GIG REVIEW: The DandyLions – Three Free Gigs #1

There are a bunch of free gigs in London. I go to three a week and review them.

The rating system’s simple. How many beers did I buy? The more, the better.

1. The DandyLions, Røyaltee and Crimson Cobra @ the Victoria – Dalston, London

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Audience participation required. Shame there wasn’t a crowd.

The DandyLions - the Victoria
The DandyLions @ the Victoria – Pink and crimson clash. Who’s gonna win?

Three rock bands – one distinctly more glam than the others.

Crimson Cobra kicked it off with a solid set. Sounded like Royal Blood. Guitar occasionally soared into an aerial assault and a well-timed drummer come singer.

Second Røyaltee announced that this wasn’t a normal show, told everyone how hard his life’s been then cajoled the crowd into overhead clapping. Already cringe inducing the frontman topped it with a directed sing-a-long: ‘when I sing ‘scream, shout’ you shout ‘scream motherfucker.’’ Hit the pinnacle of cool with their miserable Pop the Drugs – Mr Brownstone without the class.

Unashamedly glam, the DandyLions gave the best performance of the night. Decked in pink and yellow lycra with at least one wrestling mask, they clearly did not give a shit. Unfortunate that only about ten people were still there. Launching haribo from the stage they ran through a set of songs as camp as Queen, potentially inspired by sex (or lack of it), including Hairspray, Drink me Like Water and Legendary Fire. Veered a little more PC with faux-feminist power-pop number Women in Charge.

Pleasantly unexpected end to an otherwise unmemorable and occasionally bad show.

Two_Beers

TWO BEERS

Seven point plan to become the greatest copywriter EVER

It was settled. I was going to become the greatest copywriter EVER.

How it started

Easy. I needed to lay some sturdy foundations and figure out exactly what copywriting was.

To the foundations!

And where do you learn about laying foundations? Wikipedia!

I looked up the definition of copywriting:

Copywriting is the act of writing text for the purpose of advertising or other forms of marketing. The product, called copy, is written content that aims to increase brand awareness and ultimately persuade a person or group to take a particular action.

Copywriters help create billboards, brochures, catalogs, jingle lyrics, magazine and newspaper advertisements, sales letters and other direct mail, scripts for television or radio commercials, taglines, white papers, social media posts, and other marketing communications.

That was definitely manageable.

With an in depth understanding of copywriting I started looking for a new job.

Looking for that first copywriting job

I went straight onto LinkedIn (actually my girlfriend sent me some links. Impressed aren’t you? I’m getting pretty good at twisting the truth, aka advertising).

One position came out with a swift kick to the teeth: Junior Copywriter at Dr Martens.

Before I’d even read the ad I knew getting the job must be a piece of cake. Why?

  • People call those boots Doc Martens not Doctor Martens, hence it’s safe to assume that their head of advertising department can’t read and is highly incompetent.
  • They are probably desperate for a cool new, left-leaning junior with a lot of hair (yours truly) to help them shake off the image of skinheads and neo-nazis.

As my first potential position I knew I’d be more than happy to put in some extra work and help Dr Martens completely reinvent their brand for 2019.

Feeling confident, I looked at the job spec.

It was the first time I realised that copywriters are a pretentious as hell.

Getting my first ‘gig’ might prove difficult than I’d initially thought.

Take a look for yourself:

Doc Martens, Junior Copywriter

To be our Junior Copywriter, you will also possess the following:

  • Experience in a full-time copywriting role. Preferably in the retail, fashion or music industry
  • A love of music, DM’s, fashion and footwear
  • A track record of managing tight deadlines and multiple projects simultaneously
  • A passion for language and a flair for writing original, unexpected copy
  • Strong commercial awareness and knowledge of key copy KPIs
  • Enthusiasm and an inexhaustible supply of ideas
  • The confidence to tackle all forms of copywriting: from click-worthy captions to scroll-enticing articles
  • A degree-level qualification in a relevant subject such as English or Creative Writing

Damn the requirements were high and this was only for a junior role!

It presented a real problem.

I had no experience in a full-time copywriting role, I thought DMs (dungeon masters) were totally uncool, I was bemused by how words could have key performance indicators (‘boot’ needs to get at least 4,000 views today) and definitely did not have a degree in creative writing. Who does have a degree in creative writing anyway?

How the hell was I going to get a job like that?

