I'm wealthy but I like a bargain. One part of that statement is true - can you guess which? Do you know anyone who's well-off? Me neither. There's an assumption. Perhaps you do - perhaps you are. The subject cropped up last week when LJ and I were discussing the sale of Art, as in 'Who's rich enough to buy it?' And more to the point 'Who's rich enough to not be bothered about spending any money on Art?' Collectors aside, of course.
Oh how we laughed about the fact that we know neither Art-buyers or anyone with a fair amount of dosh sloshing around in their account. Coincidence? Is it a lifestyle thing? Well, obviously, up to a point. You don't get rich being 'alternative'. Alternative how? Taste? There must be some people who's taste runs to the alternative in kulchur but they also have careers and money. Of course there are. I've just not met them. Ever.
I don't mean people with 'refined' taste. They're two-a-penny and they can have money. I mean those who've struggled their whole lives with Work because they weren't cut out for Big Careers. They don't necessarily lead Alternative Lives but, you know, job-to-job lives involving spells on the dole. They aren't driven by the desire for money; that stuff we all want but don't all shape our lives around getting plenty of it. Those that do must start early. At school, perhaps. Or does the natural aptitude for, say, medicine or architecture (for instance) come first? Lucky people. They're driven to be professionals in something because they want to be and they get the financial rewards years later. So what if they never know the joys of a Sun Ra album.
Then there's the minority Successful Artists of some kind. Those bastards! Imagine making things (films, books, novels) and getting well rewarded. Envy must be at the root of so much hatred thrown at certain artists. Not that it's acknowledged. "Look at that shit! And she's a millionaire three times over!"...."He can't even paint!" etc. I was probably like that for a while, then I realised, I dug out the bitter root of envy and threw it away. If any artist from an ordinary background gets rich, good luck to them. I don't care if they're conning rich investors and they don't care because the value of their stock can only rise. Win, win.
I've met people with money. Yes, they're usually boring. They may be nice, polite and intelligent, but they're marked by a lifelong dedication to The Job. They didn't get where they are today by constantly having wayward thoughts, visions and notions of how warped the rest of society is whilst they travel on their own wobbly rail. No. They sat themselves down in the comfy chair of conformity early on, worked hard and Hey Presto, woke up with a nice house, car, kids, partner, dog etc. They've never peered out their windows to look at all the Other People and wondered where the hell they fit in or why they sometimes feel like strangers in a strange land.
There are exceptions, I know. Some drift into Good Jobs, jobs they may even like and get paid well for. I think I know a few, but when did you last ask a friend how much they earn? They don't buy Art, though, as far as I know. When did you last ask a friend to buy something you made? It seems a little...cruel, putting them on the spot like that. You don't do it, naturally.
These thoughts started this morning after I'd bagged a couple of bargains. One being the Harry Harrison book above, the other being this...