Barcelona’s Ideological Shoplifting Movement
The world’s economy is still fucked. And ever since the West went into an economic meltdown in 2008, anticonsumerist sentiment has been steadily on the rise—presumably because you kinda have to eschew materialism when you’ve got the spending power of a Dickensian chimney sweep. But while proletariats in the US have largely settled for memories of Zuccotti Park and organizing “buy-nothing days,” the Catalan civil disobedience movement Yomango has been getting out there, actively raging against consumerism since 2002. How? Through a campaign of ideological shoplifting.
Spawned in Barcelona by your usual black-bloc types and those hash-smoking crusties you see hanging around Thompkins Square with dogs on ropes, Yomango is Spanish slang for “I steal,” as well as a pun on local clothing company, MANGO. Falling somewhere between social experiment and sixth-form political statement, the movement’s members claim that what they’re doing is raging against the machine.
Yomango practitioners pillage multinational franchises for five-finger discounts and turn their stolen winnings into feasts. These feasts are kind of like countercultural Christmas dinners, with those taking part sharing shoplifting tactics (which, handily, are also now available as instructional YouTube videos), exchanging loot, and discussing ways of turning throwaway junk into DIY thieving accessories. If you’re not using an alarm-detector-resistant handbag, or a jacket with “magic” pockets that disappears swiped goods, you’re not shoplifting like these pros.
John Waters Is Doing a Christmas Show and We Interviewed Him
John Waters is one of my favorite filmmakers, writers, and speakers. Every time he says or does anything I think, Wow, you are so smart and fun and I agree with everything you say. I love you. I’ve read all of his books multiple times. I’ve made drawings and paintings based on photos of him from when he was young and had long greasy hair. For a while my voicemail message was, “Oh Aunt Ida! Yeah, Aunt Ida! Don’t you look hot today!” On a purely personal level, John Waters is huge. He is also huge on all other levels. It makes me supremely happy that John’s work has seeped into the public consciousness through his Broadway musicals and either inventing or telling the world about tea bagging.
John is going to be performing a live Christmas show on December 3 at the Tarrytown Music Hall in Tarrytown, New York. As you might have guessed, I am very excited about that. Kimya Dawson will be performing at this show, and I am very excited about that too. When Robert Johnson, the show’s promoter, asked if I would like to interview John Waters to help spread the word, I came very close to dying right there on the spot.
So here it is. I hope you’ll read my brief interview with Mr. Waters and then go see his show on Monday.
VICE: Hi, John. It’s Nicholas from VICE. How are you doing?
John Waters: I am fiiiine.
Thanks for speaking with me. In recent years you’ve been doing a lot of spoken word events. Why?
This isn’t just in recent years, I’ve been doing it for 40 years. Divine and I would tour the colleges and we had a little act where a fake cop would come on stage and pretend to bust us for depravity. Divine would strangle him and hit him with a chair. I did it from the very beginning—it was the only way we could promote our movies! It’s changed very much though. I don’t come out with any movies or talk that much about my movies any more. Certainly I’ve been doing it for a long, long time though. Even the Christmas tour has been going on for ten years.
I’d like to know about your Christmas experiences, but I suppose you should save that for the actual event.
No, you can ask me about them! I love Christmas, but I understand that some people hate it! It’s a very stressful time. I talk about everything concerning Christmas, including what I hate about it—and there are a lot of things I hate about it. Things like the behavior at Christmas parties, recycling gifts, gift baskets… Gift baskets should contain cigarettes, candy, and drugs, things you would never buy for yourself.
I can see why you’d be into Christmas so much. I’ve heard people say that art is a heightened form of life. In a lot of ways Christmas is also a heightened form of life.
Christmas can unfortunately be a heightened form of capitalism too, but I don’t mind that because Christmas is good for criminals. Shoplifting is easier, there are presents in the car you can steal… At the same time, most stores survive off the commerciality of Christmas. I find that funny.