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The following is an article taken from Choices Magazine after a visit to the Mystery Shopping Club.

"Wanted: Shopaholic nosey parker with excellent observational skills, a good ear and flexible attitude to part-time work. Anyone can apply. Work available in all areas. Must be prepared to eat free meals, enjoy shopping discounts and visit pubs - and be paid for it."

Believe it or not, the above job advertisement is not as far fetched as it sounds. If you love shopping, you'll be pleased to hear that it's possible to shop for a living. In fact, it's a multi-million pound industry for market research companies who employ "mystery shoppers" to shop up and down the country - all in the name of customer service and research.

There are a number of mystery shopping companies who organise whole armies of professional shoppers on behalf of retailers, pubs, restaurants, banks and other service industries. Their mission? To mingle in, look inconspicuous and file a report on anything from customer service to cleanliness in the restrooms.

If you visit one or two pubs in a night, you'll get your food and drink paid for, travel expenses and you'll be paid anything from £6.00 to £8.00 up for each visit.

But there is one problem with mystery shopping: truly dedicated shoppers never switch off from their work. You'll find yourself compulsively evaluating service and checking ceilings for cobwebs even when you're not on duty. It eventually becomes a part of your life.

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    Large insect-like robot to be created as part of innovative digital arts project. A groundbreaking project has just been launched that will bring an exciting new dimension to the performing arts using computer technology. Sci-art: Bio-robotic Choreography is an initiative that brings together artists, roboticists and technicians for an intriguing exploration of human/machine relationships ...More from the University of Suusex

    Artist Anish Kapoor unveils 155 metre installation at Tate Modern, London. Kapoor's stretched PVC sculpture Marsyas occupyies the whole of the magnificent 35 metre high Turbine Hall, says The Independent. "The work is made of three steel rings connected by the PVC membrane so taut it seems as solid as cast bronze" ...More from What The Papers Say

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    A novel way to write hit songs. Novelist Madison Smartt Bell's new novel about a songwriter has turned into a life-imitates-art experience: Those songs are now online -- and pretty good, too ...More from Wired News

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    Ireland's Convict Digerati. Stephen Perry, musician, photographer, digital imaging tutor and former hash-smuggler, went through prison education and is now teaching his expertise to ex-prisoners. Daithi O hAnluain reports from Ireland ...More from Wired News

    'Modern art made me blue'. Could studying modern art actually make you vulnerable to mental illness? One man believes it is the root of his problems ...More from the BBC

    Sound and Fury of HyperMacbeth. Unlike other online versions of Macbeth, in which hyperlinks might annotate Shakespeare's work, dlsan's hyperlinks might change the shape, size and color of a phrase ...More from Wired News

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    Waterlogged Camera Turns Magic. An amateur photographer accidentally bumps his digi-camera into the drink, tries desperately to dry it out, and is delighted by the surreal results. So are some galleries exhibiting his new work ...More from Wired News

    New Body Art: Chip Implants. Tattoos and piercings are fine for some, but a Canadian artist delves deeper, hoping to reveal her inner self with the help of microchips implanted in her hands ...More from Wired News

    Net Gambit: See Art, Pay Amnesty. Net artists haven't figured out how to make money from their art, but curators of a new exhibit hope an online show can raise funds for a good cause ...More from Wired News

    Art: In the Ear of the Beholder. Signals are parsed through laptop computers and manipulated in real-time. Sound like art to you? Chloe Veltman reports from Activating the Medium at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art ...More from Wired News

    Beneath the veil: How Afghan artists beat the Taliban at their own game. It was a moody impressionist painting of a cobblestone street winding down a hill-deserted, until Mohammad Yousof Asefi came along with his wet sponge. Asefi wiped the canvas and women, resplendent in red and blue cloaks, appeared. Then two more, then six and 10, until the painting’s street suddenly came alive with strolling people ...More from the Indian Express

    Bug paintings created by strapping canvas to moving car. A New Zealand artist spent years making bug paintings by strapping a canvas covered in oil paint to the front of his car. Richard Lomas, of Wellington, drove around 8,078 miles over 10 years to complete the works. He says 26 paintings called Ego System and The Millennium Bug Paintings were created using 100 tubes of oil paint and "a lot of bugs", which struck the canvases ...More from Ananova

    Queen Elizabeth surrenders to painter's bleak gaze. Has there ever been a portrait of the Queen - of any queen - so unflattering as the one that Lucian Freud presented to Her Majesty recently? ...More from the Times

    MIT Art Project: Messy Kitchen. A new New York City art project on digital portraiture with an MIT Media Lab influence sounds like a great idea, but the idea isn't enough ...More from Wired News

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