Mine's Bigger Than Yours
by Maggie from London
Don't look now, but it's big money, big houses, big gowns, big hair (extensions); it's the 80's all over again. Don't look back; can big shoulders be far behind? Aagrhhh!
They came, they saw, they spent. With all that extra cash in the limitless pockets of the tax-avoiding-super-nouveau-riche, they are now willing to flaunt their obscene wealth obscenely: charity venues, shopping and property in Knightsbridge, Belgravia, Mayfair.
The world - their world - has become a categorical competition; notches on the money belt, mine is bigger than yours: let the battles begin. To triumph, only your very own charity do will do ' as you would expect - featuring an auction where the rich can demonstrably demonstrate just how rich they really are.
"Do I hear '225,000? Is that '250,000? Oh, well done sir at '400,000.' Putting his money where his mouth is, last month rag man, non-tax-paying billionaire, Philip Green paid a mere '60,000 to watch Kate Moss passionately snog heiress Jemima Khan for 2 ' minutes of male fantasy'all going for a good cause. Quite.
It's the moneyed and celebrated paying up to spend time with the moneyed and celebrated. For '150,000 football savior Wayne Rooney will spend a weekend with P. Diddy in the Hamptons where he can have a studio session - or not and ' a night out with the chinless wonder who poses as a bling-covered-pimp: 'I'm in a giving mood.' Really, Puff D.
Gwynnie and Chris have sold private time with them for a trifling '140,000. She will observe while you eat adzuki beans and he will (struggle to) play the guitar. Spare me. No parting of the Red Sea then? Maybe next year when Moses is a bit older. Sting will do a non-tantric ' or am I assuming here ' yoga session for '70,000. Damien Hirst will let you hold one of his 77 staff members' paint brushes, with paint on it, for '250,000; sign me up. Only a pathetic '2,827.77 was offered to accompany Liz Hurley shopping for her own line of swim wear at Harrods.
Clever, that. Let's hope that all this one-upmanship
finds its charity source.
The rich are coming! The mega rich are coming! Actually, most of them are already here. Surely no lace curtains for these new neighbors'unless created in an atelier by the nearly blind. Staff accommodation for 22, parking for (only) four cars including the requisite lift, a 40 foot swimming pool with a cantilevered bridge that operates with the touch of a valet button and all for a mere '32m. Peanuts, surely. With properties offered this summer at '80m, who's counting pounds or pence?
Harrods has sold a pen, yes a single pen, that small object everyone, regardless of banking privileges, holds between thumb and two fingers, for a staggering '144,612. Harvey Nichols is offering a pair of men's trousers featuring Swarovski crystals down the leg for '8,580 to some potential plonker. An Imperial (eight bottles in one) of 2001 Chateau d'Yquem was bought for '3,500. I'm almost speechless.
Follow the money: according to agents and the keeper of rich lists, the world's super-rich have had an explosion of wealth in the past few years. 'London is the most cosmopolitan, multi-cultural city in Europe, if not the world'never before has such a large proportion of our prime real estate been owned by foreigners.'
'Those with the readies are Russians, Arabs, and anyone else with money; Indian billionaires and the Chinese are on the horizon'More than 65% of the Fortune Global 500 companies have chosen London as their European or world headquarters'London has more foreign banks than any other city on the planet.' It is a bespoke lifestyle for the richest, most prolific refugees: Russian speaking Chelsea estate agents, shop assistants on Bond Street, private bank managers.
We certainly wouldn't want them to keep their money under the bed; the obvious dilemma would be which bed?
Pity the poor rich, those with massive City bonuses,
who are now forced to look further out into the ' shock
horror- suburbs or south of the Thames for their little
7 bed/6 bath bungalow. I know I will as I gaze longingly
from my rented now pass' Notting Hill flat as their
Bentleys pass me by.
TTFN (ta ta for now)
Maggie is from Manhattan, where she was a painter, then designer of clothing, objects, textiles, interiors while writing for various publications and her own webzine. She is permanently based in London, the city of irony, from where she writes regularly to her gal pal Lulu in New York.
You can read her amusing tales about London's daily life, people, current events, politics, fashion and culture at her website www.lettersfromlondon.com.
You can also read more of Maggie's letters to Lulu at
Letters from London
on this site.