I needed to tear down my soft, non-copywriting self and to begin rebuilding immediately. It was daunting but exciting – I was about to become the slickest creative machine in Hackney and I knew it would probably involve stickers.

So I decided to systematically strip myself down. The best way to do this: a foolproof seven point plan (to do list):

Henry’s seven point plan to become the greatest copywriter EVER

1. Do way more research

I needed to become fluent in the language of copy. Yes, I had to develop an understanding of advertising, marketing and all of the associated acronyms (CPM, CTA, IAB, SOV, SEO and more). I also needed to know something about psychology. Why? How else was I going to trick someone into giving me a job?

2. Get good at writing

I wasn’t immediately convinced that this was necessary but I knew that I needed to sell myself as more qualified to write than anyone else. To do that, I had to at least trick myself into believing that I’d got super good at writing. The first step was probably to write and read more. Decent outcome.

3. Develop a kickass portfolio

For a profession that spends all day playing with words it’s surprising that it can’t just take me on mine, but life’s confusing. I needed to develop a killer portfolio with a shed load of original and creative copy. It had to have the best adverts selling bubble mixture, jingles explaining the dangers of not eating enough carrots, all potentially topped off with a radio advert for the mayor on today’s most biting issue: public urination.

4. Get some experience (and references)

Just a portfolio wouldn’t cut it. I had to get some real experience so I had references. References would mean that other people would suddenly become accountable for my eventual employment. The easiest way to do that would probably be to do some writing for free. I needed to do some copywriting volunteering.

5. Find a special subject and stick to it

All the advice that I’ve read online says that generalist copywriters fail and copywriters with a special subject succeed. The problem was I didn’t know or really care about anything. The options were limited too. What subject can you specialise in as a copywriter? Trains, video games, legal regulations and hatred of men? I didn’t want to write about any of that. Then it struck me. I could write about technology or digital or ‘the internet‘. It seemed like a safe bet, as it could cover anything from sex dolls to how to talk to your toaster! Perfect.

6. Build a professional network

To secure work employers need to think you’re the real deal. Humans are social creatures so association with other humans is important. I was going to have to meet other copywriters and make friends with them. Maybe I could meet them at Westfield Shopping Centre? There are lots of things that need copy there.

7. Rebrand myself as the coolest kid in Hackney

The Doc Marten advert said it all: creatives need to be cool. I was already super cool, but deep down I knew that not everyone knew this. I was going to sacrifice some of my current cool to make sure that everyone found out (unfortunately self-promotion is not cool). I’d begin by developing a social media presence (here’s my instagram), take pictures of myself doing cool things and buy more thrash metal t-shirts.

It was settled. I should probably start.

What better place than Homerton Library?

I had a shower and set off.

How I decided to become the greatest copywriter EVER

It’s Sunday and the clock’s ticking. Tomorrow and it’ll have been a week since I quit my job and no, I still don’t have anything to show for it.

So today, out of necessity, I decided to figure out exactly what I’m going to do with my life.

I’m glad to report that I figured it out (and it only took the afternoon).

Hello world, can you hear me? I am going to become the greatest copywriter EVER.

I don’t know how or why or what a copywriter even is, but I really need some direction so my mind’s made up. I mean, I can always figure out the details next week. Yeah, that’s exactly what I’m going to do, I’ll figure it out on Monday.

Honestly, does anyone actually know what they want to do with their life? Probably not.

It hit me that I could help people figure it out!

That’s why I’ve taken the time to write down how I came to my own magnificent conclusion today.

If you’re as confused as I was this morning then I strongly recommend you read on.

1. How it started

Earlier today I didn’t know what I should do with my life, so I asked google.

Google, oh great oracle, what should I do with my life?

Google directed me to this page on the The Muse, 7 Ways to Answer “What Should I Do With My Life?”

The article recommends seven actions you can take to figure out what to do with your life.

I don’t recommend reading it because it’s crap.

But I do recommend that you read my responses to the seven recommended actions. It’s a much better way to gauge whether you’re doing everything you can to figure out what to do with your life.

2. Seven ways I’m already working towards finding the answer of what to do with my life

While reading The Muse’s article it struck me that I was definitely already doing everything that I possibly could to find direction in my life.

