Make a date: Phone-In-Sick Day

Howard Byrom meets lounge anarchists Decadent Action
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Indy Lifestyle Online
Move over Swampy. A new kind of anarchist group is competing for media stardom. Decadent Action would sooner poke out their eyes with a needle than spend a week in a hole in the ground. Instead, they believe that shopping is an act of insurrection, and that your M&S charge-card is an invaluable weapon against the State.

Decadent Action are an bunch of Soho-inhabiting city-slackers - their identities, naturally, are concealed - who have dedicated themselves to a wonderfully unlikely cause: the collapse of capitalism through a leisurely campaign of good living and overspending. Often to be found in Carluccio's deli in Covent Garden, or sipping cocktails in five-star London hotels, they seem like the kind of revolutionaries you could take home to meet the parents, but they insist that it not only allows anonymity but also easier access to credit cards - their Molotov cocktail.

Decadent Action spokesman, Mr H, outlines their objectives. "Abstaining from the trappings of capitalism won't make it go away. But if it is fed to excess it will burst. We use the simple economic principles of supply and demand, and their links with inflation to establish our theories. Throw in the wild card of massive, irrational overspending on luxury goods, and the government will lose control." Who said economics was dull?

Mr H hatched his mischievous ideas while working in the civil service. "I suppose it is the ultimate irony," he says. "I worked with the DSS for five years, but I took three years off on the sick. I found out a lot of interesting things about the system." He sips his daiquiri. "Whatever they tell you, it's still run by humans, most students could happily sign on and no-one would ever know about it."

Until now, Decadent Action have restricted their pranks to stamping pro- consumption slogans like "Spend Spend Spend" and "Shop Now Riot Later" on bank notes. They advocate that the proletariat eat chocolate of no less than 60 per cent cocoa solids, shop only from exclusive delis and spend their unemployment benefits on cocktails. But with their new campaign, widespread support could be just around the corner.

Decadent Action have declared April 7 to be National Phone In Sick Day. According to Mr H's calculations, a successful Phone In Sick Day will cost industry millions in lost production, cover staff and penalty clauses. "Even conservative estimates of a thousand participators will cost society pounds 75,000 in lost man hours alone." This coup is designed to maximise the figures of days lost due to illness and minimise foreign investment, thereby hiking up the rate of inflation. For most salary folk, the cause is irrelevant, a day off at the expense of your boss is seductive enough. As their propaganda stickers says: "You owe it to yourself." Kenneth Clarke should be afraid.

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