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The Story of Stuff

I’ve got a few bits and pieces to report, but none of them ground breaking. I have committed to reading more, so The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist is being gnawed away steadily. I had a major disagreement with my Kobo device as it decided not to update where I had got to! It has done this before, so my love of it is waning. I usually read on my phone anyway as I always have it with me.

The main reason for this post is to provide a link to a video called the story of stuff. This is a video that I found on the only blog in my blogroll so far; Post-Consumer Life. I am grateful for their help finding it. The video is quite full on, but while I usually don’t pull the hard line on subjects like this, I found that there isn’t much of the video that you can disagree with.

As I find out more about anti consumerism it appears that the same basic arguments are used in this and the ecological debates, and they are valid for the same basic reasons. The story of stuff states that consumerism is the driving force behind the industry that requires us to break the planet. Quite a bit of the issues raised in the story of stuff could be resolved in a slightly idealistic future where we can create the things we need in a way that doesn’t produce harmful chemicals and exploit nature and other people. Still, the video servers as a good aid to removing the blinkers of our first world existence and at least showing us the reality of our actions. What we choose to do with this knowledge is up to us.

When I started the blog I was concerned that I would find a more serious side to anti consumerism. My blinkers were already off, but over the past few days I have found a renewed interest in not wanting to use packaging, not wanting to get cups of tea when out, etc. Yet in the same way as ecological issues, there is a line of action and each person find where they fit on it; full on tree hugger or concious consumer. And more than that, it’s a complicated business. If I don’t buy a fair trade cup of tea when out, but take a flask of tea with me that is made using tea from a super market, made with mass produced milk, how does that stack up??? How does consumerism see the same situation? I *think* that the solution is to buy ethically produced food at home and when you are out. So does that make this an ecological debate, an anti-consumer debate or a ethical debate, or are all 3 intrinsically linked.
A unified philosophy. Be nice, respect other people. It’s the playground rules that will resolve global issues!!

I’m also very aware from post consumer life blog that one person’s changes don’t solve world issues. On the other hand, talking about why you do it just might! I have a feeling that this where the story of The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist is also taking me. Its changing the understanding of a lot of people that is the problem, or put another way, if you accept the system, you support the system.

Have I found a way to keep myself to a path to read the books I don’t get round to, or have I unexpectedly found something else that brings together other more ecological views that I have previously held.

And there was me worrying that I might find a more serious side…
p.s. I have also decided that I will not announce that a post will be short when I start each one, just so I can write half a book and contradict myself!!

Temptation and the long road

I am discovering so much about post consumerism. That’s not for this post, but I just wanted to share. Diary wise, I am cracking through The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist, and it is proving to be a much more relevant book to the whole ethos of this blog than I was expecting.

Anyway, onwards. its late and I just wanted to share the pictures below. I’ll start with my first purchasing temptation since the blog started. We went to The Vyne which is a National Trust house in Basingstoke UK. It has a huge second hand book shop in the main house. The photo below is of one of the rooms!

Vyne Book Shop

I actually felt a bit odd when I was reminded that the house had a book shop. Even more odd, I felt a bit of a tingle as I walked into a bookshop knowing that I wasn’t going to buy anything! I don’t always buy in book shops, but the knowledge that I definitely wouldn’t, even if I saw a book I liked was weird. My abstinence from buying didn’t stop me looking though. I was almost willing myself to find a book that I really wanted so that I could not buy it… I am odd in the head!

Later this afternoon, once we were back home, I had to go into our loft to get something. I had a bit of a rummage around and found a couple of cardboard boxes full of books. Some of them I had read, but I found quite a few books I have not read that I had forgotten about!! I thought I would take a photo of a few of them for posterity. I’m looking forward to reading some of these, but there are a couple of odd ones in there. The one about shamanism may be a good practical assignment (??) and I have a feeling that the Monica Lewinski one is going to be hard going, no pun intended. How do you make a book out of “was a secretary, gave the president a blowy, the end”?? Anyway, that one is signed, so I should take care of that. It will be worth a mint one day #definitelywontbe.

Then, once the excitement of finding all those books waned, hidden at the back of the loft I spied the image below. It is the end of a big plastic storage box. It is FULL of books!

*dun dun derrrrr *

This task is getting bigger and bigger! I couldn’t actually get to the box without unpicking quite a few strategically placed, interlocking boxes, so I don’t know what lurks inside! I do know that I have read the two books you can see the spines of. One is a Harry Potter and the other is Siege of Darkness by R.A.Salvatore.

I am actually quite excited about finding these books. There are some titles that I bought because they were books I felt I should read. Maybe not quite classics, but pretty close. It could be argued that The Sword of Shannara was the first big fantasy novel. When I get round to reading it I will try to check whether that is correct or not. The Bourne Identity is another book that I feel needs to be read. I have seen the film and have been told that the books are fantastic. Only one way to find out!

This was meant to be a quick picture based post, so I will stop wittering and go to bed.

