First, let me say this: I’m a simple guy with simple needs. Give me a kopi-o-kosong and I’ll be happy for a couple of hours. But when you’re an editor for a lifestyle magazine and get (mostly unsolicited) gifts thrown at you every now and then for whatever reason (mainly for publicity purposes), your vision of the world gets distorted a little bit. After all, a free cup of espresso from a newly opened boutique café is not quite the same as the 60 cents version that you actually have to pay for from a rundown local mama store, now is it?
And perhaps, if only for work’s sake, it’s good to indulge every once in a while, especially in things that you previously could not afford (we are supposed to try on everything for size before we actually write about them. It’s our journalistic duty). Free Feiyue shoes—check. Free concert tickets—check. Free drinks—check. Free Lobster Thermidor—check, check, check. So how do we repay all this fabulousness? We write about them (heard of a free lunch? No? Neither did we).
So bear with me as I divulge on my freewheeling freebie life over the past couple of weeks—the Simply Red Farewell The Final Tour concert on Sep 28 ($128) was great, although I wish Mick Hucknall would’ve salsa-ed a little bit more on stage when he was doing those groovy dance tracks; the next day was balanced out with the austerity of ex-Red House Painter member Mark Kozelek’s ($59) solo show where he plunged into his heart of darkness for a set of acoustic gems. I also remember the free flow of champagne and whisky (estimated cost $50 for the paltry amount that I drank) at the Ku Dé Ta launch; more whisky ($36) courtesy of the Velvet Underground team during Michael Mayer’s fantastic stint there, even more champagne ($50) at the Puma and Division gigs at Camp Pong; plus numerous other parties with free booze (oh yes, there was also the Posso one at The Rabbit Hole) and tasting sessions at countless restaurants, which probably amounts to a couple of hundred dollars more. See why I’m still in the job?
But there are invitations that I would definitely say no to (they’re simply too embarrassing for me to name or recall), and on the flipside, who wants freebies when you have cold hard cash? Oh wait, I almost forgot. I’m just a poor editorial person living the high life simply because the job calls for it. With that in mind, I will end yet another edition of my self-indulgent column with a line from Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins: “It’s not who you are underneath; it’s what you do that defines you.“ Perhaps life’s not that simple after all, huh?