Wednesday, 25 January 2012


A recklessly extravagant friend of mine (now penniless and this is not a coincidence) loves Porsches. He used to own one. For me  Porsche embodies everthing that's boring and idiotic about modern llife. For him they represent an escape from his childhood on a council estate where his school dinners were paid for by the state. This is still is no excuse for materialism in my opinion.

He said in self-defence he doesn’t like the people who drive Porsche SUVs which he regards with the scorn of a belted marquess for a counterjumper. But it's not the owners I object to - it's the people who think Porsches are interesting that make me feel sad.

The only car that ever appealed to me for a moment was a Morris Minor. But walking is best and the metro or bus or taxi is much less bother than a car. And one does not have to park a bus or worry lest the metro is broken into. And in Bucharest a man who drives his own car must be insane – taxis are cheap and plentiful and the town is gridlocked and there is almost no parking.

I remember how I despised the boys in the playground when we were 5 who were fascinated by cars and motorbikes and swore I would never be like them - that is my tragedy. Dr Johnson said there was no joy so intense as a carriage ride at a gallop alongside a beautiful woman so it is all sexual. On the other hand Charles Lamb said only those who have gone mad know what true happiness means.

Still whizzing around London in Porsche  must have been fun if that is the kind of thing you like - I admit a set in Albany appeals to me if i really rack my brain to think of presents I would like (which I did as an exercise while reading The Four Hour Week – I found it very difficult. And a Saville Row suits too which I could afford but never get round to ordering. but I rarely buy myself presents although I was extravagant in Jermyn St in the pre- Christmas sales. A good club in London would also make me happy. My friend wants to be James Bond, I wanted to be Lord Macaulay.

I have always had  a horror of materialism but there are worse sins.

Herr Porsche said something good: When a problem has no solution it ceases to be a problem and becomes a fact.

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