Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Belonging without belongings

My willpower is shot. I vowed that I would refrain from giving any air time to former style mag editor, Neil Boorman's, pathetic bonfire of the brands gig. Which beyond setting up a blog-turned-book deal last March, amounted to him burning his branded possessions at Finsbury Square in public view this past Sunday night. And why such Oxfam spited behaviour you rightfully ask? Because this is supposed to mark his rebirth as a label free No Logo championeer. Boorman (his name being the best label of all) pledges that his blog and burning stunt are acts of redemption-esqe cleansing, from which he will find the strength to cure himself from label addiction. And this last bit, is where I started to take a modicum of interest in this self-obsessed, middle class, brand gigolo.

Boorman's PR smooth, but ultimately empty stunt took on Gordan Brown's latest public crying session in the empathy PR stakes by dubbing Boorman's basic insecurity a chronic addiction. Now, I have been addicted to many things in my day, and my river of Cancerian sympathy runs deep, but this would test any levee (no, not Levi, that's his issue remember). Think I am being a bit harsh? Try it the next time you get home after a shopping spree on Bond Street. "Sorry honey, my addiction just led me to spend our month's rent in Prada. Really, I wasn't just in need of the insecurity blanket that comes with brand snobbery." If you don't get guilt tripped back to the returns desk, then dump your partner now, anyone wet enough to let that slide will bore you in six months time anyway.

But putting any Topshop-addict confessions to the side for a minute, the reality that some are too concerned about being seen with the right product is probably true. The real nonsense comes from Boorman's suggestion that he might find himself beneath it all. There is something human about the need to pick a herd to conform with. Certain brands allow certain people to pretend they are part of a special set. And others are built up quite often because a company actually became quite good at producing something. But we are not the first to criticise Boorman, controversy surrounds him.

And for a rare moment we actually want to believe that euphemistic opium of the karma brigade, that 'what goes around comes around.' For by claiming to be addicted, Boorman will surely end up, if he isn't already, more brand obsessed than before. As any recovering 'addict' (authentic or generic) he surely now lives in fear of accidentally using a branded something because he might 'relapse.' Stripped of his Gucci mac (though not his Apple Mac, it's important branding for any soon to be published author, remember?), he will probably feel just as great a need to belong. Which is why it's a good thing he included a one-year get out clause on his devil doesn't wear Prada contract. If only we weaker addicts had such self control.

And for the latest labels we endorse:

Any brand located at Kingly Court, the buzzing shopping quarter off Carnaby Street, as tomorrow boasts its own one day fashion show with new collections from various independent boutiques. After dabbling in this decidedly cooler side to Fashion Week, head to Red for a cocktail. Because it isn't us that has something to prove when it comes to addictions.


Anonymous max said...

Come on Boorman. Burning your brands is child's play. And unoriginal. Why not go the whole hog and destroy all your possessions? Or is that a bit passe? I'd stick to arch Shoreditch navelgazing if I were you ... :)

5:36 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Worse than Boorman is that crap magazine he used to write for called guess what? You couldnt script this stuff - Sleaze.

I agree Max send him back to Shoreditch - but on a Vespa!

5:45 pm  
Anonymous Ted Hamming said...

yes this guy is a twat but i mean it cant be easy to say for one year i wont go to tesco to an odeon to anywhere because i have set myself up with this poncey challenge
what a total blonker
the only ones more sad are the suckers who buy this arses book

6:02 pm  
Blogger ems said...

Am I the only person who has never heard of him? What herd does that question put me in?

8:56 pm  
Anonymous Bill said...

Herad him on Radio 4 at the weekend
What a complete knob head
Sounds very Etonian though
Must be hard to throw away all that Hackett gear into a bonfire
I sympathise.....with the devil that is

10:20 pm  
Anonymous Delia said...

Alternate Possibilities for Neil Boorman's Debranding Project

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Anonymous Tanya said...

The whole thing is so utterly intellectually bankrupt that I hardly know where to begin. So I’ll begin here: What the blazes do you plan to wear and eat, Mr. Boorman? Will you hunt for your food and wear the skins of your prey? Because it seems to me that, brand or no brand, your presence on this planet implies consumption of resources. The fact that you and I and six billion other souls infest this benighted orb is the reason that we consume it and make such a mess. Avoiding labels isn’t going to change that.

10:49 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wasteful, pretentious, self-indulgent exercise in futility. Cynical, self-serving art wank. Sub-Nathan Barley toss. As pointless as someone taking a vow of silence, but first spending a couple of months publicising the fact that they have taken a vow of silence.

10:54 pm  
Anonymous Jan said...

I used to vaguely know this person. We went to the same A level college and he is part of an extended circle of the missus friends and acquaintances. I never liked him very much and this bias does, of course, come through in what I have to say. But trust me, he's an arse of the highest order. A real life Nathan Barley.

10:56 pm  
Blogger Shep said...

For something a little more interesting on labels/brands...read William Gibson's novel Pattern Recognition. The main female character, Cayce, is physically allergic to brand names.

It's a great book too. But then I would say that: I'm a bookseller...

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Anonymous Kim said...

Burn baby burn
So maybe it’s not really all that shocking, but still, it makes for good copy.
Nice one City Slicker
Let's just hope there aren’t any like minded folks out there who might, you know, jump on the anti-consumer product bandwagon—at least not until they wait to purchase Mr. Boorman’s own consumer good!!!

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