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Creators and consumers

Radio four was asking people to phone in and tell them which sort of person they were; the sort who spent their money on things, or the sort who spent it on experiences. This is a question for the consumers of our age. No-one was phoning in saying, ‘Actually I spend every penny on the bare essentials of life and I am still falling behind.’ probably because they can’t spare the time from their below minimum wage, zero hours, sub-contract, job. Too busy cleaning a hospital and they can’t afford the phone call.

That, of course, is only one approach to the dichotomy posed, which, like most dichotomies is quite false. I did not get the opportunity to listen to much of the programme, but I expected someone pointed out they had bought some thing which enabled experience; ‘We bought ourselves a camper van and are exploring the costal path.’, but there are usually more than two possibilities.

The framing of the question directs it towards consumers; consumers of experiences and consumers of goods, what about creatives? Painters are notoriously poor they spend their time creating rather than earning, and spend what money they have on expensive pigments, paints and canvases. I guess as artists go writers are relatively well off, we don’t need things, a Stradivarius, a concert hall, or a huge chunk of marble to carve, but we do need opportunity, money buys us time.

I regard gardening as a form of creation, as well as writing. When I make money I am making the opportunity to indulge myself. Neither is very expensive in terms of the materials needed, well gardening can be, but not the way I practice it. With slips of plants from friends and growing from seed I actually make it pay me more than it costs, when I did other people’s gardens I was in them whilst the owners were off making the money to pay me. Sometimes I almost felt guilty. Perhaps one day writing will do the same, and a ‘Read for the Train’ will be read on the train whilst I create. Both my creative hobbies are dear in terms of time, and on the whole it is time that any surplus cash buys me.

The exception to that is spending money on myself, my own body, I don’t stint when it comes to good, food, or dentists and opticians, though I am a miser when it comes to clothes, warm and covering is sufficient, I really don’t give a damn about fashion.


What about ephemeral things? What about consumables? You can't have your cake and eat it. (except in my novel of course. See chapter 7.) Things serve no purpose except to create an experience, even if it is only the feeling of owning something that serves no purpose, which as you have pointed out is a luxury. Some people are obliged to eat their cake even when it has gone stale. No, things are just a means to an end while experiences are ends in themselves. They are chalk and cheese. (Gosh, writing this is making me hungry.) What do we write about most here, our possessions or our experiences?

As for fashion, surely it's those who don't give a damn about the current fashion who create the new one, isn't it? Hence not giving a damn about it must itself be fashionable, not that you and I would give a damn if it weren't. (Yeah, my blood sugar must be low. I must stop writing this rubbish. We only eat cake at the weekends as a rule. It makes the experience more memorable.)
Olly, throughout my life, I've given my family many short, and too often repeated, guides to living. Two are:

Be generous with others and frugal with yourself.

Do not wear your money, and be cautious of those who do.

Unfortunately, my son, who is monied, is not only frugal with himself, but frugal with others. He is still my work in progress, on that one.
sas;bt10107 said:
Do not wear your money, and be cautious of those who do.

I recently had a new three piece hand tailored suit made by my tailor at great expense. When I say "my tailor" he has never actually made me any clothes before. In fact neither had his predecessor at that shop. No, the last tailor there to make me a suit was his predecessor over thirty years ago, but in the long tradition of tailors they still had my details on file, so I was a welcome returning customer. I only grudgingly replaced my old suit because the trousers no longer fitted me and I need one occasionally when attending charity events.

So, why should one be cautious of a person who takes good care of their clothes so that they last a long time? As the trousers for that old suit didn't fit I wore the jacket with other trousers during our recent luxury cruise on the Rhine and the cruise manager told me that I was obviously a gentleman. Why, because I wore a very old jacket that was clearly well made, well cared for and fitted me or because I bothered to wear a tie with it? It's just that I am determined to get full value from it and I like the colour. When we sat at the captain's table at the gala dinner I also wore a gaudy waistcoat with the jacket, but that was one that my angel had made for me at very little cost, so it was all just an illusion. I don't think of myself as a gentleman but I also don't think that anyone needs to be cautious of me because of the way that I dress sometimes. Sometimes all that clothes tell is that a person is attentive to detail in everything that they do and that is hardly a bad thing, is it?
I am sure others will recognize those I am speaking about. I know them when I see them. It is not about taking good care of one's clothes, being nicely dressed. It's the showing off of money, as the primary purpose of what one wears, and on a daily basis.
escorial;bt10113 said:
Gardening as a form of creation...thats a biblical outlook..cool man
That is creating like artists sculptors or writers create, not God like. I am a firm non-believer, the laws of physics and natural selection offer a sufficient explanation of the universe for me without the complication of an inexplicable God.
When the flowers bend in the wind they are not bowing to their creator....God's are deffo inexplicable dude....
JustRob;bt10110 said:
I recently had a new three piece hand tailored suit made by my tailor at great expense.
I think the phrase 'wear your money' refers to a display of ostentation rather than literaly the clothes being expensive. Wearing fitting clothes made from quality, natural materials strikes me as another example of 'spending money on yourself', but I think you understand that really :)
I am reminded of the story about the man who lived by twenty commandments, the first ten, and a further ten which were identical but prefaced by the phrase 'Thou shalt not give others cause ...'. The applicable one would be 'Thou shalt not give others cause for covetousness'. 'Be wary of those that do' also strikes me as a sensible addition to all ten.

I, also, am an atheist. As matriarch of my family, I have repetiously provided them with commandments to live their life by. For the most part, they always follow them. I think I'm doing better than a god. I'd write "smiles", but I'm not kidding.
Olly Buckle;bt10121 said:
I think the phrase 'wear your money' refers to a display of ostentation rather than literaly the clothes being expensive. Wearing fitting clothes made from quality, natural materials strikes me as another example of 'spending money on yourself', but I think you understand that really :)

Do we just wear the clothes that we do for ourselves or for others though? In life we play many roles, but one of them must be just for ourselves. One has no self except through being selfish.

I have an expensive sweater that I bought in 1967. My angel now refuses to repair it any more because it has become so threadbare, so the holes in it just keep getting bigger, but I still wear it for odd jobs around the home. That is as much a part of my character as that new suit. My old clothes are for me, the new ones for other people. I just play the part that is expected of me in public, but in private I excel at being shabby. Clothes enable us to change who we appear to be to suit the circumstances. As to having fitted clothes made, that is just the result of my being a non-standard shape.

While we were on our river cruise my angel said that she wondered why so many of the American women wore cropped pants when they just didn't look elegant. I pointed out that it saved having to get ones that were the right length. She is enough of a needlewoman to make any simple clothes fit well, but a man's suit is too much of a challenge for her. It was an expensive cruise, so anyone on it was being ostentatious just by being there to my mind. We always tried to look smart because we were Brits among many Americans, but to be honest we hardly needed to try. So who was being selfish in the way that they dressed?

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