tirsdag 9. august 2016

Gold Fetishism and Armani

The Prepper Diaries 
In the field by Robert Wood
Sorry that I am late, says Herald as he hurricanic storms into his penthouse studio in Oslo. His German trainee has made coffee and given me the latest Wired, Time, and Die Welt Digital on an iPad Air.

The design studio is so vast that you could use a skateboard to get fast enough around in the L-shaped loft floor high above the fashionista shops at ground zero. A double set of identical Apple iMac with 27” retina 4K screens stand dictatoric on a concrete table in the middle of the room. A mixture of monster-cables, several screens and printers try to dominate the desolate studio.
   Yet another designer… Why do I locate designers on the Dark Web who also are preppers? However, no complaints. Serious preppers are notorious secretive and difficult to locate at all, and economic preppers are even more secretive because of the gold and silver they are liable to hoard in the grey-zone of the Norwegian fortune tax and gold coin collecting. Nevertheless, Herald had not been unwilling to meet me when I contacted him - through how many untraceable servers I do not know.
   – People need to be warned about the upcoming monetary crisis, he had preached over Skype. - But kindly use a pseudonym, and not my real name when writing about my style of prepping.
   I guess his willingness was a subconscious need to be seen by potential customers, an artistic need to show off his design skills and a sub conscious need to spread the gospel of economic gold prepping - the way he does it!

Panda, Panda, wo bist du schön
The designer explained the different pieces of hardware on his electronic altar and pointed at the scanner. – Many contemporary digital designers do not see the creative potential of an ordinary 2D flatbed scanner, he says and places a small, white umbrella spreading ambient light on the scanner glass. – This morning I was going to place a live snake, a Norwegian Linnormr, straight on the glass. Somehow, I can’t force myself to do it. The Linnormr is going to be a part of a scenario with the Chinese Panda Gold coin as an investment option. A Chinese gold wholesaler have ordered twelve illustrations with motives from the Chinese Zodiac. All twelve illustrations have to have the Panda figure on the gold coins integrated with the Zodiac animals. – As you probably know, the Shanghai Gold Exchange will focus on gold coins as bestsellers to foreign investors. Humm… I better scan the Linnormr in his reptile glass cage, he says thoughtfully as he lights up a cigarette.
   Herald is the wiz of gold coin illustrations. The Chinese love him and pay “The Mad Norwegian” handsomely. – The first gold illustration I made was for a Chinese/English gold dealer in London. He was in need of some serious promotion leaflets that would appeal to both rich Chinese tourists and the wealthy British upper-middle class. It was great! The London dealer loved the way I captured the essence of gold as an investment object for an uncertain monetary future. He recommended me to his connections in Shanghai. I had it made.

Stricken by Gold Pandas
Some designers, artists and preppers like to look cool, and Herald looks cool indeed. I’ve known since I entered the studio that this field interview would turn out to be a mixture of computer-lore, gold fetishism, design philosophy and hopefully some insight in gold coin prepping. As Herald reels off his story, he brushes off a speck of dust from his night black Armani jacket and lights up a John Player cigarette with a Dunhill lighter. Old fashioned, but cool. I refrain from lightning one of the Dutch cigarillos I have in my pocket.
   Herald lectures me on the development of monetary politics in the Western World. He talks about the enormous amount of money the USA owns the world and the trade deficits of Europe. He laments the loss of industries to Asia, and China’s rise to become a fearful economic contester to the rest of the world.
   –We have cut our own throats. The Han Chinese are going to finish us the moment the German Industry Machine no longer can supply them with the best of the best of scientific instruments, supreme quality cars and whole factory complexes.
   I nod in agreement. The Chinese are buying technological knowhow whenever they can get hold of it. They bought the Swedish car producer, Volvo, and applied some of the technology in their own car production. They will compete by selling dead cheap low quality cars all over Asia and Africa. Their ultimate goal seems to be economic world dominance with the Yuan as the world’s new reserve currency.
-There is just a matter of time before we see the next major economic earthquake, Herald continues, waving his cigarette in the air. - Ten  years have passed since the Leman Brothers brought the US dollar to the brink of extinction. Time Magazine presented the statistics of economic meltdowns. The pattern repeats itself every tenth year, and that means that the world is due for another one this year or next year. Like earthquakes, we know that they will happen, but we do not know where and when.

