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Off-the-Grid Urban Living Part III


by the Corporate Mofo Web Staff



For Part I, click here, for Part II, click here. For more phun and philosophy, check out Slow Food/Slow Cities and Simple Living, where they'll sell you books telling you advice we're giving out for free. You can also write in your own urban-living tips to, and we'll print them here.



The thing about living on a budget that really hammers most of us is entertainment. Having to eat ramen noodles six days a week, we can live with, but not being able to hang out with our friends hits us right where it hurts. What's more, we're inclined to overspend on what we do. Bars and pubs exist to sell you booze. Nursing your beer is one thing, but if you lack self-discipline, order a glass of water between drinks. Better yet, frequent dives. They're more fun than those Yuppie shithole lounges with the red velvet ropes outside. The only use a real Corporate Motherfucker has for a red velvet rope is using them as nunchucks to knock out the asshole at the door who's only letting in the fashion models. Hell, knock out the fashion models while you're at it, too.

We should also mention that real Corporate Motherfuckers drink real beer. American piss like Budweiser and Coors taste likes the rice-water it's brewed from. If you're going to drink a beer, get a real fucking beer. Not all of it is expensive: Mexican beers like Dos Equis are pretty cheap, and begin to vaguely approach something we'd call "quality." Local beers tend to be good, too, unless you live in Genesee County, New York. If you have the cash, we highly recommend drinking the good stuff like Newcastle Brown Ale. Or, if you don't like beer, fucking own up to it and drink Scotch or a gin and tonic or some shit like that.

Music! Where to begin?! Suffice it to say that once a band reaches the level where you have to get the tickets through TicketBastard, they are beneath your notice. Support local music and small venues! Even just wandering into a club to see a band you know nothing about can be rewarding. If you have a friend in the band, or if you make friends with the band (or sleep with them), they might even be able to get you in on the guest list. It helps if you offer to review them on your Web site.

Going out inevitably costs money, but staying in has its pitfalls, as well. Television, AKA the Devil Box exists solely to show you mediocre crap for 23 minutes out of every half-hour, and then sell you other mediocre crap for the remaining minutes. We here at Corporate Mofo are of the opinion that most of the drivel that passes for "entertainment" on the idiot box is so bad that THEY ought to pay US to watch it. (Except for the World War II, we mean the History Channel. Anything where Nazis get blown up is cool. Also, watching the meercats fuck on the Animal Porn Channel is pretty cool, too.)

Like it or not, though, TV is part of the American lifestyle. The reason for this, we feel, is that nobody knows what the hell to do with themselves after work. We're all so drained of our own dreams after 8 or 9 hours of futile activity, plus an exhausting commute, that all we can do is sit down and let someone else's dreams be electronically pumped into our brains. Half of TV is ads. And what are ads for? Well, ads are there to make you feel like you're a loser, and the only way to fix your problems is to buy some more crap. In the end, you wind up unhappy AND spending more money.

So, throw out the television. There's a whole lot of shit you can do that won't have Bill Cosby shilling your brain as Jell-O Brand pudding.

Instead of watching TV, read. It's the most subversive thing you can do. But don't buy your books from Barnes & Noble or some other evil mega-conglomerate bookstore. Libraries are free, and guess what? If there's some small-press book you want, they might be able to get it for you on interlibrary loan; if not, buy it direct from the publisher. A dollar sent to Soft Skull Press directly is better than one sent to AOL/Time Warner/Disney. If you're reading this, there's an even cheaper way to check out the classics: Project Gutenberg has put most of online.

If you feel like expanding you mind, go see some real acting. Not a movie, though. Movies suck, and, if you're like us, you probably feel that the Great American Talent Vacuum we call "Hollywood" hasn't produced anything worth 90 minutes of your life since, well, your own childhood. True, arthouse and indie films are cool, but they can be way overpriced. Real indie filmmaking is dead, anyway, as "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" proves. (If they showed that movie to prisoners, the ACLU would be up in arms over it quicker than you could spit.) And, alas, Kevin Smith doesn't make movies as often as he should. ("Clerks" is the Corporate Mofo manifesto in cinematic form, but after "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back," we're afraid no one's gonna let him behind a camera for the rest of his natural life.)

So, so far as dramatic entertainment goes, you can wait until something decent comes to the budget movie theater, or you can tell Hollywood to fuck off and go see something live. Not Broadway, though: The Great White Way is home to a decadent bourgeois art form, best suited to middle-aged tourists from Nebraska. Opera, on the other hand, rocks hard (and we're not talking about The Who here). If you're a college student (or kept your ID), you might get into shows cheap or for free. There are free music and shows in the park. There are also countless cool little "experimental" troupes, off-off-off Broadway plays, or improv theater for you to see, often really cheap. Support your local theater!

Museums can be a lot of cheap fun, if you know how. In New York City, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has a "suggested" admission, but guess what? You don't have to pay it! The Met are assholes who act like it's a privilege for us to see "their" art (European museums actually know what "curator" means), so take full advantage of this fact to spend a day looking at the nude sculptures. A museum is also a great place for a cheap date. Many companies also have plans that allow their employees to get in free to certain museums, so if you're a Corporate Motherfucker who's so unfortunate as to actually work for a corporation, take full advantage.

Join something. Join a sports club to get in shape (NOT a fucking gym!). Join a community theater troupe. Learn a martial art. Volunteer time. Soup kitchens, political campaigns, or working for an activist organization are all good. It doesn't cost a dime, and instead of being part of the problem, you become part of the solution. Plus, you'll get to meet people. And, if you're short on money, hey, protests are free!

The most fun, free thing of all is sex. Of course, if you're of the straight persuasion, birth control is a bitch. Condoms aren't biodegradable, and fucking with a rubber on is kind of like going to a wine tasting after getting a shot of Novocain. The Pill can have some seriously shitty side effects, and cause you to wake up in a cold sweat from violating your safe-sex conditioning, unless you and your partner lost your virginities to each other. Worse, both the Pill and condoms cost money.

Therefore, practice your oral sex skills. Not only is it free and (relatively) low-risk, but also it teaches good manners. Equal time for everyone!

Finally, we should point out that masturbation is the ultimate in free entertainment. And, honestly, if masturbation's lost its fun, you're fuckin' lazy.


Got tips that would make Martha puke? Send us e-mail at

Posted October 13, 2002 4:31 PM






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