Take a look for yourself:

  1. Talk to people – yesterday I spoke to some weird Australian outside Dalston’s Loading Bar about how ridiculous it is that teachers are expected to be social workers. I agreed with him because it is. Then I spoke to someone else.
  2. Get started – I woke up this morning, didn’t I?
  3. Gather inspiration from others – I’ve read John McAfee’s wikipedia page twice and feel inspired to become a door-to-door seller of snake oil.
  4. Prepare for a long journey – I washed my clothes on Friday. They’re now strewn across my bedroom floor. Very easy to pack quickly ahead of setting out on a long journey.
  5. Leave your comfort zone – I quit my job last Monday (I’ve said this one already).
  6. Be ok with failing – I am. I’m the best at failing.
  7. Enjoy not knowing – I stopped using visual stimuli for arousal and now just use my imagination. Yep, no more Tate Modern for Henry.

Realising that I was already doing everything that the internet could suggest I had an epiphany.

Yes, I was going to have to figure this out myself.

3. Understanding why my life needs direction

To find some direction, I first had to understand exactly why my life needs direction.

I got out my very shiny bic biro and listed every reason I could think of:

  1. To pay for stuff (rent, organic wine, scratch cards, to give to charity to look like I have a heart, etc.)

I tried to think of other things that direction would enable me to achieve but came up with nothing. So it was settled, the only reason my life needed direction was so I could have money to pay for stuff.

But I knew there must be a better way of articulating it.

After some intense thinking (thank you Jeremy Bentham) I figured it out:

I need a long term means of securing more money than I can realistically spend in the manner that is least painful to me.

It was settled.

I had to find the least painful way to get the most money.

4. Turns out direction is a job

How do you get money? I wasn’t sure, but I knew that I really didn’t want to get a new job.

To try and avoid getting a new one, I assessed some of the most realistic alternatives:

  1. Marry an old rich person – I didn’t want to admit it straight away but I’m too old to marry an old rich person.
  2. Inherit some money – I called my mother and then my grandfather. Both hung up as soon as I started asking for money (it’s a good thing that greed isn’t genetic).
  3. Win some money – I bought scratch cards. I always buy scratch cards. I didn’t win anything.

I knew then that I was going to have to get another job. Damn.

5. Which job do you do?

How do you figure out which job is right for you?

I was going to ask Google but I’d got this far on my own so I kept using my own initiative.

I made a list of all the jobs that a man of my vast talent could do and then noted down the positives and negatives of each one. (You can already tell that I’m a master of analysis can’t you?)

Here are the five jobs I could probably do (be bothered to do):

Cosmonaut

An astronaut employed by the Russian Federal Space Agency. The train driver of the universe.

Positives:

  • It’s probably an easy gig to get (apparently 25% of Russian men die before they’re 55 or is that just propaganda?)
  • There’s no rent to pay on the international space station.
  • You can legitimately change your ringtone to the original Star Trek theme (or whatever the theme tune to Kosmicheskaya Militsiya was)

Negatives:

  • Space probably sucks.
  • Potential to get embroiled in disputes between super powers.
  • It would make my mother very proud and she’d only just refused to give me money for absolutely no reason.

Your shirt

The sum of two sleeves, a popped collar and a long hem. A noble but often overlooked occupation.

Positives:

  • I could hug you while you work and hug you while you don’t work.
  • Risk of being donated to a charity shop (good start to a new career as a charity shop robber).
  • Good holiday perks and minimal washing required (imagine going from showering daily to a weekly or even fortnightly spin).

Negatives:

  • Limited earning potential (shirts don’t earn money).
  • Risk of being donated to a charity shop (may be purchased by an eco-warrior who doesn’t wear deodorant and has dreadlocks).
  • Long days.

Bank robber

One of the oldest alternatives to a weekly or monthly paycheck and attractive given that a lifetime serving one machine is [apparently] ten times worse than prison (or so I hear).

Positives:

  • Opportunity to become a foot soldier in the fight against capitalism.
  • Good excuse to avoid social commitments.
  • Great excuse to change your hair colour.

Negatives:

Indiana Jones II

A globetrotting professor with a doctorate in grave robbing and Nazi slaying.

Positives:

Negatives:

Copywriter

Home-working, word-spinning, confidence [man, woman, other] with a reputation for being a creative even though they don’t paint or play an instrument.

Positives:

  • Freelancing potential (possibility to work in boxers).
  • Could get paid to twist the truth or even lie (that’s totally in now, isn’t it?).
  • Peers more likely to think it’s cool compared to public service.

