Friday, January 21, 2011

The World Is Yours

So you wake up one day and everybody has disappeared. You’re not sure why or how. Some kind of holocaust; some kind of mass alien body snatching event; you’ve slept through a global pandemic and to quote Red Dwarf (and assure you of my geek credentials), everybody’s dead, Dave, everybody’s dead.

You are the last human alive.

The world is yours.

What do you do?

I’m not talking about securing food and fuel supplies, amassing a stock of pornography or weeping for your loved ones.

I’m talking about... in your spare time.

You know, when the initial panic is over and you’ve accepted you’re the only one left: what are you going to do to amuse yourself?

Being of unsound mind I frequently mull this question over. And the answer I frequently come up with is going into my work place and smashing it up in an orgy of cathartic violence. Of course, this may be because I usually pose this question to myself whilst I am actually at work and the destruction of my work place is therefore (quite naturally) in the forefront of my mind.

I should point out at this point that I work in an art gallery and therefore my wanton acts of destruction will be targeted against works of art and museum artifacts. The very stuff I have been charged with having to look after and preserve.

I’m well aware that such an act of vandalism might be seen by some as a typically sad indictment of humanity itself. Here I am, the last representative of my species, and rather than safeguarding all the higher ideals of mankind represented in the gallery’s collection, I instead display the primal violence that has so plagued mankind throughout the centuries.

I resort to petty violence. I resort to destruction for the hell of it. It doesn’t even serve any purpose except to make me feel better.

The dominant species that comes after us will one day find and excavate the gallery and wonder how us Homo Sapiens ever dragged ourselves out of the slime.

I know all this. But still I would quite happily come into the building and take a poker to the Papperitz, an axe to the Archipenko and a chair leg to the Chirico. I would take great pleasure in pissing through the holes in the post modernist sculpture.

Perhaps all this is merely a desire to cock-a-snoop at those that currently have power over me? Not my boss personally. The Man. This society that sees most of us bartering the valuable hours of our lives for the wherewithal to survive and do all the things that we’d like to do in the pisspoor amounts of time we have left to us once The Man has taken his cut.

Or perhaps I am just petty and annihilistic and have a secret desire to be naughty just for being naughty’s sake?

Who knows?

What would you do if you found yourself alone in the world? Go on; put me to shame with your accounts of erecting monuments to humankind, nurturing future species and resurrecting mankind with a turkey baster and a few ingredients from the IVF clinic at your local hospital.

Go on, I dare you.



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43 comments:

Heather said...

I always imagine that I would be in London for some reason, when this happened. I would spend a few days living inside one of the posh department stores like Harrods - trying on all the clothes and jewellery and eating all the expensive food. After that maybe a nosey around Buck Palace and the like, still dressed in my finest with fingers full of diamonds etc, naturally. dunno after that - probably some mindless naughtiness.

Suzanne said...

Bloody hell Steve - too deep for me so early in the day!
I guess that's a bad sign for the world if I was last man standing...

Steve said...

Heather: Buck Palace? Good call! yes I think I'd make a point of eating a pot noodle sandwich in the Queen's four poster... and then heading on to 10 Downing Street to do a turd in the Prime Minister's desk.

Suzanne: oh I don't know. I think the world might be a far more creative place as a consequence. ;-)

Crystal Jigsaw said...

I would go round the countryside and look around people's houses to see what they are like. I'm a nosy bugger you see.

CJ xx

Steve said...

CJ: that's a good idea too. I'd go round people's houses too - check out what's in their fridge, help myself to their Lego. My needs are modest.

the fly in the web said...

I used to have this thought when trudging off to primary school....but while I was the only person, the dog was also saved and in my imagination in this situation I would be able to go into my parents' friends' houses and ...wait for it...open the china cupboards and pick up the figurines!

Peeing through the holes in modern sculpture sounds much better, but more difficult for ladies.

Steve said...

