’t see that coming.

I am a sometime-performer and professionals more experienced than me will tell you that the way to deal with the unexpected is to expect it. Try to imagine what might go wrong, how you might be interrupted or what technical failures might occur, and you are much better prepared to deal with it. I have a variable history of success in the matter, but when I succeeded most is when I had expected the unexpected.

Momentarily, I was tempted to refuse his money, but he called my bluff and I felt honour-bound to complete the transaction. True to my socialist principles, I redistributed the unearned wealth immediately afterwards in the Rutland Arms public house.

It might have taken four years for the idea to catch on but maybe that is where France’s Gilets Jaune got the idea, a different kind of personal protective equipment, a highly visible attempted protection from wealth extraction and disaster capitalism.

I also planned some children’s sizes but never made them.

 

I threw in with Gandhi some time ago and I do not advocate rioting, violence or the destruction of property, but I do advocate non-violent civil disobedience.

Don’t believe what you hear on BBC News or Channel 4 News about the Gilets Jaune, it is more than just a protest about a rise in fuel tax, and the very same things apply here in the UK. I hesitate to wish for revolution, but something revolutionary will happen, either by design or accident. With corrupt politicians, post-competent institutions and an economic system that rewards the destruction of our own environment, collapse is inevitable.  We are being screwed by high-visibility corruption in government, commerce and the media, but here in the UK, we’re so inured to corruption that we don’t even notice it any more.

In the meantime, I have plenty of “LOSER” vests left so please get in touch if you would like to be exploited by my particular brand of high-visibility capitalism.

Vive la révolution de la haute visibilité!

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Getting ready for Open Up Sheffield 2018 at Replicast Art Studios #OpenUpSheffield

I have reconfigured my studio to make a bit more space to accommodate the hoards of well-heeled art connoisseurs & rich patrons that will be beating a path to my door in order to throw money at me.

Just kidding.

The garage shelving has turned out to be a good choice. It can be built to half height at 90cm (the same as a kitchen worktop) so I can work standing up, and I have temporarily built two of the benches into a full height unit to make more floorspace.

As I have worked in a lot of different media and covered a lot of subjects, I am planning to present some sort of lucky dip or wheel of fortune in order to bless my possibly meagre audience with a random taste of The Bolam™ Experience. There will also be a Bolam™ micro-supermarket, Disco-X and maybe even an appearance from The New Bank of X.

Please come and see us at the newly-established Replicast Art Studios at 5 East Bank Road S2 2RL (opposite the Texaco garage) on 5, 6 & 7 May 11am – 5pm as part of Open Up Sheffield 2018. We will also be having a launch event on Saturday 5th May 5.30pm – 9.30pm, free entry.

Dress: Fabulous!

http://openupsheffield.co.uk/
https://replicaststudio.carbonmade.com/

In through the out door – Bolam Metaspective #BolamAt60

I decided to do this some time ago, but now is when the work begins in earnest. After the post-event anti-climax passed, I have had time to assess the successes and failures of Retrospective: Richard Bolam at 50 and decided to do the whole thing again when I am 60. It won’t be the same, but it will be in some ways. The work is all in the past and some of the documentation will be the same, but there will also be a lot of new stuff and hopefully a few loose ends tied up that I didn’t have time or resources to complete.

This blog will be my main site for any new work in the intervening years and I will be working towards a year of fun and excitement between April 24 2024 and April 23 2025. If you didn’t see any of the Retrospective stuff, there is an ample blog here:
http://richardbolamat50.wordpress.com

And there is a new blog for Metaspective: Richard Bolam at 60 here:
http://bolamat60.wordpress.com

There are also a series of BOLAM blogs (see right) that are there to contain various simultaneous projects and there will no doubt be lots more product.

Stay tuned…