Geneva is a quaint little town in Switzerland where everybody is rich, yet nobody is particularly famous, or glamorous, to put it in the words of Fergie (2007). As Fergie diagnoses correctly using herself as an example, the rich yearn for both screen-idol-like attention and for keep-it-real-and-down-to-earth-like affection that only the customers of fast food chains such as Taco Bell are able to supply:
There are three major industries in Geneva catering to the glamorous while receiving no glamour in return: The manufacturers of luxury goods may earn credit for their craftsmanship in form of vast amounts of money, yet all the glamour goes to the celebrities wearing the expensive watches and jewellery on red carpets amidst a flurry of flashbulbs, while the individual creators remain largely obscure. The bankers may only earn a small fraction of the taxes saved by their clients depositing their money in Switzerland, but since a large part of their job consists of keeping quiet about their sourcing and investing, not even the smallest fraction of glamour pertained by the unknown number of celebrities using their services is deposited with them. Finally, the international civil servants and NGO-staff may honestly be attempting to promote the betterment of humanity, while simultaneously allowing for a ludicrous betterment of their own Swiss bank accounts, yet even here, the glamour is licensed to celebrities visiting crisis areas of the world. This always results in scenic photographs of them looking concerned and wearing exotic attire in front of exotic backgrounds, with almost none of their glamour rubbing off on those working and living on-site, and absolutely no glamour rubbing off on the staff in Geneva organizing crisis interventions from the comfort of their lake view offices.
To make things worse, the City of Geneva prohibits the construction of high-risers – thus the rich can”t even buy themselves glamour by erecting prestigious buildings. This also means that the number of fancy architectural tourist attractions is somewhat limited, which is why tourists love huddling along a small strip of park squeezed between the heavily trafficked Quai Wilson road and the magnificent Lake of Geneva. Ever since the Beach Boys” 1964 “I get around” , we all know that the rich are quick at “getting bugged driving up and down the same old strip” (especially when the tourists prefer looking at the lake rather than admiring the cars), so they “gotta find a place where the kids are hip”:
The place that they”ve found is the “Wake Sport Centre” for wakeboarding and windsurfing on the exact opposite side of the lake – the Rive Gauche (ever since Yves Saint Laurent named his chain of boutiques after the left side of the river, the rich have severely been restricted in their options of suitable waterside locations) – for sure all the kids are hip there. The secluded site is hidden right next door to the pay-as-you-go Geneva Beach, where you also can buy swimsuits, in case you left yours at home – prices start at 100$ (or Swiss Francs, which is about the same).
For it is wakeboarding that is the sport of choice to reclaim glamour in Geneva. All you have to do is decide who gets to sip champagne on deck and who gets to be pulled on a snowboard by the motorboat and off you go. Where to? Well, of course straight back towards the Quai Wilson, where you now finally get the much-needed attention that you had been deprived of when cruising by in merely a car. While the champagne-sippers in front can finally feel like a celebrity in Cannes or Monaco, it is the wake-boarder in the back who can feel like they”re a true “Lord of the Board”, as in the 1997 Snowboard World Championship song by the world”s perhaps only “snowboard”-band, the Guano Apes (as of now, a “wakeboard”-band has yet to be formed). The song comprises a beautifully serene bridge followed by a slightly irritating chorus – maybe both parts are necessary to characterize board-related sports:
Thus, for the rich of today, bathing in attention has replaced Uncle Scrooge”s money swim in his money bin – but unfortunately their “attention swim” doesn”t look as picturesque as he does in the 1987 Duck Tales theme song:
Unlike Fergie, instead of going to Taco Bell after a stressful day of wake-boarding and attention-swimming, the glamorous of Geneva return to their resort where the kids are hip, far away from the huddled masses on the opposite side of the lake. There they trade the champagne and boat deck for cocktails and lounge chairs and chill out in front of the backdrop of a sunset over the lake.
Thus, the next time you”re about to roll your eyes in annoyance when a nerve-rackingly loud boat speeds by and the wake-boarder being dragged behind nearly splashes you with water while showing off one of his cooler moves, take a moment to reflect upon how hard life can be for those who have to live with too much money and too little glamour, and you”ll immediately be able to forgive them for everything. Also, it will allow you to concentrate on praying that more fast-food restaurants such as Taco Bell open up in Geneva, to where the rich would re-locate their showing-off-activities, freeing up water areas of the lake.
This week, don”t forget to Reclaim the Glamour!