Monday, 28 January 2008

Probably the most reassuringly expensive beer in the world

You know how it goes. Planning a bit of a big Friday night out, you prudently load your wallet with enough cash to get you through the evening, and a bit extra for the rest of the weekend. Stirring sluggishly on Saturday, you rifle through your pockets to find that some blaggard, as well as using the inside of your skull as a mosh-pit, has only gone and taken every last penny. You couldn't have spent that much, could you? Could you?

You could.

For your delectation, ladies and gentlemen, the world's most expensive beer - c.£200 per bottle. Does it taste that much better (even than ordinary Carlsberg)? No. How could it? The taste isn't the point. The beer isn't the point. The point is that people will see you buying it. They will see you walk into that bar and spend £200 on something that, let's face it, isn't what you'd call a long-term investment, and they'll think, "Gosh, isn't that cool? Isn't he cool? What a neat guy." That, at least is the theory:

The quasi-peaceable gentleman of leisure, then, not only consumes of the staff of life beyond the minimum required for subsistence and physical efficiency, but his consumption also undergoes a specialisation as regards the quality of the goods consumed. He consumes freely and of the best, in food, drink, narcotics, shelter, services, ornaments, apparel, weapons and accoutrements, amusements, amulets, and idols or divinities. In the process of gradual amelioration which takes place in the articles of his consumption, the motive principle and the proximate aim of innovation is no doubt the higher efficiency of the improved and more elaborate products for personal comfort and well-being. But that does not remain the sole purpose of their consumption. The canon of reputability is at hand and seizes upon such innovations as are, according to its standard, fit to survive. Since the consumption of these more excellent goods is an evidence of wealth, it becomes honorific; and conversely, the failure to consume in due quantity and quality becomes a mark of inferiority and demerit.
But for those you who are finding your native "Eat The Rich!" instincts inflamed by this sybaritic celebration of obscene wealth, let me urge you to counter anger with pity:
This cultivation of the aesthetic faculty requires time and application, and the demands made upon the gentleman in this direction therefore tend to change his life of leisure into a more or less arduous application to the business of learning how to live a life of ostensible leisure in a becoming way.
See, if you're doing it right, pissing money away is hard work.

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