Economic Doomsday
-YES! Yes! I break his monotone with an impatient exclamation. Some of us know, but most of us do not know or care about the state of the world economy. How do you prep against the economic Doomsday you fear will come?
- Well, as you know I work for the Chinese because they have not forgotten the value of gold. They like my designs and they pay me handsomely in Yuan which I declare as income and pay tax like any other taxpayer. However, since I work with Gold Panda illustrations they give me coins as personal gifts after I deliver whatever they have ordered. The new ultra-rich Chinese like to show off their wealth. Besides, my love of gold and Panda bears amuse them. In their eyes I am a kind of clown. A party pet. I make them feel superior. But who cares… Gold is gold and I have what you might call a… Gold Panda fetishism. The close shaved face gets an angelic expression.

A Golden Gleam
I’m about to ask Herald to elaborate on how he gets his ideas about Panda gold coins and other currencies when he turns his back to me and carefully pulls up his black silk shirt. A sizable tattoo with the motif of a Panda Gold Coin covers most of his back. A cute panda bear climbs over a bamboo stick in a bamboo forest. The coin is so detailed replicated that one could suspect that the coin motif designer was the hand behind the masterwork. Not so.
-It is beautiful, I exclaim! -Where on earth did you manage to get such a piece? Oslo’s tattoo parlors can not do such designs. How did the tattooist manage to apply the golden gleam to the skin?
- I got the piece in Shanghai this summer. The master illustrators have invented a new technique they call “Nano skin engraving”. This new technique enables them to obtain a level of details never before attained in the history of tattooing. The golden gleam is gold nano particles laser-embedded in the pores of my skin.
- When I showed the tattoo to one of my customers in Shanghai he almost burst into tears of excitement and insisted on showing me off like a price stallion to his business associates of wholesale gold dealers. And… best of all… He promised me a 1 oz. Panda gold coin for each of his guests that turned up at his party. Now, I can’t disclose how many turned up, but let’s say that it was a very profitable evening selling my fetish. I felt like a gigolo… but gold is a harlot whispering in all languages.

The Grade 7 Safe
- Anyway, let me get down to the prepping. I guess you have noticed the night-black Franz Jäger safe in the corner over there? It is a grade seven Diamond Cut safe. Costs a fortune, but safe as The Bank of Norway and no pun intended. You are going to work extremely hard to crack open that one. Herald grins. OK! First of all you have to hide your gold and silver outside a bank because you want to be able to get to your physical gold if the bank closes its doors in a bank run. Secondly, invest at least 10-15 % of your savings in physical precious metals. Since I am an economic prepper, I invest much more of my earnings in both silver and gold. I prepp Panda Coins because I love them, but the premium is really too much seen from an investment point of view. For preppers without a fetish I recommend Canadian Maple Leaf and American Eagle 1 oz. coins. You will get most bang for the buck buying these coins. Especially the Maple Leaf has many security features.
   After a cup of relaxing green tea I get ready to leave his studio. I can’t resist asking him a last question I know the answer of. – If you could choose an illustration to this interview, what would you have chosen?
- Gold Panda Coins, he says innocently. I can see that it's a declaration of love.

Hard facts – Best and Worst
Pseudonym: Herald
Profession: Illustrator and Designer
Age: 31 years
The Art and Design School
Favorite prepper scenario
The Chinese Yuan takeover
Favorite prepper tool
The 2D flatbed scanner
Worst prepper trap
The Fetish of prepping
The worst being a prepper
Would really have liked to have
A sexy girlfriend
Favorite prepper item
The Chinese Panda Gold Coin

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