Christmas is for sharing

It was the best* of times it was the worst of times, King Osborne had decreed that all citizens of Birmingham must journey back to their home wards for a local government boundary review, leaving him free to remove all funding from children’s services. No-one knew yet, however, why he wanted to kill all the firstborn in Ladywood…

Joseph De Jong, and his partner are about to give birth to a start-up, it’s an app that will let anyone hire out their own social capital when they’re not using it. Mary had a vision, in Austin, Texas. It’s called G-Zus, as most sensible domain names were already gone. Money is tight, and they’re struggling to afford office space in digital Digbeth, so Joseph and Mary are looking at renting desks at a co-working space.

“We’ll never get back from Moseley tonight,” said Mary, “the buses are all over the place, the Bordesley chords still haven’t been worked on so there’s no train access, and at current rates of extension two-thousand years of your time will go by before the metro is extended anywhere useful.”

“It’s OK, we’ll stay over.” Joseph, looked up from his iPhone, “I’ve just Pay Pal’d us a sofa courtesy of Airbnb in a old place round the back of the One Trick Pony.”

Three self-styled sharing economy kings are also heading Moseley-wards coming from a distant land, North Birmingham. They are Uber team leaders running an on boarding session for new recruits. Sharing economy virgins need the ways explained to them, but there are few virgins left in Perry Barr since the BCU computer science dept moved, so they look for a sign.

Trending right now in the local area are #UAintNoSecretSantaBruv, #IanOrmondroyd, #Moseley and #PayYourTaxesCadbuys.

Only understanding one, they head for Moseley. They call a taxi that used to be just a car, stowing their hipster scooters. “Off to see the son of God?” the driver asks, “how much you usually pay?” This is not an Uber.

Meanwhile, in the pub struggling to talk as their chairs are all at different heights, the local sheep-keeping group are having a Christmas social. They’re also sharing the table with a bunch of fans of the comic 2000AD and Judge Dredd has seized their troubled minds. They have been sold the idea that they can monetise their unkempt gardens by keeping livestock, but that turned out to be a big pile of bullshit. Especially for those that first tried it with male cows.

In the Prince of Wales campaigners against local micro-power generation have set up a petition on they fear the sound of the turbines will drown out their ukelele sing-along sessions, but they’re probably just tilting at windmills. A single bongo is drummed next door in the artist-led space.

When Joseph and Mary get to the inn, they are told that their sofa has been given to
someone else, for free. Their social capital has not travelled from Digbeth. The pubs are heaving so they end up sitting in the only place open: Moseley’s new Costa coffee. Hey, at least the business is stable. There’s so much momentum that Mary is thinking of joining Labour, but there is much she doesn’t understand.

The driver from Royal Cars pulls up, our team leaders don’t leave a tip, but they do get one. It does matter to the business if you’ve been busy and it matters to the workers what time they finish. But they reach our startup and give their gifts: boldness, frank inconscience, and blur-ing of self-employment tax status.

The wages are lowing, capitalism awakes. An app is born, and with each social action a ring of the dues.


*only according to the Heart FM breakfast show, and the Evening Mail website, everyone else thought it was shite.

Author: Jon Bounds

Jon was voted the ‘14th Most Influential Person in the West Midlands’ in 2008. Subsequently he has not been placed. He’s been a football referee, venetian blind maker, cellar man, and a losing Labour council candidate: “No, no chance. A complete no-hoper” said a spoilt ballot. Jon wrote and directed the first ever piece of drama performed on Twitter when he persuaded a cast including MPs and journalists to give over their timelines to perform Twitpanto. But all that is behind him.