BLACKMAIL Money extorted by threat; hush money. A simple and relatively inexpensive method of subversion, requiring the minimum of equipment:
- A smart phone with camera and voice recorder or, at a push, a camera and a voice recorder.
- An insight into the daily routines and habits of a notable public figure who is likely to do something disgusting enough to make him vulnerable.
- A large thermos flask and a Tupperware box for your sandwiches.
Blackmail is definitely not the kind of thing that you can go rushing into willy-nilly. Planning must be thorough, meticulous and written down in really big capital letters to avoid any confusion:
Take great care when identifying your victim:
- He/she must be financially viable – there is little point in blackmailing someone who cannot pay.
- Ensure that they are doing something that they shouldn’t be doing – paragons of virtue are notoriously difficult to blackmail.
- Ensure that they care – you’ll get nowhere if your victim doesn’t give a toss what other people think about them.
In gathering the evidence you will require in order to execute your plot, you will almost certainly have to conceal yourself at some stage. Take great care when selecting your hiding place: there are some wonderful places in which to secrete yourself, but they are of very little use to you if they are on the other side of town to the naughtiness. Try and find somewhere to hide in the room where the action is expected to take place. Having decided on the wardrobe, ensure that the door can be opened from the inside – there is nothing worse than being trapped inside the closet whilst the action is taking place on the bed outside, particularly if the flash goes off.
Having leapt out of the wardrobe and captured an image of your victim(s) in flagrante, you must now face the biggest challenge of the whole operation – escape. Plan, plan and triple plan your escape. Have as many alternative escape routes arranged as possible and be aware that you will be attempting to negotiate them whilst lugging your out-of-shape frame along passages and alleyways at speeds far greater than furred-up arteries will appreciate, into a fire door that someone will, inevitably, have locked.
Should you manage to affect an escape, send a simple, straightforward blackmail note to your victim, informing him/her that you will turn the photographs over to husband/wife/police/avoid nausea, unless you receive £1,000 in used notes1 before the end of the week. Don’t be dissuaded from proceeding if, in the excitement of catching them ‘at it’, you got the angle all wrong and cut their heads off in the finished photograph. There is often incriminating evidence to be found on photos of knees and ankles.
Arrange somewhere very unusual for the money to be left; get somebody else to collect it in case things go wrong and always count the cash before you post the evidence. Do not simply count bundles – remember they may be a ‘sandwich’ of real notes filled with carefully cut newspaper. Always be suspicious if they are carried in a suitcase and the carrier removes one bundle and flicks the corners in front of your face before closing the lid and handing it over. Also, beware of other people in the vicinity carrying identical cases, particularly if they sidle up to you whilst you are waiting for the bus.
A TYPICAL D.I.Y BLACKMAIL PLOT – You are probably the last person this side of Alpha Centauri to discover that your boss is having an affair with his secretary. Through astute investigation and by asking the cleaner, you discover the location of their weekend assignations, and fight your way into the wardrobe where you wait for the main event. You are woken by the 37 other subversives scattered around the room firing off their Yasichas in deafening unison. You leap to your feet, partially garrotting yourself on a pair of braces and take a brilliant flash photograph of the contents of your nose, which the local chemist over-develops. On leaving the hotel, you trip on the stairs and snap the shutter release from your Kodak.
- Personally I always prefer crisp, new ones, but the secondhand appears to be the preferred subversive note of choice.
© Colin McQueen 2022
The Beginners A-Z of D.I.Y Subversion Index is here.