Negatives:

  • Work might include writing product descriptions on Amazon (yes, the top earning UK copywriter on upwork appears to focus on writing Amazon product descriptions – the glamour).
  • Networking requirements (bore).
  • Limited desire to be promoted to ‘Spin Doctor’.

I tallied up the scores and it was immediately clear:

I should become a copywriter!

And explaining my decision to myself and others would be easy.

6. Why I concluded that it’s a good idea for me to try and be a copywriter

If I was a copywriter I’d get paid (unlike Your shirt), I wouldn’t make my parents too proud, I probably wouldn’t have to go to jail (maybe I could be a Bank robber if this didn’t work out) and even though I’d probably end up metaphorically grave robbing someone, it wouldn’t amount to actual grave robbing.

Perfect!

So it was settled. From Monday, I, Henry, would start working towards becoming the greatest copywriter EVER.

But where should I start?

I don’t immediately know. But I do know that this has surely been enough work for today.

I unscrew a bottle of organic wine.

Yes, I’ll work out the details tomorrow.

Personality of a Sandwich

Imagine; you’re in the dead zone, somewhere between Monday and Friday.

You’re probably at work and to set the scene, I’ll start with something believable: there’s nothing decent to scroll on BBC News.

But look up. The clock on the wall opposite screams salvation.

Finally, it’s lunch!

But something’s wrong.

This giddy hour used to inspire joy, but as you lean forward, arms outstretched, you feel nothing.

And somehow, it stings.

And you, just as I, play out a scenario in your head.

Maybe today’s the day we can say it in unison. 

London, I’m sorry, but you just don’t excite me anymore.

[grab the city’s hand – it’s insecure]

You and these never-ending sandwiches, they’re just so predictable. You need someone less, how do I put it, challenging?

And now the city’s looking back at you, it’s heart shattered and it tries to mouth, “But you could get sushi from Itsu!” but you press your index finger against its lips and you can see a new found understanding in its eyes.

Cutting it short, London mouths, “I understand.”

Wow. I’m surprised at how that scenario played out too. I mean, I didn’t think this city had dignity.

The whole experience is a revelation and naturally,  you want to share it.

Peak over your soundboard.

Meet the blank stare of your colleague and relish the realisation they also haven’t done any work since arrival.

Yes, finally I know what’s wrong! It’s the sandwich that’s the problem.

Momentum builds and you try and speak it out, but suddenly, your boss returns from their noon-time excursion.

They cast aside a paper bag from Eat and clutching a plastic wrapped baguette they announce with fervour to the desk bank, “I got chicken salad!

Breathe_In_and_Out
It’s wonderful that eateries provide anxiety relieving devices with every purchase. I mean, most of us have two hands, so what else could they be for?

And deep down, you know, it’s not safe to share this epiphany. Maybe it won’t ever be.

So, as my single protest of the day, here’s a list of everyone else’s failings as defined by their choice of sandwich.

1. Homemade Monstrosity

If you managed to make your own lunch, commendable effort. I applaud you.

It won’t be very good (compare it to mine and weep).

best_sandwich
This one’s complicated. If you want to try and recreate it, please check with your parents before you use the sharp knife.

As I understand it, only the following truly count as homemade sandwiches:

  • Peanut Butter. A rough staple. Apparently a layer of margarine will prevent you from gagging on it. But hell, no one likes peanut butter and margarine, so please muffle the choking.
  • Spaghetti. It only counts as a sandwich filling if it comes from a can. A single, lonesome can. The bread will be sodden. I’ve tried it and yes, cannot wait for the apocalypse.
  • Crisps. The lunch of the pauper king. Combine the two most important staples of the English diet to become the  turbo-carbohydrate-based-killer you’ve always wanted to be. (NB: To think this was a good idea, you’d probably have to be high. Supporting the widely robust theory that eating sandwiches at work normalises drug abuse)

After consuming nothing but a smattering of these sandwiches for lunch, I know definitively that only person who would eat any of these is one of the following:

  • Idiot savant
  • Wants to be in a nu-metal band (probably Korn)
  • Hasn’t dry-cleaned their suit trousers, despite their mother’s protests, since purchase

Advice: Avoid eye contact. 

Pro-tip: Colleagues who make their own sandwiches sometimes express their personalities through the pictures on their lunchboxes. Dora the Explorer means that they’re crudely progressive. A picture of a cat is generally a reminder that they regret eating their cat. Don’t ever talk to them about it.

