*From: Society: Tattle (Reflections)
Vanitas vanitatum, et omnia vanitas
In the London free newspapers, between the news sections and the ever-expanding property pages advertising apartments in new-build developments, and houses – which in Zones 4 to 6 are as unfeasibly ugly now as when they were first built in the inter-war years – at prices beyond comprehension and the salaries of the commuters who pick up the papers at the mainline stations, there are sections devoted to the social whirl of the London life of ‘celebs’, unemployable aristos and mega-rich tycoons with questionable business credentials, as well as hanger’s on and those who are on their way down, or in limbo.
The reading public devour these pages. They want to be like those whose photos appear in the ‘diary’ pages, grinning, posing, preening. The fact is, if you’re not a member of one of London’s party sets, you’re no-one. Outside. You don’t exist. The wannabees want to be ‘In’.
London is a cocoon. It is a separate planet. It is an asteroid, and only a special pass can book someone a place on it, preferably a huge amount of wealth, whether from singing bland, studio-made album songs, or from the natural resources of one’s native country – thanks to family and political connections – or from selling toxic securitised debt.
Indeed, the less substance and the more show one has, the better; all the more reason to receive invitations to one vacuous bash after another. In other words, one’s worth is not only measured by virtue of one’s bank balance (offshore or not), but by how many parties one can attend and how many names one can drop. The old English aristocracy have been practising this for generations, though in their case it is to find a potential partner who is not too closely related to produce the next generation to whom they can pass the wealth gained from the received patronage and plunder of their ancestors.
For the rest of The London Rich (or who appear to be), they go to be seen. How fatality is to their self-esteem, or career, or social standing if they are not seen to be seen. The artisto-trustafarians join in this mêlée too. No indeed, if one is not ‘snapped’ and does not feature in the pages of any ‘diary’ page soon, it means social death. Invitations and being reported and accounted for and gossiped about appearing with so-and-so, at such-and-such a bash, are everything. Vanity Fair. Two hundred Years after Thackeray’s seminal novel, the same phenomena apply.
Who cares, but the vacuous, whether Inside or Outside?
The atmosphere on this strange celestial body must be fetid.