Thursday, September 14, 2006

I brand thee a twat

You may have seen a story in various sources about a chap called Neil Boorman, a club promoter, style magazine editor and fashion victim who has decided to burn every item of branded merchanise he owns in an exercise he has dubbed the Bonfire of the Brands. He plans to publicly set fire to almost everything he owns in an attempt to start his life over, free from the trappings of brand status and material covetousness, in a quest to find his "true self". Coincidentally, there is also a book of the same name coming out later this year, written by Mr Boorman, about the whole experience. Thus rendering the entire event meaningless and hollow. Or, as I remarked in the comments section of his piece on Comment Is Free:
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.
Disclosure: I used to vaguely know this person. We went to the same A level college and he is part of an extended circle of Lady Sane's 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.

I do have some grudging respect for him, however. He has come up with a stunt (albeit one almost identical to something that Michael Landy did about five years ago), and got a book deal and substantial media coverage for it in the process. What niggles with me is his straight-faced insistence that this is some sort of post-No Logo "statement", when it is clearly nothing more than a means to an end. If he really wanted to perform such a "cleansing" exercise, he would have gone about it quietly then got on with his life. Instead, he's going to try to launch a career off of it, cashing in on the exercise with a book that is, in itself, a brand. Meanwhile, the whole event is being managed by Idea Generation who are... wait for it... a PR company.

Along with many other commenters, I think it would be better to give the items away to charity as there are plenty of worthy recipients who desperately need clothing and couldn't care less if it has a label on it or not. But if he insists on the bonfire option, I'd personally recommend that, after putting everything in the fire, he has himself thrown on soon after. FCUKing idiot.

Bonfire of the Brands will be published in the autumn. I'm sure there will be plenty of copies available.

11 comments:

Rachie said...

Selfish arsehole. My first thought was 'why not give them to charity?' too.

Maybe if someone suggested that having a 'feel good' story for every item of clothing he gives away to a homeless person, and that documenting the subsequent reconstruction of his pathetic soul would sell more copies of the book that would make a difference.

Mind you, he's probably trying to save all those needy people from being tarnished by brand evil.

ph said...

I agree with everything you write, but it is sad to say it, but I am sure he will be much more of a 'success' than you or I. I am afraid style beats substance into a cocked-hat evey time, particularly in London. Is he not just the epitome of Cool Britannia, and to be feted by all.
As an aside, by eldest child does 'cooking' at school, which involves 3 lessons 'designing' a pizza and one lesson burning it.
Just teach the bugger to cook, its not difficult.

ph said...

Just as a matter of interest, when is something a brand and when is it not.
Unless you made it yourself it will have a label on, or maybe the label has to be emblazoned across the item.
Any ideas - anyone?

Citizen Sane said...

Rachie – Exactly. His response to the charity question has always been that giving them away wouldn’t change anything, whereas he wants to make a ‘statement’. (And manufacture a market for his book, natch.)

Ph – He’s been successful in my eyes in one respect: he’s already a contender for the coveted Liberal Elite Twat Of The Year Award, along with Ashley Cole and defending champion George Galloway. (Although Galloway will, of course, sweep the board again this year. And next. And the year after. In fact, every year between now and the end of time.)

As for the brand question… I suppose a ‘brand’ is marketed as a lifestyle statement, rather than simply a product. They consciously target their desired audience and appeal to their tastes, aspirations and prejudices. Product association and all that bollocks.

Devil's Advocate said...

I'm reminded of the line in 'Nostalgic Pushead' from the Manics' seminal 'Gold Against the Soul':

"Rebellion, it always sells at a profit".

DA

odog said...

Hell your right, if the guy really wanted to reject the brand thing he would have done it quietly and got on with his life.

The whole gripe I have with brands is that they are a means by which certain identities are sold. When you buy a pair of shoes, you arn't necessarily buying the material, rubber and stitches, you are buying for the image.

Now I don't exactly have a problem if someone whears this brand or that. Hell, some brands are good quality and sometimes its ok to be a bit vain, and make an image of how you like to be percieved, we all do it, even if you wear home-spun hemp trousers... but what I see dangerous is the nature by which we become mediocre by embarking down that path.

Wanna look tough? Wear Everlast.
Wanna be sophisticated? buy the new nokia. Wanna be radical? listen to the latest hit by whatever band.

And all of this in the saftey in your own home.

H said...

It's all been said. This guy is one big TWAT. (Although definitely not on the level of gorgeous George).

Anonymous said...

I wonder what he will rebrand his home and wardrobe with when he makes a few bundles on his book. What a cycnical, insincere, selfish chap he is. Anyone who wears a brand purely for the brand has acheived the ultimate brand......a CHAV.

James Lloyd said...

Didn't you used to work at Burberry?

Lady Sane said...

Mr Lloyd - leave Master Sane alone ;)
By the way, Neil Boorman is the ultimate chav. I distinctly remember him getting his mum to sew his puma trainers with Burberry tartan. That boy cannot deny his Sidcup roots!

Citizen Sane said...

Indeed, I worked at Burberry's of Regent Street over Christmas 1993 and briefly in the summer of 1994. For this reason I can speak as something of an authority on what a load of overpriced old tat such outlets sell. Oh, and it's all made at a warehouse in Hackney (at least, it was then). Aspirational.