26 Oct 2017, 8:13pm
rant
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  • Why does getting super-rich mean a taste bypass?

    Dear readers, feast your eyes on this, which is a new development in Nine Elms in London called Versace Tower. Now the first thing you need to know is that Nine Elms is south of the river, and anywhere sarf of the river is infra dig for the cognoscenti, it’s just not the place to be seen.

    inside London’s Versace Tower. You need to view this full size to take in the true horror… I confess at first I thought the things on the side were urinals, but did wonder why you’d put a dining table in the bog.

    The only way you can make it worse is to go south-east, which is where an Ermine grew up, basically in the arse end of the city. There’s a historical reason for that, which is that the prevailing winds in Britain come from the south-west, so when people used to throw their crap into the river the prevailing winds carried the stink east and north. London had a problem because the Romans built Londinium north of the river, so all the useful stuff ended up on the north side of the river and transport links south were historically poor. A quick glance a a Tube map of the bits that matter shows you this at a glance. 1

    Not much south of the river, and the east side beyond Bank is relatively new build too. And yes I know this is symbolic rather than cartographic, but the symbolism carries the story of what matters too

    WTF is wrong with the über rich? Ever since I read that Saddam Hussein had gilded taps in his toilet it struck me that a problem with today’s rich is that all too often they have absolutely no taste.

    the only thing not to expect, as Peter York noted in his 2005 book Dictators’ Homes, is good taste.

    Dictator’s Homes

    That’s kinda understandable in a dictator, to the extent that there’s even a book on it, Dictator’s Homes.

     

    Saddams gilded bog

     

    Random item of Gaddafi’s palace

    The landed gentry of Britain developed taste and a sense of proportion, which is why once the great unwashed managed to deprive them of some of their unearned wealth a lot of it was deemed a national treasure, and the National Trust has been able to charge us and foreign tourists to be able to gawp at some of this.

    concentrating inherited wealth led us to stately homes and a tiny part of the population owning nearly everything. But at least they didn’t gold plate everything.

    I start to see some of the reason why the aristocracy of old looked down their noses at the nouveaux riche, the problem with the hyper rich is that they are such tasteless bastards. A taste bypass is perfectly acceptable in a rapper but the rest of us have to live in the same world as the hyper-rich, and it’s time something stopped them despoiling large parts of London with their ghastly mega-basements and uninhabited gilded towers. The problem seems to apply across the board – paint this boat battleship grey and it still lacks the aesthetic appeal of a Navy destroyer, where at least form follows function

    and yet apparently it is a design of Philippe Starck, he of the elegant lemon squeezer. He must’ve been having them on when he did this project.

    Now if taste were the only problem it wouldn’t be too bad, but all too often it goes along with bad character, as exemplified by the despots. When it comes to gold and interior design, less is definitely more. There’s another well-known example of this genre

    Chez Trump

    which begins as soon as you get into the elevator

    America take note. Gilding the living crap out of everything is a look that says something about the perpetrator, and that something isn’t very good, all the way from King Midas through Nicolae Ceaucescu, Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein 😉 Be afraid, very afraid.

    Notes:

    1. It took me longer to get 15 miles from my parents’ place to Cannon Street by train in the 1980s than it took me to get the 70 miles from Ipswich station to Liverpool Street station in the heart London’s financial district, which says something about how southeast London was disfavoured in terms of transport.
     
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