2. The Tesco Triangle

People buy sandwiches at Tesco because they’re misinformed.

I can help with that.

Value_Sandiwch
This diagram was smuggled out of a Tesco sandwich making factory. The instructions help inspire employees to be more productive

The first pitfall encountered when buying a sandwich from Tesco, is that in London, you could have always gone to Sainsbury’s instead. It’s the same entrance fee and normally better. But I understand, sometimes an extra fifty meters is too far to waddle.

Ingeniously, Tesco dropped the shock white & blue that helped the common man and woman recognise their value range. But, really, has anyone ever been misled by their new sandwich packaging? There’s only so much that a cellophane window can hide. And, true to value, when you gaze in, you’re probably looking at a sandwich built out of ingredients that were chemically treated to meet the standards necessary for human consumption.

Delicious.

Advice: Never, ever, ever talk to someone who willingly buys Tesco triangle sandwiches for lunch. They’ll copy your work and take the credit, then they’ll suggest that everyone gets together tomorrow to eat triangle sandwiches on the park bench outside the office, while they look for diverted buses that don’t belong on the routes they are travelling.

Fucking horror show.

3. Supermarket Sandwich in a Paper Bag

It’s in a bag. It’s in a really fancy bag and that bag is on the top shelf of the freezer section. The bag’s a different colour to the flat-packed triangle sandwiches! And the bag carries the subtitle; ‘Wild Boar Pulled Pork from the Everglades: Taste the Difference’.

IT’S IN A BAG! It is so, so sophisticated. Only the most sophisticated people eat sandwiches from bags.

Keep lying to yourself.

All manufactured sandwiches were made equal.

That sandwich in a bag was made on a conveyor belt. The same conveyor belt that someone was paid to watch. The same conveyor that mayonnaise dropped down onto from tubes above. Mayonnaise that fell at exactly the right time to catch the flight path of bluebottle, dousing it and forcing it onto the ‘mature’ cheese below.

Damn, they have so much extra packaging too. Do the people who buy these sandwiches think that their extra £1.40 gives them the right to more packaging? Probably.

These sandwiches are like that colleague, who has always earned the same as you, but rather than going to parties, they lived at their parents’ until thirty, then bought a house. Is owning things an achievement? Totally. So’s eating a sandwich bought in a bag.

Advice: People who eat these types of sandwich buy the bag, not the sandwich. Under their breath they whisper to you: “Yes, I eat well. My waistline says it all. But no, I wasn’t fattened on value corn chips. I’m privileged. I eat only the finest snacks. At least that’s what the guy in the off-licence tells me.” Talk to them, but only in a condescending manner. Don’t worry, they don’t yet comprehend that bags should be reusable, so they won’t be offended by your tone.

4. Pret Baguette

Pret-a-Manger openly admit that its ingredients have aspirations.

Their posters show the collective efforts of:

  • A bagel, a slice of avocado, and some olives trying to making a friendly face
  • Some wraps building a tepee
  • The unlikely trio of a baguette, a block of edam, and skewered olive sinking like a groovy submarine

And yeah, I’m onto them.

It’s all a cruel joke.

It all starts when the ingredients are sourced.

The Pret wholesale buyers head out to the fields in the morning.

On arrival, they don their leather gloves and start scouring the fields for a certain type of ingredient.

Tomatoes with that particular twinkle in their eyes, beetroots destined to sing and chickens who want to explore their sexuality in the city, away from the judgements of the countryside.

The buyers then play on their victims hopes and dreams. “Yes Tamara Tomato, hop into my van, I’ll show you the city. We’ve got plenty of veg like you that wants to be something more than you could ever be here on this bleak farm.”

And as those naive vegetables, chickens, and assorted tubers tumble around in the back of a van, they don’t for one second think that they’re about to be asked to strip naked and told to stand on the head of another young thing to form strange shapes, as a seedy photographer snaps away. Nor do they anticipate that after such humiliation, they’ll be dragged into the kitchen and ground into a ‘Super Club’.

 

tamara
Behind the counter at Pret-A-Manger. Haven’t you ever wondered if that tomato had dreams?

Shattered dreams – is that the cost of having no best before labels?

Advice: Knowing this, I hope you, just as I, are shocked. Too shocked to speak to anyone who has ever been into Pret-a-Manger ever again.

Anyway, now you know this, I hope you enjoy your lunch.

