The Deserter, a not-very-dynamic duo with aspirations to slouch, are legends – but possibly for all the wrong reasons. Deserter is an aspirational website for those with a predilection for doing eff all. Deserter was founded in 2014 and is produced by Andrew Grumbridge and Vincent Raison, mainly from pubs. Here they outline their latest mission –– or should it be admission – in a shameless plug for their latest book, Shirk, Rest and Play.
What sort of person is this “Deserter”? The Deserter is not part of the herd – is different to the crowd. You might even say wilfully abstruse.
They are leaders, not followers. Unless they are told to be leaders, at which point their only desire is to follow. They don’t take no for an answer.
Nor, indeed, yes. Often they are unable to recall the question.
Independent in thought and deed, you can spot a Deserter sitting on the lawn with their shoes and socks off next to the “Keep off the Grass” sign.
Confronted by a sign saying “Turn Left”, the Deserter will be overwhelmed by the urge to immediately turn right, or possibly turn back, or at the very least, stand stock still and spark up.
They are free. They are the ones who, while you’re squeezing onto a train to work, are on the other platform boarding an empty train marked Brighton or Kempton Park Races Special or indeed any train that is going the other way.
“From what are they Deserting?” you may ask. Work, perhaps, or the rat race in general. Society, maybe and certainly “that which they are expected to do”.
They are not lazy per se – but it can sometimes be difficult to discern what exactly it is that they do. The Deserter will often struggle to answer questions about work or career at parties or other social gatherings, but that is because they are the wrong questions.
Ask not of a Deserter “What do you do?” Ask instead what they do not do, and you will receive an answer so fulsome you may decide to get another drink, even if you haven’t quite finished the one you are holding.
In fact, they excel at what they do, however little, but find it exhausting.
And so another trait of the Deserter is to take the opportunity for sleep whenever it arises, even if they’re not terribly tired – in a car, perhaps, at work, or a funeral.
In short, you might characterise the Deserter as a rule breaker. Not the big rules, like “Thou shalt not kill”, but certainly the rule that states you must work diligently for 50 years, accept meagre wages and be unhappy.
We arrived at the Deserter life through a combination of personal experience and the enlightened guidance of others.
People like the Dulwich Raider, nap expert and Lord of the Bargain, who vividly recalls his first day at work and his reaction to it: “I really do not fancy doing too much of that”.
He dedicated his life to that noble goal. He, in turn, was influenced by his cousin, Max, who once invited him over to his flat in Clapham for lunch.
“His fridge was filled solely with Champagne and tennis balls,” he recalls, breathlessly. “I knew I was in the presence of greatness.”
And then there’s Half-life, the Deserter par excellence. Six foot four inches of imminent menace and recalcitrant nonconformity, mostly to be found propping up bars, pinching pork scratchings and getting the party started.
Half-life may well have lived his life “as a warning to others”, but he has also had the most sheer fun of anyone we know, moseying through life on a desire path towards, if not happiness, then certainly fun.
Which brings us to the fundamental characteristic of the Deserter – the proactive seeking of pleasure.
They have had enough of deferral and denial, enough of discipline and the toeing of the line, enough salad and sparkling water.
For crying out loud, they seem to be saying, pass the sausages.
There may of course be those among you who will disapprove of Deserter philosophy, on our insistence on wresting back our fleeting lives from the strictures of pointless work and endless production, on our call for freedom and benefits for all.
Perhaps you’re out of work but hanker nevertheless for a new car or some £500 trainers. Perhaps you’re in work and an evangelist for some kind of misguided work ethic. Well, it’s possible their ideology is not for you.
Everyone needs enough to live on, of course, but what we actually need can be substantially less than that which we have been led to believe. Just remember the two biggest regrets of the dying:
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
Ah, work. At school, we are readied for it, then spend our lives shackled to it and our final moments cursing it. But what if there was another way?
An approach to life that took the wisdom from those last breaths and used it to redirect future generations towards the path of no regrets.
A way detailed in a self-help guide, perhaps.
Shirk, Rest and Play – for only £9.99, from all good book shops soon - when the crowdfunding is complete.
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