Who knows what is true and what isn’t? I don’t. Take newspapers for example.
It was lunchtime Friday and I was in one of those diner cafes that provide tables if you want to eat in, and newspapers on the tables to give you something to do while you eat.
I ordered a chicken and salad sandwich and picked up the Australian Financial Review. A magazine fell out of it and hit my foot. It was one of those glossy numbers printed on extra heavy duty stock to show the upscale ads to best effect. Every second page had an ad for watches that are diamond-encrusted or waterproof to 300 metres or both. In case you drop it off the yacht late one night, I suppose.
A panel on the front page of the newspaper was headlined: “Luxury Magazine: Green Glamour.” The puff piece read: “Extravagance now comes with a clear conscience, as fashion designers, upmarket resorts and even luxury car makers embrace the environment.”
I took a bite from my sandwich – excellent sourdough - and read on:
“In this special issue, AFR’s Luxury magazine reveals even the most politically correct eco warriors can have their cake and eat it too.”
Having your cake and eating it too in an eco warrior sense stirred something in memory. Was it the guy who flew around the world telling people to turn their lights off? What was his name? Michael Gore? Al Moore? Turns out he lived on a ranch half the size of the Northern Territory. Maybe he just lived in it one room at a time.
Never mind. I flicked through Luxury to learn how to be an eco warrior who is not quite able to get by without luxury and is looking for ways to rationalise it.
The opening spread featured a Miele oven about the size of a double garage. Or was it a fridge? The ad didn’t say but it had a coffee maker in it as big as a microwave. All right, it might have been efficient and German and minimalist in design but it would never fit in my kitchen. Flick.
Next was an ad for the Breitling watch, described as ‘a cult object for aviation enthusiasts’. This point was rammed home by a photograph of a Supermarine Spitfire, an aircraft with possibly the highest-ever fuel consumption to weight ratio for a machine that wasn’t a rocket. Nice. Strap on your Breitling and we’ll go for a spin in the Spitfire. Are we embracing the environment yet?
Further on, the new Alfa GT Monza now comes with a parking sensor. So even if you can’t park you can still drive a sports car named after a race track. I think I’m beginning to get this whole green spin thing.
After about twenty pages of ads we got to the actual editorial material, written by real journalists. One item featured the Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat, a destination so environmentally-friendly it would no doubt suck the carbon out of a pencil. No need to feel guilty about holidaying at Gwinganna:
“ …What draws (Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman) to this little pocket of paradise is the latest must have: green luxury – consumption with a clear conscience.”
They could have gone one better and stayed home. Two paragraphs later:
“When it’s time to leave, Gwinganna’s guests can climb into a helicopter or grab a limousine.”
Whoosh, whoosh, chop, chop. Sydney airport, thanks pilot. And order me a limo. I’m full of luxury and as guilt-free as hell.