Sunday, October 5, 2008

One of Those "No Way!" Moments (I)

[This was written a few months ago, then forgotten about until I unearthed it recently, and therefore doesn't refer to this month's issue of Mixmag.]
Every now and again an unaccountable urge seizes me as I loll by my fireside. For reasons that lie submerged deep in the disused basement of my junkyard mind (just underneath the damp, cobwebbed boxes of seldom visited school memories) I am driven to perambulate into town and buy a copy of Mixmag. It must be five years since I set foot in a nightclub, or “disco”, as my attempts at dancing brought tears to the eyes of strong men and I was much too shy and withdrawn to make any attempt at “chatting up” women who, in any case, strutted off in contempt at my awful clothes and complete lack of “cool”. Besides, seeing as my ideal woman is a sexy librarian who knows the date Constantinople fell to the Turks, it was clear that the local dish-co (as they say down the country) would not be furnishing me with such a person save in the most unlikely of circumstances. I do like dance music, but I don’t purchase enough to make it worth my while buying a magazine devoted solely to the subject (and the culture attendant upon it). It must be the free CD (even though this month’s looked, and turned out to be, dreadful), or perhaps it’s all those pictures of pretty young people a-dancin’ and a-laughin’, having a jolly old time in funky nightspots, that appeals to a sour, anti-social old freak like me, but whatever the reason, last Wednesday saw me slouched at my kitchen table with a mug of strong coffee, munching my way through a packet of caramel slices while flipping through my newly-purchased copy.
An article contained therein filled me with a sense of outrage and disgust, as it describes what I feel to be an affront to human decency. There’s a club for the super-rich in London called Movida, whose claim to fame is that it serves the world’s priciest drink, a concoction that costs £35,000. Yes, that's 35 with three zeroes following it! It has edible gold leaf included in its recipe and comes with an 11-carat diamond ring thrown in (presumably the waiters are trained in the Heimlich manoeuvre in case one of the more intellectually challenged celebs in residence swallows this particular item). The first thought that popped into my head was that this drink costs more than I, in common with two-thirds of the Irish population, earns in a year, and the second which quickly followed was whether the gold leaf is actually digested into your system, or does it emerge from the other end intact? I suppose if you’re rich enough to afford one of these drinks you probably aren’t the sort who’ll be evacuating onto a clean plate the next day and picking through your own excrement with a tweezers and a diamond cutter’s lens, shining a torch to pick out those tell-tale glimmers. That’s what your entourage is there for! It’s could be a 21st century form of panhandling; after a trip to Movida, the personal staff of the rich are kept on standby in the morning, waiting for the gold rush to start… As Douglas Adams once put it, such a tipple seems to exist for the singular purpose of allowing rich idiots to impress other rich idiots, but there is something pretty despicable about squandering so much money on a cocktail when there are people grinding their way through lives of misery and hardship over debts a fraction of that drink’s cost. At the best of times I always find it risible, contemptible even, to hear rich people (like Bono) gassing on about making poverty history, but it’s an absolute certainty that as long as people are wealthy enough, and callous enough, to waste their fortunes on a luxury such as this while others can barely afford to put food on their tables, poverty will always be with us, and indeed will flourish like a poisonous weed.
(There was also an advert warning of the perils of STDs - a picture of a naked woman’s back with a label stitched onto it bearing the legend 'chlamydia' - which I found strangely erotic. Does this make me a pervert? It’s not a whole lot different from a tattoo, to be honest! It could be a whole new form of advertising; having actual messages sewn onto your skin which you can display as you strut around the beach (or wherever you feel the compulsion to strut…))