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Melanie Morris: Any chance of a few quid for my Galway Races wardrobe?

It's the ultimate recession buster. And it seems nothing will guarantee a girl more publicity than her boobs, other than her forthright way to boost them.

This week, 21-year-old checkout chick Sarah O'Brien hit the headlines when she asked strangers online to finance breast implants in return for sexy snaps of the results.

When she was on the radio to tell her tale, a clinic came forward and offered to do the job for her for free. Tomorrow who knows? She could be interviewed by Xpose, front a fake tan ad campaign and hook up with one (or both) of Jedward.

To be fair though, this 'pay and display' method of getting what you want isn't exactly revolutionary.

The internet is full of websites populated by people wanting donations for plastic surgery, school fees, cars, holidays ... just about anything. Simply create a profile, state your case and plamas donors to open their wallets as you watch your target creep into sight.

Those even lazier can just turn to the small ads. Private Eye magazine runs a whole section of personal advertisements -- under the banner of 'Eye Needs' -- from people who shamelessly appeal for money.

One notice reads "doing fringe theatre, need help with rent", another says "African village maize-mill project needs donations/loans". Some don't even bother with a reason and just publish their bank details. It seems, if there's one born every minute, there must also be another to sort out the bill.

On the other end of the spectrum, clever clogs like Irish singer/songwriter Nick Kelly (formerly of The Fat Lady Sings) handles the begging bowl with far more aplomb. Nick has been financing the production of his CDs since the mid-80s. Long before you could just post something in cyberspace, he would mail letters to fans, promising that in return for a few quid, they'd be first to receive the new album he was about to record. A complete win/win situation.

Now, in 2010 he's back with a bigger and bolder idea entitled Gestation -- not only is he selling his new album in advance, he's also encouraging fans to attend gigs to hear and rate new material, sample different arrangements, design artwork and spread the word.

I think this proactive, 'outside the box' approach is exactly the way we need to think in order to get what we want right now, and it's to be encouraged. Times are tight, and frankly, you've got to speak up and stand out.

With that in mind, I'm almost tempted to write to U2 and ask for a few quid to finance my Galway Races wardrobe. I mean, they'd hardly notice a couple of grand, would they? Not when they have just topped Forbes' list of Top-Earning Musicians for 2010.

And I promise to post the pictures on Facebook ...


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