Artisan’s Guide to Magnet Fishing in London

Introduction

Excitement and your free time, when did they break up?

It’s 2018 and you’re currently shackled by the chains of prescribed fun. Rooftop bars, adult-sized ball-pits, and lazy afternoons in the park; just like me, you probably hang out with people because they look good in photos.

Excitement is now the last dash of Ribena in the bottle. It doesn’t taste like blackcurrant, it tastes like detergent because it’s too weak and you stopped rinsing your glasses properly.

Is this life? Hell no.

But it’s ok. Take a deep breath and imagine that I’m holding your hand (my hands are strong, don’t worry, I won’t let go). Now, I’m going to whisper in your ear, “Let me take you on an adventure, a completely unimaginable adventure.” Feel the hair stand up at the back of your neck.

Welcome to the cool, dangerous and exceedingly badass world of Magnet Fishing.

I’ve been waiting for you.

Close your eyes again. Imagine, you’re at the edge of a canal, hands clasped tight around a rope, the end, latched onto a mysterious item deposited, deep under the water below. That object, it could be yours.

Already you’re filled with butterflies and you want to jump up and see how far you’ll rise. Don’t. Keep hold of the rope. Taste the salty air and occasional wafts of diesel and let your soul rise. It won’t escape.

You’ve just forgotten what excitement feels like.

Now fall back. Open your eyes. We’ll get there, but first, you need to know how to magnet fish.

Lucky for you, I’ve written an instructional guide about it!

But as with anything worth doing, before you wade into the depths, you need to know the basics, so I’ll start at the beginning: why would anyone want to drop a dirty magnet into a canal to find treasure?

It all begins with how wealth is created.

How is Wealth Created?

Since the discovery of bodies of water, rich people have dropped expensive things into them.

As you should recall from school, rich people dropping expensive gifts into bodies of water is a fundamental stage in the ‘Circle of Wealth’:

  1. Rich parents buy rich children expensive gifts;
  2. Rich children work too hard and tire themselves out;
  3. Rich children retire to their yachts (generally docked on canals in urban metropolises);
  4. Rich children, being bored and tired, embark on affairs with the yacht’s staff, probably pool-boys and girls. In the throes of these passionate affairs, rich children often forget to properly latch, store, or hold onto their expensive gifts. As the boat rocks (hard), the gift’s position becomes precarious against the yacht’s porthole, edging toward the waves below;
  5. Expensive gift descends deep, deep into the body of water.

Repeat.

This diagram is a useful reminder. I found it in a textbook:

Higher_Res_Circle_Life
The Circle of Wealth, or why you’re not rich

This circle of wealth has maintained social order for millennia. But, you’re probably asking yourself now, where does all that wealth end up?

No doubt this one stumped your economics teacher. It got Marx too. It’s probably the reason Communism hasn’t ever worked.

It’s ok, I’ll explain.

Where do the expensive gifts go?

Into a black void? Perhaps. No-one truly knows what is in a canal, river, lake or pond.

However, it is known that statistically, the greatest killer of ‘stick, hook n’ worm’ fishermen and women is ghost pirates and octopuses.

Knowing this, two conclusions can be derived:

  1. All bodies of water are full of either ghost pirates or octopuses;
  2. Ghost pirates and octopuses are the predator species, and will get first dibs on anything that falls into their territory. (otherwise, why would they be so territorial?)

Now, from this, one can hypothesise which of the two is the most likely to horde expensive gifts.

We know that most octopuses have a higher than average annual income, and might be from space (eminent scientists almost proved this a couple of months ago). However, when field interviewers call on ship wrecks, while ghost pirates are initially quite open, as soon as questions are posed about their income, ghost-cannon balls start a’flyin’. This means that ghost pirates must very embarrassed by their poverty, hence, they have not managed to horde any expensive gifts.

So, the most believable and likely place that expensive gifts end up is in octopuses lairs.

Now, I know exactly what you’re thinking:

Right now, there’s a stupid octopus spinning around in its lair, laughing at both of us, as it plays with assorted precious trinkets, and it’s grandfather-octopus is ill, and it’s thinking about returning to Jupiter with all of that booty!

Tick-tock went the clock.

And I’d see it all play out in your eyes, and say, “Yes, you’re absolutely right.

Here’s what an artist thinks it looks like at the bottom of a river:

Octopus_Stealing_Expensive_Gifts
Look at that octopus’s smug little face. It’s laughing at you. Disgusting, isn’t it?

