When I began following West Ham fifty years ago nearly all the team was made up of local lads, including the World Cup-winning trio of Moore, Hurst and Peters; plus Harry Redknapp – a bit of a joke on the wing. (How we loved him! I still do.) Of course there were players bought in, one or two of them even from abroad; but the core was made up of East Enders and Essex boys. One of them (Andy Malcolm) went to my Dad’s school. We supported them because they were us.
If you are going to the Frieze Art Fair, and you are not one of its guests or workers, you have just paid a hefty fee to visit a mall. Why? For the privilege of seeing, but probably not buying, the wilfully eccentric conversation pieces with which millionaires and billionaires decorate their rooms; perhaps for a chance to see the rich themselves, not so much the 1 per cent, as Andrea Fraser has pointed out, but the 0.1 per cent, though most of them will have fled following the collectors’ events or be confined to ‘VIP’ areas; or to glimpse other celebrities — the artists, buyers, curators and even dealers who feature in the gossip and lifestyle magazines. Or perhaps to take in the intellectual garnish which is laid lightly over the business of selling.
Pity the poor customers of Harris + Hoole, a new coffee chain, who discovered that Tesco has a 49 per cent stake in what they thought was an ‘independent’ business. One such customer told the Guardian that she felt ‘upset’ and ‘duped’, since she would never dream of patronising Tesco itself. In one way this just demonstrates the omnivorous ingenuity of capital in appropriating and selling back to us what looked like a challenge to it. The ‘independence’ of an ‘independent coffee shop’ is now quite likely to be a corporate simulacrum. The manager of Harris + Hoole’s Crouch End branch is reported to have said that head office ‘had instructed her to make the store feel as independent as possible’, which is perhaps only superficially a paradox. ‘We try to be independent,’ she said. ‘We want to be independent. We want to have that feel.’