Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Becoming reacquainted with the old ways

Twenty some years ago GQ magazine commissioned Peter Mayle to write a series of magazine articles on the spending habits of the rich. Each month a new installment would appear, and impressionable young men would argue over the relative merits of things they had no experience with, and would likely never encounter. Eventually the collected essays were gathered into book form and Acquired Tastes appeared.

In these troubled, but hopeful times it's good to become re-acquainted with the ways of the past, as they will guide the unwary away from reinventing many of the sins of the past.

The original essays, funded by GQ, were based upon the concept that the editors turned Peter out with enough money to scour the world, identify what things rich men were interested in, find out why they wanted it and report back on what it costs. The only thing that hasn't withstood the test of time are the valuations. Most things are more expensive today. The items selected have held up.

Bespoke clothing, adultery, lawyers, servants, caviar, second homes, private jets and more are covered.

I reread AT for about the 20th time over the weekend. Over the years I have had the opportunity to sample some of the wares suggested, and have been suitably warned off others because of Mr. Mayle. Give it a try. I think you'll like it. It may also save you from yourself.



Legallyblondemel said...

Oh, this sounds wonderful. I'm a Mayle fan, but am not familiar with this one. Will add it to my ever-expanding Alibris queue.

Rechelle said...

I was never able to 'get into' the 'Year in Provence' books - but this one sounds fun.

heavy tweed jacket said...

Great post. This is also on my bookshelf and gets read every year or two. Very funny stuff. His book "French Lessons" is probably my other favorite.