Magnet Fishing: Your Motivation

Now you know exactly why need to embark on a magnet fishing expedition, post-haste.

However, in case you’ve missed anything, I’ve summarised your motivation below:

  1. You want to magnet fish because your life is meaningless and boring;
  2. You don’t like octopuses constantly laughing at you;
  3. You want to save rich people’s Rolexes, diamond rings, gold bars, and other precious items from being transported back to Jupiter, where they’ll probably be used to adorn octopus breeding tanks.

Cool me ’arty! Welcome aboard!

So, how do you magnet fish?

Magnet Fishing: What You Need

Unlike those scurvy, fish murdering dogs who use tackle and bait (fishermen and women), magnet fishing is an ethical way to reclaim expensive gifts at the bottom of your local body of water.

Unlike conventional fishing, the equipment requirements of magnet fishing are minimal. You can also customise your equipment to make yourself look totally radical!

Here’s what you need:

1. Primary Neodymium Magnet

It should have a closed eyebolt and a pull of over 100kg. This will be the primary fishing device.

When buying a magnet, avoid the following:

  • Hook pulls instead of closed eyebolts. Don’t buy these; they’re manufactured by octopuses that want aspiring magnet fishers to lose their magnets forever.
  • Anything within the region of 10 to 80 kg pull. In practice, this doesn’t present enough attraction to do anything. Online magnet selling platforms will try and trick you into thinking you’ll get some booty with weak magnets like this, but you won’t. You need a much stronger magnet. You’ll never manage to pull a rich person’s moped out of the canal with less than 150kg pull.

2. Rope

At least ten meters, ideally twenty (you can’t let something as basic as rope prevent you from venturing into deeper waters). Brighter colours help passing boats stay out of your way, particularly useful if conditions are foggy.

3. Secondary Magnet (smaller pull)

When you let one of your friends use your magnet, it is inevitable that they will be careless, and as they drag it along the seabed, the pin threading the eyebolt to the magnet will unravel, and you’ll think, ‘golly, I’ve lost that magnet forever’. Get a secondary magnet to pull the other one back up. I’ve done this once, and can confirm that it works 100% of the time.

4. Decent Sized Bag / Shopping Trolley

Poor people don’t live near canals or the rivers. If you’re considering doing this, you must be poor, so you’ll need something to carry all of the stuff you find back to your tenement block.

5. Gloves

If you’re a baby and not already infected with Hepatitis C, wear gloves. You’ll look less cool, but might be immune to needles (rich people drop expensive gold needles, these are a common gift from Daddy, he doesn’t approve of sharing needles following his own IV-ing experiences).

6. Nautical Themed Attire

Passers-by may come up to you and question what you are doing. They could be colluding with octopuses, so keep your identity hidden with a cool pirate hat or Breton sweater.

7. Beer

Securing a decent catch can take time. Bring beer, it improves the experience immeasurably.

8. Radical Music

Don’t play sea shanties, they attract ghost pirates. Anything else is cool; consider post-punk as the genre of choice, given this is such a post-conventional-fishing activity.

9. Ignorance of the Rules of Magnetism

What’s magnetic? Who knows! Like dating, objects that will be attracted to your magnet might surprise you. Not understanding the principles of magnetism helps you develop an unreasonable expectation when embarking on your expedition. Wilful ignorance is a must for magnet fishing!

The checklist below has pictures. It’s for people who can’t read:

Checklist_1000px
Necessary Magnet Fishing Equipment

Magnet Fishing: Directions

You’re now suitably prepared for magnet fishing. This is how you do it:

1. Locate a suitable body of water

Find somewhere to drop your magnet. Think about where rich people go! If you live in London, consider these suitable locations:

2. Invite Friends

Think of the people you need to save. They’re probably bored of life too, e.g. want to spend the weekend hanging out at Dalston Curve Garden. What losers. Invite them along! If they’re apprehensive about joining, punch them hard and tell them you brought beer.

3. Carefully Carry your Supplies

Keep your magnet and mobile telephone apart. Magnets are quite jealous, and like to divert attention away from other objects to themselves. Be warned, if you put your phone in the same bag as the magnet, the magnet will break your phone it in a fit of envy.

4. Get Ready to Fish

Tie your rope with a double knot around the eyebolt of the magnet. Double knots work, don’t do anything more complicated unless you want everyone to know that you used to belong to the local Rainbow platoon (lame).

