Five People Breaking Shit



I work at a place where the whole thing is people come in and smash stuff. It’s called “la Collision”, on the Rue Balzac in Paris. I’m American, but I moved to Paris because I had the money to. There’s a million things people can smash, but it’s mostly cheap glasswork from thrift-stores. Part of my job is going out and buying a bunch of cups and lamps and cheap vases and collecting bottles I see on the street. I get all this stuff and take it back to the shop. Old TVs are great if I can find them. We charge extra for that because everyone wants to smash those. I get lightbulbs, but I have to be careful about which lightbulbs, because some of them have like, deadly gas inside of them. Everyone signs forms when they come in, but I still don’t want to be poisoning anyone. The other thing I do is stock the rooms, which mostly means putting boxes of stuff in the corner for people to pick up and throw, but it also means putting the fake walls back up after they’ve been knocked down. The paint stuff I don’t get, they let you throw paint at the walls. Why would you throw paint at a wall you could break down if you’re trying to actually destroy it? I just think that you should go somewhere else for that. Go to some branché finger-painting studio. I don’t complain, though. The job pays well, and since they have me go to thrift stores with cash and my manager doesn’t really care if I lie about how much things cost, I make some money on the side. But don’t put that in the article. Edit that out if you could, off the record. But the only bad thing about breaking stuff is there are only a certain amount of things that you can break. We have some old cars every once in a while, but things tend to be cheap. Like, I mentioned the toxic lightbulbs, but there are other things that are off-limits. Some people have asked if we have refrigerators, jewelry, nice china plates, things like that. I have to tell them that we don’t have anything super expensive other than TVs. Of course, there are places where you can break that kind of stuff, but they’re not open to the public. Invite only places. But I hear unsavory things about those. 


I break things for my YouTube channel. Part of that is traveling around the world and finding crazy places to break stuff, and places where you can break interesting things. We break stuff in front of Niagara Falls, in front of Shinto shrines, places like that. Before I started watching YouTube or uploading videos, I watched a lot of Ellen. So much Ellen. Ellen DeGeneres, you know? Ellen is a genius. She is, quite literally, the greatest artist and content creator of the last 30 years. When she got canceled it was sad cause it meant she was gonna be off the air. She was really smart because she basically understood that everything is transient and what people like is stuff just like, seeing something or someone that we know isn’t gonna matter very soon. Which isn’t a big deal or anything and it doesn’t stop the people on there from being unimportant, obviously. But destroying stuff is so fucking cool. Everyone likes it. It’s just rewarding or something. Of course, it’s too expensive for most people to do because stuff is supposed to exist, which is where we step in. But I guess a lot of stuff actually isn’t made to exist at all, like iPhones. It’s planned obsolescence, right? To get you to buy more? So with something like that, who cares if it gets blown up? Or hit by hammers, right? That’s why we smash new shit. It’s more, it’s like, way more exciting.


I think things don’t really exist until they’ve been destroyed. Cause the stuff I break is in its shortest phase of existence when it’s whole, when it’s stuck together. Like, for example, isn’t the frailty of a vase part of what makes it expensive? If we’re talking about a nice vase, you know, one that holds value, like the vases they made in medieval China maybe, with the beautiful flowers printed on the side, or the Dutch imitations, the ones they made in Delft, the blue bone china plates and tea-cups? You pass that kind of thing down because it takes care to keep it together. You have to put it in its own, like, wardrobe or something. It’s as fragile as the family itself, so if it breaks, so did your lineage or something. But that’s cowardly. It’s capitalist bullshit, too. On some level at least. Putting aside that these things have no real use because everyone lets them sit, never putting any actual food on the things, it’s cowardly because we get to act like that’s the natural state of those fuckin’ things. It’s pussy, because we like, can’t acknowledge that those things were made to be broken. We’ve, like, wrapped a myth around that bone china, a myth of time being something we can slow down and stop consuming. So I break things, yes, serially. But I’m not an anarchist or an iconoclast, nothing like that. I break useless shit because I think that’s, uh, basically what it’s there for. 



Right. The whole thing is fucked, all of the things that we carry around and shit. I can’t speak for anyone but myself but I don’t like it. There are things we can do and things we can’t do. I hate idolatry. I am definitely an iconoclast. I destroy any picture of a human adult that I can get my hands on. I don’t destroy pictures of kids because it feels like I’m killing a child. I can handle feeling like I killed a human being but I don’t want to kill a child. When I destroy a photograph of someone I feel so fucking good. I want to end everyone’s memories of people, I want to stop people three or four generations down from knowing who anyone was or what they did. I don’t want my last name on this, so if you were planning on that, take it off. I want to die when I die, I don’t want to be around. If someone takes a photo of me, I smash the camera. I don’t like photos. I don’t like movies. I think it’s cowardly. I think it’s fucking dumb, too. There’s no point to stories unless they’re relayed verbally. I don’t like that you’re transcribing this but it’s politically necessary. 


I don’t know why I do this shit. I kind of think I’m crazy sometimes. It’s like I have to, you know what I mean? I try to come up with something, like a reason or something, but I can’t. It’s just, I see something I don’t like and I just want to smash it. For real. I just want to. I don’t know why. I just want to break shit. Like, for real, I try to not want that, but it’s just what I feel. And sometimes I can hold it back but a lot of the time it’s just like. Fuckin’. Bam! I just punch the shit out of it or hit it with a plank or something, if it’s on the street I just kick it really, really hard. I hurt myself sometimes, for real. I just go crazy, I just. Yeah, I don’t know. I’ve gotten in trouble for it but it’s like, I got a plea deal where they sent me to therapy and it didn’t even help, really. Now I’m more careful about what I hit but, no, it’s just really I punch shit on sight sometimes. I don’t punch people, I don’t even feel angry about people. My therapist told me it’s because I’m angry at people, but I dunno if she was paying attention to what I was saying.