The fly in the web: you haven't seen our sculpture collection! Having a good nose around the neighbours' is fast becoming a common theme! No wonder more and more people are installing burglar alarms in their homes!

Keith said...

Guess I've seen to many dystopian films for my own good, as the only thing I can think of is to get all the REALLY GOOD GRUB I can't usually afford out of Marks and Spencers before someone else nabs it.

But maybe I'd nip into London and get all my favorite paintings and bring them home ( it would take a few trips ) if only to protect them from you when you eventually turn up with your axe.

Then I guess I'd go steadily insane with the crushing loneliness of it all.

Sorted.

Steve said...

Keith: ah yes. Marks & Spencers chocolate gâteau and a nice ale and beef pie. As for the crushing loneliness of it all... that's what the pornography is for.

Gorilla Bananas said...

So you wouldn't be tempted to masturbate in a public place? Or break into Kate Winslet's house and try on her underwear? I feel sorry for a man whose anger is greater than his perverted lusts.

Steve said...

Gorilla Bananas: I'm British and must therefore keep a modicum of decorum in public places even when nobody else is around. What I'd do in the privacy of Kate Winslett's knicker drawer, however, is matter for the staunch hearted.

Wanderlust said...

I would be off searching for proof that I was not really the last one standing. Surely a nice, healthy male specimen would survive such a cataclysmic event.

Steve said...

Wanderlust: yes, and I'd be at the Leamington Spa Art Gallery putting a cricket bat through the Schalken...

EmmaK said...

I can understand you smashing up these so called priceless bits of modern scupture - the modern art 'scene' is the biggest con since the emperor's new clothes. Mostly worthless crap that started with Picasso pulling the wool over people's eyes while proclaiming : "We all know that Art is not truth. Art is a lie that makes us realize truth at least the truth that is given us to understand. The artist must know the manner whereby to convince others of the truthfulness of his lies."
and ended with Tracy Emin's stupid messed up bed and Damien Hirst's head made of diamonds

As for what I'd do unless there was a lot of chocolate about i'd kill myself not sure how though. Life is too boring to contemplate flying solo

libby said...

The thought of being on my own in such a circumstance scares me so much I can't play this game...but looking into other peoples homes is something I'd love to do......
Steve you and I are obviously having serious 'hate my job' times...lets wish for things to get better....

Steve said...

Emma: you'd have all the chocolate in all the world. You can have the stuff stateside... me, I'd be barricading myself into the Cadbury factory in Birmingham. Death by chocolate? Quite possibly.

Libby: ooh. Do you think there was a subtext to my post? ;-)

femminismo said...

Last person? Yes, I'd set myself up pretty well with food (after being frightened and sad, crying for those I'd no longer see and missing the Internet, I'm sure) and then I'd make sure I was warm and cozy and the wild dogs couldn't get to me and I'd collect all the books I could get and do arts and crafts until I couldn't see. And I would save art from you, just in case you survived too!

Being Me said...

I would just sit in the quiet and enjoy it. Until it went on for so long that it would make me go mad, after which time I'd probably see out my days mimicking noises I used to hear like cars changing gear and railway crossing boomgates and the likes. Oh yeah, and checking out the houses thing - I'd totally do that.

Steve said...

Femminismo: go on, admit it, and then you'd go and have a look at your neighbour's gaffe...

Being Me: so you would become an impressionist while I'd become Jackie Chan with art grudge. What does that say about us both, I wonder? ;-)

Alienne said...

If I ever found myself in that situation I am absolutely certain that nothing on earth would get me anywhere near my place of work ever again. I think I'd move into the local M&S home and food store - a comfortable base with plenty to eat - and take all my books with me to keep me occupied. Eventually I too would go mad with the loneliness.

Steve said...

Alienne: I'd grab all the Lego from Toys R Us. I'm a bit sad like that.

The Poet Laura-eate said...

Blow up the Gherkin building definitely

And then go and live in Fortnum and Mason for a week.

