Everyone’s a grifter these days. From buying fake followers offshore, to screengrabbing gala invites from someone else’s Instagram, to the theft of public funds during the White House’s weekly golf trips — swindling is the epitome of the post-truth era we live in. It’s weird not to be shameless in 2018. Grow the hell up.
It’s also important that we outsiders map the world’s network of wealth, influence and low self-esteem. Cipriani, Balazs, Murakami, Yusaku, Pinault, all the Art Basels, the Lebedevs, Zhukova, Geffen, Brant and Blasberg — this is the new world order. It is sucking up earth’s resources and ought to be sucked back up too. With that in mind, the following are some of the more skilled methods I’ve practised to achieve this new form of class warfare. Because it’s better to be blacklisted than to not be on the list at all.
1. Walk in backwards
Guest lists are hard to overcome — if the doorman can see your face, it’s game over. They’ll eject you faster than you can say “Jack Guinness”. Wait for a moment of disarray at reception and moonwalk inside like MJ. A smooth criminal. No one will notice. Don’t look ahead until you are in. Carry on moving backwards and hit the bar. Slam your back on it. Order a drink without looking. (Remember: if you hold a drink, you’re safe.)
2. Debt or alive
Members clubs like White’s or The Athenaeum have a soft spot for those who owe them money. Arrive in the morning with £250 in cash and demand entry to pay your bill from last night. There is no bill. It’s at the bar upstairs, you insist. Last night was tumultuous. Tinder is the night. God is debt. Once upstairs keep looking for your tab. Order sparkling water and allow them to check everywhere — there’s no rush, honestly. On your way out leave a scarf in the cloakroom. Use the cloakroom ticket to get in the following day. Now you’re pretty much a member. Start talking to other members and offer them your services, such as Wikipedia editing and iCloud tips.
3. Look like a builder
Arrive at Roman Abramovich’s house party wearing a hi-vis jacket and an earpiece. Lean down and talk in the earpiece constantly. Walk in swiftly. Come out. Walk in again. Make yourself a three-piece suit made of the hi-vis jacket material. Fluorescent is the new velour. If you’re at the gala to fix the air conditioning you’ll always be needed. Tell party-goers about your profession. Your life has been full of awful misfortunes, most of which never happened. Lend yourself to others. A wise man sees as much as he ought to, not as much as he can.
4. Uber rated
Uber is a dating app. Meet beautiful strangers in the backseat of an UberPOOL and marry them. It’s the new normal. Split the Uber fare with long lost (and richer) friends on your phone’s contact list. It makes no difference whether they’re in the car or not. Some might be ignorant enough to pay, tapping “accept” by mistake. Uber allows you to split the cost with up to four people, so now you can book a car from London to Paris at a fraction of the cost.
5. Click farmers
Buy fake followers, fake comments, fake likes. You’ll create much needed employment in Bangladesh. Most click farms are located in Asia. Why buy an Instagram ad to promote your content when you can pay that cash directly to farmers? Some of your real friends are fake people anyway. Drop 1,000 followers on your loved one’s account as a gift. Or perhaps on a newly minted charitable Polo foundation — they’ll have to hire you or admit the followers aren’t legit.
6. Press your credentials
Live and eat out of PR gift bags. If you need more dog food, email a dog food PR company and ask to write about their dog food. They’ll send you loads of dog food. If you need a place to stay, try living in a sample flat in Battersea to save on rent. Sample flats are a facade of a flat in a newly built luxury apartment block. The coffee machine doesn’t really work and the walls are made of wallpaper. Ethically you better not write about these products without declaring your writing is sponsored. So don’t write about them at all. Remember: it is okay to disappoint PR people and not deliver on the write up. The entire PR business is based on false promises.
7. Fashion weeks
Arrive early. Namedrop Vogue’s deputy editor at the door. Notable guests have their names printed on the bench at the front row. Sit next to any name you fancy. When the show is about to begin, you’ll be asked to move. Say there’s no time, because the show is about to begin. Talk to the person you chose to sit next to, mistaking them for another notable individual. Name-flopping is much more powerful than name-dropping. Wear pink Crocs and spread your legs forward. Hold scoreboards with numbers – 6.2, 5.6, 1.3 —like it’s the Olympics.
8. Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc
Arrive here during the Cannes Film Festival. Book a cheap hostel down the road called Hôtel Beau Site. Walk every morning at 10am from Beau Site to du Cap. At du Cap’s gate say you’re there to meet producer Fernando Sulichin (who always stays in room 38 during the festival). Wander out to the pool and pose on the ladder right when Kendall Jenner does the same. Get to know more hotel guests. Use their names to get into the Lionsgate and Vanity Fair parties. When encountering celebrities ignore them, and instead compliment their spouses. Be careful not to be caught on beach chairs without a credible story, or else you’ll get du-Capitated.
9. Art Basel Hong Kong
Pretend to interview art collector and K11 founder Adrian Cheng “for your art blog”. The PR company will fly you there and pay for a mid-range hotel. When meeting Cheng talk about his recent Instagram posts, fashion, jewellery — anything but art. At the art fair arrive with a canvas of your own to make the impression that you just bought a work. No one is allowed to take their purchases home. But now it’ll look like you are.
10. Pitch in
You are inside the BBC building, for whatever reason. Don’t leave. Stay in. Walk between floors and pitch your ideas to everyone, even builders. Go to the staff canteen and join a table. Express your views on what they’re talking about, and offer solutions — suggest more poetry or less air conditioning. Complain about the food like they do. Complain about upper management. Get a desk at one of the co-working spaces and request a temporary email. Stay past midnight and you’ll be invited to stay another day.
11. Minus one
Throw your own party far east, beyond even Hackney. Put everyone on the guest list as minus 1, minus 2, minus 3. This means that when they arrive someone has to leave for them to get in. This will create healthy tension and chaos at the door. Ask guests to show their Instagram profile to prove they have more followers than pictures. Ratios matter. If they post too many pics they should go back and delete a few, then try again to gain entry. The queue is more fun than any party. Design the interior of the club like a street. Tell the DJ to play car ambience. Usher everyone in to stand in an orderly line inside so they can leave.
12. Create a TED Talk
A CV is never complete without a TED Talk. Fake one. Create a stage with T, E & D letters behind a round red carpet. Film it. Cut the video with audience reactions from real TED Talks. Release it on social media thanking TED for the opportunity. Remember people pay £5K to be in a TED audience. It doesn’t matter what you talk about. Read a play and play a tool. Mention “paradigm shift” twice and do a dance move on stage. Pause for applause.
13. Getty Images
Get to know all the Getty photographers in your area by name. Do not get too close to them. One cannot take a picture while hugging. The morning after, wake up at 6am and call Getty. Make sure your name is in the caption. If you got caught in the background of someone else’s picture they may tag you as ‘Guest’. Remember Getty will last a lot longer than Facebook as a historical record of your social life. Many Getty returns.
14. Unfollow your heart
Take social media offline — to the streets. Talk like you tweet. Run into Alexa Chung and say: “I unfollowed you.” She’ll be intrigued that you bothered reading her posts. Quote her recent captions. Everyone loves discussing their tweets, as opposed to their career. Promise to follow back if they work on their online persona.
15. Tonsil tennis
Date family members of top tennis players. The family box is the easiest box to get into on clay courts, hard courts, grass courts and carpet courts. Its seats aren’t numbered. Wimbledon is the classiest tournament. Go in with someone that has a ticket. Then change outfit in the toilets and come back as an usher, before relieving the Royal Box usher from their post. Go into the box during the game and usher the royals out. Whisper to them: “There’s a fire drill.” Sit down.
16. Network to get-work
Business cards should contain your full name only. No email, no website, no phone. Who’s gonna call? Nobody. Finding you should be an online escapade. When handing over your card pull out scissors and cut it in two. Take the surname. Leave the first. A name remembered is a job done. Anyone can use Instagram and direct message you. Carpe DM.
17. Throwaway ticketing
Never fly from London to New York. Fly from Dublin to New York via London. Every city has its hidden city. For the US, it’s Dublin. For Asia, it’s Amsterdam. A business class ticket from Amsterdam back to London and then to Hong Kong costs less than an Economy Premium ticket from London to Hong Kong. The first leg of a journey must not be skipped. However, on your way back from Hong Kong landing in London, you may throwaway the last leg to Amsterdam. Miss the connection on purpose. Get out of the airport and count your Avios.
18. What goes around...
One day you will get invited to these places legitimately. Don’t forget the little people. Allow young social climbers to use your name at the door. Give them your press pass once you’ve left the event. Healthy society is built on generosity and ladders. Your facade is their facade. Their success is yours.
Now find out how to survive the office Christmas party…