This Blog’s title and a collective noun for the consumer

This Blog’s Title

My first thought for a title to this blog was “consumerless”. I am a consumer, but I want to do it less. I had a quick look at what was available on blogspot and found a bit of an odd, but I think quite common, situation. (with an r) hosts an almost completely blank blog that is actually titled consumeless (without the r). Slightly confused, I looked at (without the r) and that is another blank blog with the title “Black Friday Blows”. At least this site has a title that suggests an anti consumerist sentiment….

So, with thanks to the people who swiped those blog names, I happily found the title of my site and prefer it to either of the other options!

Once the excitement of having a blog had subsided, I realised. Both of those other blogs were created by people who have an opinion on consumerism and, one expects, agree with doing less of it. In both cases the owner has created a blog, consumed a name and now owns a “thing” only to have not done anything with it. Classic case of hoarding. How many blogspot sites are created and empty?? One for another Diary entry me thinks??

Collective Nouns for Consumers

I wanted to create the collective noun for “Consumers” as I didn’t think that there was one. As always, I googled it to check. At first I only found pages stating that as “consumers” is plural, it is already the collective noun. That was of course, not satisfactory in the least. Our most heinous group must be describable in a more interesting way. I propose the collective noun for a group of consumers should be a grab or a hoard! I imagine a little huddle of people zipping around grabbing whatever they can, or the obvious hoarding tendencies.

Then I found a slightly more official website. no less! They list a Glut or a Cash. I like both if these. If I had to pick one it would be cash. I think that a glut usually happens to you (I’m thinking courgettes.) But lets you add your own suggestions. Now, thanks to this blog has made some new entries! You heard it here first. I added a grab, and a hoard of consumers. Immortalised on the internet for all to see… (If you can work out how to see all my contributions on the site, you will also find a rude one that has been created as a dedication to my Father. We invented a collective noun one day a long time ago, and it is now logged on the official site 🙂

Thank you and good night.


Oh fowl harpie of consumption. Two minutes after starting this blog and I have consumed!! I have fallen off the wagon and bought something.

Admittedly it is not book related. How could it be? How could my conscience survive if I had wandered from the path so soon after starting my journey? Never fear dear reader, it was music that has turned my head, and music that I know I will listen to again and again to thoroughly reclaim the £12 inc postage and packing that I have just paid.

“For what?” I hear you ask. Firstly, imagining that the internet is talking to me is a trifle odd. Especially when I have only told 3 people about this site so far! But you know, news travels fast, and I’m sure that people go back and read the dodgy first posts on really popular blogs, don’t they? Anyway, to answer the question, I just can’t get enough of Ben Howard (‘s music!), and there are signed copies of his new album up for grabs and priority access to his next tour, so you see, I kind of had to!

Link to Ben Howard flyer

Book Review – Peter Pan – J.M.Barrie

So here is my first Post Consumer Book Club post, and it is a book review of Peter Pan by J.M.Barrie. The book is one of the reasons that I started the blog and a bit of a cheat because I only acquired it recently, so it is not one of the stack of books that has been languishing in my house or on my digital devices for a long time. It was also free. A free e-book, but I feel that this is worst kind of modern consumption, get it because it is free…

Well, in this case, I downloaded Peter Pan to my Kobo not just because it was free, but because I had read this article. My friend found it on tumblr and sent it round. Very interesting reading, who would have thought that Tinkerbell had orgies!! You naughty Tink! I admit that I found that revelation more interesting that Peter killing some of the lost boys… One curry later, and my two friends and I had agreed that “when we three meet again” (for curry) we should have all read the book and be able to comment on the validity of the arguments in the web article.

My take on the article

I think that “supernaturalshadowhunter” is about right. It is obvious that they are very passionate and knowledgeable about the book. I wonder though whether Sup’ hasn’t taken the whole thing a little too far. Given the fascinating background from J.M. Barrie’s childhood the reasoning may well be right, but I felt that Peter was portrayed as someone who honestly didn’t want to grow up. He knows the main things you loose when you grow up, but has no understanding of what you gain (he has obviously never had any deep and meaningful conversations with Tink!) 
Barrie manages to create a very ethereal feeling throughout the book, so even when Peter thins the larger boys and goes off to blood his sword, it is very definitely suggested that this is make believe. The fact is that make believe is real in Neverland (I feel like I need to make a Michael Jackson reference here, but I will resist. Maybe Enter Sand Man instead?) Pretend food sustains everyone, enemies switch sides as often as Peter and the boys to make the fight fun. The realism in the book seeps around Hook. He is still very much a part of the Neverland, but he is grown up. He fears getting old as much as Peter fears growing up.
All in all this book was very good. It has good pace and Barrie does a great job to expand the reality of life in Neverland by suggesting on more than one occasion that this was just one of the many stories that could be told. Thanks to for the article and all the contributors for the reason I read the book.
All that needs to be sorted out now is that second curry and some other people’s opinions!