Nana Go-Go said...

I should be so lucky......lucky,lucky,lucky!

Steve said...

Laura: only for a week? Maybe you're right. 7 days of those hampers and I'd be dying for a Big Mac.

Nana Go-Go: wishful thinking, eh? ;-)

Vicky said...

I am so sad, I would actually deep clean my house and throw out all the crap LOL

Steve said...

Vicky: er... but can't you do that anyway? ;-)

Old Cheeser said...

An interesting proposition Stevenage....there are so many things one could do if one was the one and only surviving human on the planet. Pretty much ANYTHING really, seeing as there would be no-one around to stop you! I'd probably break into HMV and steal immense amounts of DVDs and CDs to add to my already ridiculously large collection. Then pop down to Top Shop, Next and some other clothes joints and help myself to untold amounts of attire....but the fact that I'd be the only living person renders the whole thing kind of pointless in a way...I mean, who'd be around to see me wearing all that stuff? Do you not think there's a bit of a contradiction in this scenario?

Steve said...

OC: I think we're very contradictory as a species... but there'd be something very cathartic about doing all those things that society (or society's morals) prevent us from doing in normal circumstances.

Löst Jimmy said...

I should imagine that I would go mad in my spare time. I mean there is only so many times you can go around the 'block' on one's Harley as it were. And it would get boring pulling one's Guinness in the local on your own. I mean the barmaid looked better in the leather mini than oneself ahem

Incidentally, your blog-post title is the name of the new Motorhead album - I thank you

Steve said...

Löst Jimmy: seriously? Well, you know, me and Lemmy... we're like that...! ;-)

Fran said...

I would check first that my store of chocolate had not also disappeared, and that would then keep me busy for a little while anyway. After that ... Crikey. What does one do in a world without chocolate?

Steve said...

Fran: as said above, the Cadbury factory is mine...

Mark said...

I'd go an check my mother is actually dead - because otherwise I'd always be expecting a call at one in the morning... I'm a bit unwell... can you do some shopping for me..

I know, I'm unsympathetic

Steve said...

Mark: you could always set up a little home for her in one of the deserted supermarkets... shopping on tap?

bobble said...

Aside from the perverse/violent suggestions already well covered above, the genuine first (and only) thought that came to mind was this: sledge.

On a tea tray, a proper sledge, a skateboard, anything that would move downhill.

I'd end up killing myself trying to jump Springfield Gorge or send a steam train into the future or something, but what a way to go.

Steve said...

Bobble: yeah, I can see where you're coming from. I think I'd try and hang-glide from the BT tower or drive a yacht into the Tower of London. Go with a bang.

Val said...

Once I'd got over the shock of having only my own company for the rest of my life, I'd get some nice bright paint - preferably fluorescent gloss or metallic - and would spend my days popping into the fuddy-duddy museums and galleries, and would do a painting-by-numbers job on all the really dark and sombre canvasses. Particularly those ones that were painted before electric light was invented.

Steve said...

Val: yet again I show how petty I am - I'd merely go around spraying "Steve waz 'ere" or "mine" over everything.

Owen said...

Have you been watching Zombieland ? Or The Omega Man ???

And after you break up all the art, then what ?

I've heard it said of our age, never before in the history of man have so many given up so much for so little in return...

Hmmm, knowing you, or the little that we see here anyway, I rather suspect you'd begin brushing up on your necrophilia...
:-)

Steve said...

Owen: necrophilia? You mistake me, my friend, it is I who like to be stiff... not my partners!

Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip said...

Oh Steve. I love it when you're naughty. I really really do.

Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip said...

Oh and as for me? I think I would just eat myself into a chocolate coma and then bury myself in a bathtub filled to the brim with chocolate chip cheesecake for good measure. Food issues? Me? Never.

Steve said...

Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip: ah - the old death by chocolate trick. I'd sprinkle myself with Hundred & Thousands so that those who discovered my body could say that I'd "topped" myself.