5. Start Fishing

Magnet Fishing Techniques

There are only two magnet fishing techniques. It’s like swimming, there will never be any more than two strokes (front crawl and butterfly):

1. Swing and Release

This one’s pretty easy, and should be used for bank-based fishing.

  • Hold the rope a meter from the magnet in your dominant hand, and in your secondary hand, hold the rope at around seven to ten meters.
  • Swing the rope back and forth, until it builds enough momentum to knock someone’s teeth out.
  • Release the rope from your primary hand into the body of water; keep hold of the rope in your secondary hand.
  • Let the magnet settle at the bottom of the body of water.
  • Once settled, drag the magnet towards you. If you feel a tug, you’ve got a catch!
  • Repeat until you find something that would make your parents proud. Imagine their smiling faces when you return with a sizable booty. They might forgive you for dropping out of University.

2. Drop and Pray

A technique predominantly used when launching your magnet from a pier or bridge.

  • Use your mind’s eye and imagine where an octopus would build its lair. You’ve imagined below a bridge. Exactly right. Now that you’ve located the octopus’s lair, lean out until the magnet is dangling above it.
  • Drop the magnet.
  • Keep extending the rope until it has descended to the bottom of the body of water.
  • Hold your breathe and wait for either a tug or some resistance on the magnet. If it’s a tug, it’s an octopus.
  • Pull up gently. I normally abide by half an arm’s length at a time. You have to be careful or you will lose your catch. Once your catch has breached the water, consider using two hands to pull up.
  • Continue until you’ve got the booty back to dry land.

Well done, you’ve got a catch. Celebrate with another beer!

6. When You’re Finished

Once you’ve caught enough expensive gifts you should take them home. Water is dirty, so your treasures might be dirty too. If you don’t have a shopping trolley, but instead a rucksack, wrap your catch in a plastic bag.

When you get home, wash your items in the communal shower. Get the shower very dirty. Now your flatmates will ask what you’ve been doing all afternoon. This is a good way to attract new people to magnet fishing.

What you can expect to find

I found a bingo card for this exciting pastime, as below. You’ll probably find a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal line on your first outing. If you get a full house, you’re officially king of magnet fishing.

Bingo-Card

Rolexes

Rich parents give their children a new Rolex or Omega at least twice a year. As thee items are worn on the wrist, they often fall into bodies of water. Also expensive watches are always water resistant, so they’ll work irrespective of how long they’ve been in the water!

Diamond Rings

Rich children are often engaged to other rich children. Given the number of affairs they have, sometimes these engagements go sour. This normally happens when a rich child is annoyed that his or her partner didn’t restock their yacht with enough Moet. Annoyed, they use their partner’s rampant affairs as an excuse to make a scene; normally flinging their engagement rings from the yacht into the canal. This act has two functions:

  1. ensuring that there is always enough Moet on the yacht;
  2. the excitement of a new, fancier engagement ring.

Supercars

Yachts aren’t loud enough, and how do you impress your new poolboy by pretending to be captain? Exactly, you can’t, they’re probably sleeping with him or her already! So, sometimes rich children feel the need to drive supercars on the deck of the yacht. As most rich children do not have driving licences, this sometimes results in the supercar falling overboard. They have their dignity though, so in the event of a fall, they wouldn’t degrade themselves by pulling the supercar out of the water. Conservative estimates suggest that there are over three and half thousand supercars in Regent’s Canal alone.

Further Adventure

You could find a murder weapon, perhaps a candelabra, a rusty pipe. If you find a weapon, you’ve also found a murder investigation. As an enterprising individual who no longer abides by social convention, you should use the opportunity to set up your own detective agency. Don’t tell the police, find out who the murderer was and maybe blackmail them.

New Friends

It’s difficult to make friends in the city, magnet fishing is guaranteed to make you intriguing and attractive to the opposite sex. I can confirm this as a user of Tinder. I spend all of my free time, when not magnet fishing, explaining the principles of magnet fishing on dating sites. People are all like, ‘Whoa, you’re so cool. Too cool for me. Maybe message someone else’. Or at least that’s what I assume they say. It’s difficult to know, because they must be so intimidated that they unmatch me before they have a chance to share.

Conclusion

Ok, so now you know everything there is to know about magnet fishing! Get out there you sea-dog and find yourself some expensive gifts. If you find a great spot, let me know. I’d be more than happy to join and drink your beer.