* 200 articles. Two years. Whelk. The best of Upsideclown. Might be reprinted.

The Amity Index

28 August 2003
Dan's got options

As a result of a conversation with x in a North London pub, I have a fifth-part share in a friendship with Cory Doctorow. Cory Doctorow was at the time of writing not aware that a man who was formerly 70% of a friend of his has subsequently been reduced to being 50% of a friend of his, nor that he had just gained 20% of a new friend. After all, if he had been present when the transaction was being completed, then perhaps he and I would have hit it off naturally, and I might have found myself suddenly and without money, goods or services changing hands the possessor of perhaps 5% of a friendship with Cory Doctorow.

Although this may not seem much, personal friendship investments always have a higher potential for short-term cultivation. That 5% could, with some judicious emails, have been built fairly quickly up to a good third of a friendship with Cory Doctorow; a basic interest in how I am getting on, a vague sense that I am the sort of person he would like to know better if he had the time - all the trappings. Of course, the certificate value of the friendship might not quite reflect that, but these issues are usually dealt with by market adjustments.

"The thing about Cory," said x, quite rightly, "is that he is one of those people who is friends with everyone, and everyone is friends with him. Or at least, thinks they are. Look under the hood a little, and a lot of the measurements they make are based on emotion, self-importance or just plain misreading of a very friendly guy. He would ask after them from a mutual friend, sure, but would he drive across state lines to deliver their wife's baby when the snows had brought down telegraph lines? Quite simply, and with the best credit in the world, no."

Of course, this was a bit of a canard itself. He was talking up his own stock by talking down the others'. In fact, my broker had already notified me that he had good stock, but B-grade; Cory Doctorow would certainly pay attention to his thoughts, and even seek out his advice in certain areas, but he ultimately had very little power to change a resolution already arrived at. A comfy chair at the Cory Doctorow AGM doesn't mean all that much, in the final analysis. Not when serious issues are on the line.

So, 20% of a B-grade friendship, paid for with 10% of Ross Kemp (will listen to phone messages, but may well not get round to returning them, although will be genuinely happy to hear from you if you call when he's in and has nothing much to do) and a cash adjustment. Since the book, trading in Doctorow acquaintance has been frantic, and Kemp was a calculated risk; I had to throw in the reasonable expectation of a Christmas card before the scales were level. Then a celebratory drink, and across the Atlantic Doctorow was already quietly and suddenly pondering how long it had been since he had heard from both of us. These transactions help to keep stock vital.

From there, of course, it becomes a question of calculation. As a high-tech stock, the value of a friendship with Cory Doctorow can fluctuate wildly. The plan as it stands is to ride that for a while, and then move into minor celebrities. Less than one percent of somebody with even a whiff of the modern can secure anything from daily phone calls and backrubs to uninhibited albeit profoundly needy sex with most of the early 80s. Not that there's much of a resale value on that one.

I will miss knowing that Ross Kemp would love to meet up if things weren't so hectic, but it was still a sweet deal. Of course, the fact that I had bought just enough of x's trust the week before on the Tokyo exchange to engender a sense of mutual respect and a conviction that I was interested in a long and fair trading relationship didn't hurt a bit. Then I skinned him alive.

It's important to know who your friends are. Now more than ever.


This is the fucking archive

Current clown:

18 December 2003. George writes: This List

Most recent ten:

15 December 2003. Jamie writes: Seven Songs
11 December 2003. Dan writes: Spinning Jenny
8 December 2003. Victor writes: Rock Opera
4 December 2003. Matt writes: The Mirrored Spheres of Patagonia
1 December 2003. George writes: Charm
27 November 2003. James writes: On Boxing
24 November 2003. Jamie writes: El Matador del Amor; Or, the Man who Killed Love
20 November 2003. Dan writes: Rights Management
17 November 2003. Victor writes: Walking on Yellow
13 November 2003. Matt writes: Disintermediation
(And alas we lost Neil, who last wrote Cockfosters)

Also by this clown:

11 December 2003. Dan writes: Spinning Jenny
20 November 2003. Dan writes: Rights Management
30 October 2003. Dan writes: My only goal
9 October 2003. Dan writes: The Knot
18 September 2003. Dan writes: The Engelbart Elephant
28 August 2003. Dan writes: The Amity Index
7 August 2003. Dan writes: This Sporting Life
17 July 2003. Dan writes: Touch
26 June 2003. Dan writes: Metadata
5 June 2003. Dan writes: Street Mate
15 May 2003. Dan writes: Usher's Well
24 April 2003. Dan writes: Medicamenta
3 April 2003. Dan writes: Weapons of Mass Construction
13 March 2003. Dan writes: David Sneddon, Bukake Secret Agent
20 February 2003. Dan writes: Mary Sue
30 January 2003. Dan writes: Bait and Switch
9 January 2003. Dan writes: What Never Happened
19 December 2002. Dan writes: Sermon on the Mount the Face
28 November 2002. Dan writes: Ballroom Blitz
7 November 2002. Dan writes: The Photographer
17 October 2002. Dan writes: Diaphragmatic
26 September 2002. Dan writes: A life in the day
5 September 2002. Dan writes: Different Class
15 August 2002. Dan writes: Story and sequel
25 July 2002. Dan writes: Fellatious
4 July 2002. Dan writes: Skin Mag
10 June 2002. Dan writes: The Ibizan book of the Dead
16 May 2002. Dan writes: The Sissons Situation
22 April 2002. Dan writes: UpsideClown and Out in Hollywood
28 March 2002. Dan writes: Nereus' Daughters
4 March 2002. Dan writes: Diomedes
7 February 2002. Dan writes: Text Only
14 January 2002. Dan writes: Civil Engineering
20 December 2001. Dan writes: Nativity
26 November 2001. Dan writes: The Wedding Band
1 November 2001. Dan writes: what dreans mecum?
8 October 2001. Dan writes: Stop me if you've heard this one before
13 September 2001. Dan writes: Mother of the Muses
20 August 2001. Dan writes: I say I say I say
26 July 2001. Dan writes: Bigger, Better, Brother
2 July 2001. Dan writes: Hecatomb
7 June 2001. Dan writes: Dispassionate Leave
14 May 2001. Dan writes: Small Town Boy
19 April 2001. Dan writes: Maintaining the Driving Line
26 March 2001. Dan writes: Cut and Paste
1 March 2001. Dan writes: Redemption
5 February 2001. Dan writes: Blyton the Face of the Earth
8 January 2001. Dan writes: Smoke Signals
18 December 2000. Dan writes: The Loa Depths
23 November 2000. Dan writes: The Limits of Melissa Joan Hart
30 October 2000. Dan writes: Shiftwork
5 October 2000. Dan writes: Dawson
11 September 2000. Dan writes: Testing Times
17 August 2000. Dan writes: Onanova
3 July 2000. Dan writes: Roboto il Diavolo

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