As a torrential downpour lashed against the knackered windows of my flat and I mopped up rainwater from the sill using a sodden tea towel, my friend Jenny looked up from her laptop and advised me of some breaking news: former Going Live presenter Emma Forbes was currently flaunting her curves on the beach in Barbados. The website offered an open invitation to debate this issue live on its message boards, but I had trouble forming a coherent opinion. It was the same with the Higgs-Boson particle. Besides, I had a tea towel to wring out.
It turns out that Emma has a website, forbesstyle.com, that repositions her as some kind of lifestyle guru. "Lifestyle" is a word that makes my eyeballs bleed, and "guru" doesn't do much to clean up the resultant mess, but I had a look anyway, because I'm intrepid. I have nothing against Emma – I mean, how could I, she's lovely – but I became intrigued by the level of self-belief that leads someone to uphold themselves as a model of modern living. After all, lifestyle gurus don't deliver much expertise; if anything, they offer gentle advice on how to derive marginal pleasure benefits from already pleasurable situations. "How to enjoy celebrating in style," read one strapline, as if our previously unguided attempts at stylish celebration had been fraught with stabbings, lawsuits and cholera.
I often feel I need guidance in life, help with alleviating the middle-class suffering associated with the ownership of food processors and holistic skincare products. But successful people with perfect smiles make me feel worse; I prefer to learn from the mistakes of those who repeatedly balls things up. The writer Willie Donaldson once said "You cannot live as I have lived and not end up like this," and his biography is a perfect warning from history as to why you shouldn't squander a fortune on cocaine and scavenge for food on beaches. If you're thinking, well, that's obvious, I feel the same about online advice concerning the contents of a goodbye giftbag.
Seriously, put whatever you like in there. It doesn't matter. It's a goodbye giftbag, not a British Army 24-hour operational ration pack. Having said all the above, if Emma Forbes can tell me why rainwater continues to pour through my seemingly impregnable double-glazed living room window, I take back all the above and apologise unreservedly.Reuse content