dada bonds

I read somewhere that David Bowie was the cause of the credit crisis. Personally, I never forgave him for "Never Let Me Down", the banking crisis pales next to that turd.

I was talking to a friend about the ways to spot the next financial bubble, what are the tells…the stuff to look out for, so we can sell our houses at the height and retire in splendor. The Dame released his bonds in the late 90s, The Prudential snapped up £55 million, Moodys rated them AAA, the Napster came out a few years later and they dropped to Junk status. The thing is, there's form with this, there's a trend. Bowie might think he was the first artist to 'securitise himself' but another planted his flag/urinal there long before him.

Monte Carlo Bond

In the early 1920's, Marcel Duchamp, obsessed with mathematics, devised a system to clean the casino's in Monte Carlo, as much a publicity stunt as a serious attempt (as opposed to Bowie's blatant cash grab). So he printed 300 bonds, bearing his soaped up head with hair pulled into 2 horns. Each to the value of 500 francs and each one claiming to return 20%. It's all sounding very familiar.

They were issued on the 1st November 1924 and endorsed by the Board of Directors, Rose Selavy (Duchamp's pseudonym). He managed to find 2 investors and made off to Monte Carlo's roulette wheels with the 'investment'. He neither won nor lost, which for him was the "peak of financial success". "If one perseveres long enough one can hope to win an amount equal to the wages of a clerk who works in an office as many hours as the gambler works in the casiino." 5 years later was the wall street crash.

So I'm waiting for the Lady GaGa issue in 2020, I'll be getting on the blower to the Estate Agent and I'll have the boards up that afternoon!




Written on: July 28 2010
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Duchamp's greatest achievement was that he "never had to work for a living".

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