1. Naked attractive people.
2. Cute kittens, jumping.
3. Opportunities to call strangers "asshole" and "douchebag".
89,374. The sort of things that Momus writes about on his blog, like arty bookshops in Berlin.
As a matter of fact I was planning to write today about an arty bookshop in Berlin, Motto, knowing full well that almost nobody would pay any attention whatsoever, and preparing to console myself with an insight of the Dalai Lama: "If a practitioner thinks I hope people admire what I'm doing, expecting to receive praise for the great effort he is making... these are mundane concerns that spoil one's practice, and it is important to ensure that this does not happen so we keep our practice pure."
But then something remarkable happened. As I was browsing at Motto, making notes of interesting things they stock -- a book called L'Humanisme de Michel Foucault quirkily illustrated by Isabelle Boinot (whose work is really quite reminiscent of Shrigley's), some short stories art critic Jeff Rian wrote about Paris for Purple magazine (Purple Years, which in fact you can download for free as a PDF file here), a book by Margot Zanni about film locations rather excellently designed by Swiss designer Corinne Zellweger (it made me want to produce a much more illustrated and designed book next time), a British magazine called The Mock which proclaims, in its second edition, that anecdote is the new theory (you can read the issue free online here), and the gorgeously-designed (by Zak Kyes, natch) Exhibition Prosthetics co-published by Bedford Press and Sternberg -- I was suddenly attacked by a small black kitten.
Akiko Watanabe, who runs Motto, has just acquired this captivating beast -- a white-pawed small black cat, two months old, with huge pupils and a miniaturised instinct to murder. For this kitten (I didn't discover its name), Motto's piles of arty, gorgeous, intelligent and obscure books are nothing more than rocky outcrops in a tiny landscape, a "killing fields" populated by "mice" and "birds" evoked by a playful customer's wriggling, darting hands. For the kitten, a free handout advertising an art event, rattled in the air overhead, is enough to make a half-convincing sparrow.
Like a masturbating internet-user or the audience at a Keiji Haino concert (I saw one last night), the kitten is willing to suspend its disbelief in the interests of having a more exciting and fulfilling life. Yes, that's almost a real naked woman on my screen! Yes, Haino really is flexing, thrashing and swishing his blond mane around in an orgiastic access of Bacchic excess, and not faking or formularising it! Yes, that really is a sparrow, flying around the shop at such a low height that I could plausibly catch, kill and eat it, staining my furry black kitten lips with warm, red bird blood!
While the kitten calculated this, I was calculating myself. "If I make a short video of this kitten," I reasoned, "I could post it to YouTube, and in no time at all rack up something like eight million views. Because kittens -- along with Magibon not even bothering to hide her product placement -- are what YouTube users love more than anything else!" Then, I calculated, I could simply add the URL for Motto Distribution and I'd be transforming the Motto kitten into a very successful and effective viral sock puppet ad.
What would be in it for me? Well, I'd find a populist peg to hang an unpopular blog entry on, for a start. Look, a kitten! But also, by making a free viral ad for Motto, I'd lessen my guilt about the freeloading way I tend to use the store myself: browsing the interesting paper publications Akiko has curated, noting the most intriguing names and URLs, then going home and downloading free PDFs and JPGs of the stuff off the internet. Look, everyone! A kitten! At Motto!