Having worked in luxury all my adult life, I have developed myself a rather awkward personal taste for the humble, the once-in-fashion, the out of style, the wrong even.
I adore the pub with the appalling furnishing, the badly-lit restaurant with just a few items on the menu, a ballroom sanitized at the end of a party rather than all pampered before its start; I am in love with places resonating of different times, different people, and loathe the “Ibization” of private homes, the augmented living morgue in white concrete and glass, heaven for Caucasian third wives and large scale merchants.
I like chickens, and eggs. I could live just eating eggs and truffle actually, if that did not lead me to a heart attack.
Unpretentious design, few colours and a welcoming pile of newspapers comfort me. So does food with simple names, decent wine and music involving little singing. I am happy in a forest cabin, but I have visited and worked with some of the most magnificent properties available in Europe, possibly in the world: I still think one does not need all that space, all those toys, however I am obsessively attracted to the wonderful craft, to the patient planning, to the greatly performed design – and I am still myself in search of the perfect house, like, the Real Estate Holy Graal.
Luxury properties come with flaws, always, and so do we.
I often pick the restaurant with the worst reviews and make a habit of attending it for a while. Until one day they eventually do serve me well, they do cook something nice, and then I stick with that dish. I do not get offended by too much salt, or warm white wine in a Trattoria, however intrusive waiters in awarded eateries can really make me edgy. Service of quality is rare whereas pretentious and expensive is common, instead.
Everything that we buy has a hidden cost made of people’ dreams, efforts, mistakes, broken relationships and failed expectations. For this reason I do not buy more than four, five things a year and throw as many when the new ones come in: we only can carry few objects in our hands, we only can run fast with one bag a time and I think there must be a reason for that. I only change shoes when my actual pair is over, and do not possess more than two elegant garments: I would never want my things to survive me; I would hate the thought for eternity.
It takes me 24 minutes to drink one cup of anything, and for this reason I wake up quite early: I shall never rush that soothing time of the day I get to spend with caffeine and Facebook. I collect my thoughts during the night and wake up happy since a long time ago I have started working: I do not know what could happen to me if somebody stole my job (or the possibility to perform it). I do smoke the random cigarette; I do all those bad things that somehow I know will keep me happy for longer.
I love business for the sake of it, and the adrenaline kick I get by playing hard, so I rest harder and have wonderful, picturesque dreams that I generally can remember. I discuss them on the bus with my daughter when we go to school and she interprets them for me, somehow.
I walk at least four kilometres a day, so I travel light and always carry emergency items with me: I do not take life, being alive, for granted.
Human being attempt to immortality, our foolish effort in paving the road to eternity through fine things placed in regimental homes will fail always, yet some of us can’t resist: we want more, we want the unique, the unreachable for others.
So some people stand on the side of their own life, barking and banking, chained to some bespoke bric-a-brac they can’t get rid of for generations. For some of us the weight of all things hoarded is too much to bear.
They wanted to be set apart, so they did, and now look: they are all down together – reads the inevitable epitaph of each one of us.
We, the badly dressed with a backpack, the Calvinist workers, the anxious, attentive servants uncomfortable with too much spare time in our hands, enjoy the penumbra, the intimate conversation with friends we truly love, the authentic laughter of an all-night-long banter: I, we, live for times like these.
‘Almost time for bed, keep quiet’, I keep on repeating myself, as a soothing lullaby when constricted in the mundane event, in those places where everybody with a flute looks like everybody else with a flute. Give us a wine gotto instead, and a room to recover from the dancing floor, let us hide from the madness of a planned party, give us a fireplace, good whiskey and a cigarette, maybe a dog to pet, a silence which is never awkward.
I am quite common: it’s hundreds of thousands of us, all operating in the wealth ring, at the borders and for la crème de la crème. We are the artisans, those who do not remain for the party. Accuracy, insane work rhythms and obsession for details: this is the pond we swim in, with simple yet distinctive clothes.