Neil Boorman (3 stars)

Neil Boorman

Bonfire of the Brands (Canongate)


Your response to this book by London lifestyle journalist and publisher Neil Boorman is likely to correspond directly with your attachment to the very thing it challenges: brands, and the emotionally loaded consumerist machinery that sells them. For much of his life, Boorman was extremely attached to his labels -- addicted in fact -- until he suddenly realised how much his £20,000 collection of luxury goods actually owned him. So he publicly torched the lot, and vowed to live completely brand-free for six months.

This is his story, a frank, funny, diary account of the experience, stuffed with essay like deconstructions of cynical, surreptitious selling techniques, and the psychological and societal rot they cause. It could prove life-changing to those with an unhealthy predilection for the Guccis, YSLs and Nikes of this world. For the rest of us, while enlightening and well-intentioned, it’s dulled by ultimately being a bit difficult to relate to.

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