I like Dave Gorman but I don’t really know why. Not in a sexual way you understand, but in that blokey “you’re awright bud” way.
We watched his excellent film “American Unchained” the other night. This had quite an interesting concept – could he drive all the way from the west coast to the east coast of America without giving any money to The Man. Could he spend all his dollars with Mom & Pop rather than the big corporations?
You’d think that this would be an easy thing to do, but Dave discovers that Corporate America is squeezing out the traditional independent retailers from almost every town, especially those that sell fuel. It didn’t help that he bought a knackered, old station wagon from some bloke in San Francisco. The old guy insisted that it had never broken down in the 38 years that he’d had it but it became obvious immediately that it would need some attention along the way. It broke down several times and drank petrol like it a Geek goes through Mountain Dew.
Dave Gorman was utterly charming all the way through, but he’s not exactly the most enigmatic guy you could meet. He’s got that “everyman” appeal – you probably know someone just like him. He’s a bloody nice, lovely, funny bloke and he comes across as someone you’d really like if you met him. He’s a huge geek and a bit of a beardy hippy. Not that there’s anything wrong with that of course, especially when I find myself wanting to do exactly the same thing. I really want to drive across America in an old station wagon, giving the finger to the fat corporations.
He fails, of course. His heap of a car can’t quite make it between independent fuel stops and they have to visit a pump at some chain store. He gets so depressed when he has to stay for a week in one town that he forgoes his vegetarian ways a wolfs down a rather disgusting-looking Burger King Whopper, before noisily vomiting it up again.
It’s a charming film with an interesting message – support your independent retailers!
It got me thinking about doing something similar here, or at least expanding on something that we’re already doing. We’ve been trying to buy most of our groceries from the local shops and avoiding the big supermarkets. We’re already boycotting Tesco and Esso so it’s not a big leap to try and spend as much of our money as possible with Mum & Dad, as it were.
Beeston has a number of excellent butchers and greengrocers, plus a nice, little organic supermarket where we can get all sorts of lovely food. It’s not even significantly more expensive than the supermarkets, plus we always get much better service in the smaller, independent shops. We avoid the chain cafes and coffee shops and visit the far more interesting local restaurants, plus I will always check out the real ales in the local pubs rather than the disgusting piss that most macro-breweries churn out by the tanker-full.
So, how far can we go? We really can’t get away from giving any money to The Man. We need electricity because we can’t get that supplied by Jones the Butcher. It’s the same with the Council services and, to a lesser extent, internet access. We could opt to go with a smaller ISP but we get all our home entertainment through Sky, including the phone line. Bloody Rupert Murdoch! You’d hope that he’d be one Man that I wouldn’t want to support wouldn’t you? However, their package is such good value and there isn’t really an independent alternative – we can’t get Virgin here, plus Richard Branson is just a more cuddly and nice version of The Man anyway.
I’ve managed to buy all our food for this weekend without giving any of my cash to the far corporations, and I shall continue to make this little stand in support of those lovely people that run their own shops. Bollocks to Tesco and the like, and a large middle finger to all the other profit-happy capitalist pigs out there too!
Oh, bloody hell – I’m turning into a socialist *faints*