Books, life the universe

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Letting go of the Glitz

I cannot remember the last time a book made me as annoyed as Letting go of the Glitz by Julia Stephenson. Like many people, if they're honest, I'm only really interested in a greener way of living if it also benefits me. Like a good child of the 1950s I abhor waste and dislike the throwaway aspects of modern society so in that sense I am all in favour of a greener way of life. Recycled paper? - bring it on. Recycled glass? - yes I really like the look of chunky tableware made from the stuff.

But this book is too precious for words. This lady is a socialite who has jumped on the green band wagon because she suddenly realised too many possessions didn't buy her happiness. She is also very pro animal rights and almost advocates any sort of action to see animals are not ill treated including breaking and entering in order to get film of pigs in crates. I've got news for you - sows have to be put in crates when they've just had piglets otherwise they may squash them by rolling on them. It is done to protect the piglets.

According to her, medical research on monkeys does not work. The drug trial which nearly caused the death of several people at Northwick Park Hospital a while back proves this as the drug had been tested on monkeys. She conveniently forgets to report that it has since been found these people were given way in excess of the dosage they should have been given because of an administrative mistake. Good though carrots are for you - if you eat them to excess you will turn orange and may die.

She installs a wood burning stove in her flat as burning wood is carbon neutral. Maybe my scientific knowledge is at fault here but anything with carbon in is going to produce carbon dioxide when burnt - even humans who are carbon based life forms in the words of the best science fiction.

Yes there is food for thought in this book along with the absolute rubbish but it is so unlike how the majority live as to seem like living on another planet. She does not buy new clothes but she tries to get on with cycling and finds it too difficult in London. So she continues to travel around the capital in black cabs rather than on buses or the tube. She'd prefer it if cyclists could ride on pavements. Maybe she would but the pedestrians wouldn't. Housework - even with eco friendly cleaning materials - is so tiring and she usually leaves it to her cleaners - note the plural.

I cannot take seriously any self styled 'green goddess' who takes not one but two travel kettles with her when she stays away overnight so that she is sure to have the wherewithal to make her essential cup of Harrods Earl Grey Tea in the mornings. Or one who thinks that vaccinations in childhood trigger allergies in later life because they weaken people's immune systems. When she suddenly develops hay fever she must see the only specialist in the world who can rid her of it who happens to live in Switzerland.

This is life, Jim, but not as we know it.