The aim of this online project was to gather as many points of view as possible on the recession by asking everyone to respond to the same question. What we have been asking people to do is write a sentence telling us what they would do if they only had £ 5 left in their pockets and ask them to add their age, profession and country.

What has been particularly interesting to us is to know how each country is reacting to it. We felt that this project would be a chance for people to be part of a big, international community exchanging thoughts and opinions about money. All of these responses are part of our continual aim to help us form our own prose and poetry in relation to the recession.

A selection of responses from our international online project:

‘With my last fiver I would take it to the bookies and put it on a horse which is unlikely to win…’

Anonymous, England

‘li brucerei con un accendino e li guarderei diventare cenere: la fine che fanno gli esseri umani- soprattutto quelli senza soldi per sopravvivere…’

(I would set them on fire with a lighter and I would look at them turning into ashes: human beings’ end - especially those who don’t have money to survive…’)

Roberta Muto, 25, Graduate, Cosenza, Italy

‘I think I’d buy a harmonica, and teach myself to play it with the intention of busking. That way, maybe, I’d be able to earn more!’

Anita Casu, 22, Employed graduate, London

‘Io li darei ad Emergency. Per me non servirebbero a nulla, loro potrebbero utilizzarli per comprare una protesi e rendere migliore la vita di qualcuno. Se non ne avessi altri, almeno potrei dire di aver speso i miei ultimi soldi per far qualcosa di buono. E poi morirei serena.’

(’I would give them to Emergency. I wouldn’t need them, they could use it to buy a prosthesis and make someone’s life better. If I didn’t have any left, at least I could say I spent my last money to do something good. And I would die serene’.)

Emma, 17, Student, Cosenza, Italy

‘Comincerei a comperare i grimaldelli x il furto con scasso’

(I would start buying the picklocks to burgle’.)


‘With my last fiver I would invest.’

Rob, 22, Graduate, London

‘My sister and I collaborated and decided that with our last fiver we would buy a magic cow. ‘

Lucy, 23, Postgraduate, London

‘I would spend my last £5 with some food , and probably after that I’ll still alive for a while and try to make more £5 to buy more food’.

Glauco, 27, Musician, Brazil

‘Li regalerei a una zingara, è ovvio.’

(’I would obviously give them to a gypsy woman.’)

Giovanni, 22, Undergraduate, Pisa, Italy

‘Mi comprerei un drink in un bar super figo e bevendo cercherei qualcuno che abbia piu di 5 quid in tasca…’

(’I would buy myself a drink in a super cool bar and, while drinking, I’d look for someone who has more than 5 quid in his pocket…’)

Annarita, 27, Unemployed graduate, Cosena, Italy

‘With my last fiver I would go into a betting shop, chat up some craggy old boy that looks like he knows about horse racing, hope he gives me a good tip, put the £5 on that horse and pray…if it lost, I’d hope the chatting up had been effective enough that he may buy me lunch - out of sympathy and guilt if nothing else?’

Nicola, 42, Undergraduate, London

‘With my last fiver, I’ll buy a sheet of paper and a pen and write down all I always wanted to say and I’ve never dared to. To people around me. Write sincerely, without any restriction. Moving things, bad things, terrible things, nice and sweet things. That will be my last fiver option as I feel overwhelmed by all those thoughts that never come into words!’

Marie, 25, Employed graduate, Paris

‘Intanto me li farei cambiare al primo negozio in tante monetine da 1 centesimo. Poi mi avvierei verso la fontana di Trevi..per buttarene 1 ogni giorno, e desiderare un domani migliore..!! Prima o poi dovra’ funzionare sta cazza di fontana!!’

(’First thing I’d go to a shop and have my five euros changed in many 1 cent coins. Then I would go to the Trevi fountain to throw 1 cent each day, and hope for a better tomorrow…!! Sooner or later this damn fountain will have to work!’

Francesca, 24, Unemployed graduate, Leuven, Belgium

“With my last fiver I would give away the money to someone who needed it more, because no matter how bad things are for you, there is almost certainly going to be someone for whom things are worse. It has been said that despite the repression people are still giving money to charity as they did before. Times like this often bring out the best in people. So I would give my last fiver away, and trust that God would provide me the things I need. After all money is not the be all and end all - there is more to life.”

Rebecca, Healthcare scientist, Essex

“With my last fiver I would give someone else a fiver. Five pounds just isn’t enough to be of any use to me. Food is only a temporary solution to unfamishable hunger, as is water to unquenchable thirst. There’s no money left for shelter. Material goods will just weigh me down or get stolen. What good is transport with nowhere to run? What use are qualifications if you can’t pay for breakfast? What good is the past if it holds you back in the present? And what good is saving it for a rainy day if it’s already pouring? The only item worth inheriting is that which can’t be purchased.

So, I would help another survive, using my last remaining five. After all, what else could I do with it, except extend death and surrender to selfishness?”

Luke, UK

“With my last fiver I’d buy my husband a gift. I don’t know what - maybe food, maybe drink, maybe just something silly. Money can’t buy you love. But if I could bring some happiness to my husband in the midst of times that seem increasingly dark, to see him smile would be more valuable and enduring than anything else I could afford.”

Rachael, Teaching Assistant, Surrey

With my last fiver I would spend it on a ticket to anywhere, on the cheapest mode of transport, as far away as it would take me and start life again at the desination in which I found myself. From then on I would let fate decide…

Helen Clarke, student, Birmingham

I would tuck my new found fortune away into my top pocket and ponder the many issue surrounding life as a whole, why I cannot bring myself to write anything constructive, why one insanity DJ is considered better than another when everything they play is the same, why Goddard is a better director than Spielberg, why a home is not a motel, why if I was another person in another time I would be no different to the way I am now, why people say they would give away five pounds when we all know full well they will not, why two of the above involve fast food, why several of which involve busking, why half the world is so conceited it does not do what it wants. After pondering these important questions I will then purchase a carpet, with the remaining money I would pay someone to roll me into the carpet and throw my over a cliff, thus drinking myself silly until I turn into dry rot. If I survive this experience my faith will be renewed if I do not my faith has been rewarded.

James, Student

With my last fiver I …

At first my head said, ‘Buy some seed,
To grow the food on which to feed.’
My heart said, ‘No! Take a coach,
Spend time with those you love the most.’

My daughters, two, we’ll reminisce
And talk of all the times we miss,
The joy, the laughter, giggling,
The memories back all this will bring.
As each remembering different things,
We’ll share the fun those memories bring.
The silly times, the times we smiled,
We laughed out loud so much we cried.
Do you remember this or that?
What fun we’ll have, just think of that.

We’ll look ahead, we’ll plan, we’ll scheme,
And think of all what might have been.

With my last fiver I’d take a coach,
To be with those I love the most.

Gillian, Teacher, Wiltshire

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