Skip to Content

Crassness

An educational dialogue explaining the workings of modern capitalism and rebellion, based on genuine events.

Scene: An alternative bar in North London. Cool movie posters plaster the walls. Electronic music pumps out unusually quiet from speakers – it is a week day evening.

Enter Pik Smeet, wearing broad brimmed hat, trying to look like a Puritan. He approaches the bar, buys a bottle of cider, and sits at his chair of many years usage. After him, come two middle-aged male punks, spikey haired, leather-clad with tattoos and chains strewn around their bodies – back from smoking outside. They sit around the corner of the bar from Comrade Smeet.

Punk 1: …So, my boss says, when you’ve got all the money in, that's it, you can go home.
Punk 2: Gah! Like I need another reason to hate you – easy street.
Punk 1: Yeah, I hate me too. We own market places all over London. Go round, collect the cash, nice little job.
Punk 2: Bet you get a stack of griping from all the stallholders.
Punk 1: That’s why I don’t hang around after I’ve picked up the rent.
Punk 2: Too right. You have many places?
Punk 1: Yeah, Camden, Oxford Street, Piccadilly Circus. All over the joint. Going to be more now, we’ve just bought out a former Woolworths store, now they’ve collapsed.
Punk 2: Oh, really, what you going to do with that?
Punk 1: Well, unless a big firm comes along and makes us an offer, we’re gonna turn it into small units. You make more money breaking big stores up into units, see. Could get you a place if you fancy one.
Punk 2: Well, I’m only interested as a customer.
Punk 1: Ah, well, then, you’ll like our night clubs. They’re good money too – we have a chain of clubs, you know the ones, one near Farringdon.
Punk 2: Oh, them – the strip places?
Punk 1: Well, call them night clubs, but, basically, well, they’re brothels. Then, that’s where the money is.
Punk 2: Yeah – you should try working in making porn films, I make good money shooting them.
Punk 1: Well, I used to, but I got out because the money isn’t there any more. And, y’know, that’s why you do it, I mean, it’s fun, you get to travel the world, but the bottom line is the money. If you’re not making any, there’s no point doing it.
Punk 2: You reckon?
Punk 1: Yeah. You see, America – yer biggest market, y’know, they won’t allow you to import films any more. And you can’t get a visa to enter the states and shoot the films. That’s it, no point being in the game any more.
Punk 2: Well, I still make good money – hand over fist – I think you should have stuck with it, mate, it’s a good game – so long as it’s not the only thing you can do.
Punk 1: That reminds me – one girl, we were driving her round London, showing her some sites, got to Trafalgar square, I said “And that’s Nelson’s column” she said to me “Who?” I mean, totally dumb – nothing else she could do that be in the business.
Punk 2: Was she English?
Punk 1: Perfectly, girl next door. The quality product, not one of your Eastern European girls.
Punk 2: Ooh, the very thing. Mind you, when I was living above the brothel your English birds would last until lunchtime, and when there wasn’t plenty of food forthcoming, they be off out the door. Least the eastern birds have to hang around.
Punk 1: On our shoots we’d have about four hundred quid a week to just send out to Sainsbury’s for food. We were a big crew, so, you know, we’d all need feeding. Twelve hours a day we were doing – a laugh.  I know, half hour bursts of work, but we were there for the whole long day. Great fun.
Punk 2: Have you tried flogging your stuff over the internet?
Punk 1: That’s just it – who wants to pay forty quid for hardcore pornography when you can download stacks of it for virtually nothing.
Punk 2: Well, you get to control your own business, from beginning to end – production and distribution – everything except the credit card payments – you need someone else to do that –
Punk 1: Usually from Russia.
Punk 2: You have to be careful with them, but, yes, the Russians can helps you with the financial side of things.
Punk 1: Y’ See, I mean, the technology is out there, anyone can make porn – and it’s the home-made look, with the girl next door, that really draws in the punters.
Punk 2: That’s what we’re good at doing – your punters want realistic-looking sex, and we do home-made look quite well. It’s a skill to achieve that look. That’s what we bring – technology is cheapening the production process, but we still add value through our skills.
Punk 1: Well, the value we add gets less all the time, I reckon I’m better off collecting the rent. Right, next fag.

Punk 1 stands up, on his shirt is sewn a badge with a picture of Karl Marx, over his heart. He pulls on his studded leather jacket, and goes out for a smoke.

Smeet (to himself): Well, that’s punk for you, rebellion within capitalism – non-conformity can be highly profitable. Reckon I’ll go home and write all this down – a little morality play full of symbolic resonances and the like.