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Bonfire of the Brands

Neil Boorman

Average Review Rating Average Rating 9/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : Canongate Books Ltd

Published : 2007

Copyright : Neil Boorman 2007

ISBN-10 : PB 1-84195-987-1
ISBN-13 : PB 978-1-84195-987-0

Publisher's Write-Up

"One day this year, I am going to gather every branded possession of mine into a warehouse, douse them with petrol and burn the lot. Jacobson chairs, Christian Dior shirts, a Louis Vuitton bag, even the fancy Liebherr fridge; I'm too frightened to calculate the financial cost of this action, but I know it's a lot. Far more unsettling than the money is the emotional cost I'm going to suffer. You see, it's not simply a pile of expensive clothes and accessories going on the bonfire, Neil Boorman is being destroyed too."

What do you do when you wake up and realise that your life has been an empty pursuit of the superficial and the trend-driven? That your identity and value systems are based upon a brand hierarchy of your own creation?
You take a stand. You burn them. Burn them all!

On 17th September 2006, in Finsbury Square, East London, Neil Boorman did just that. The ones that wouldn't burn, or that he couldn't burn, he destroyed with a sledgehammer. The event was the culmination of a long process of self-examination, and of the brand-dominated world in which we live, recorded in a popular and controversial blog online.

As a product of a generation that has been sold to since birth Neil examines the social, historical, economic and psychological ways in which brands have gripped our society, as well as documenting his personal trials and tribulations as he tries to live a life without brands.

How will he cope without a hit of his Crackberry?

Will he feel naked without his Nike, Gucci, and, of course, Marlboro?

How do you make our own toothpaste?

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Reader Reviews

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Review by Jessica (161207) Rating (9/10)

Review by Jessica
Rating 910
Neil Boorman is a writer, journalist and music producer. He has had many successes, one being the founder of the notorious fanzine Shoreditch Twat, which became an installation at a Gallery and a comedy show on Channel 4.

Neil launched his own magazine, Good for Nothing, and has also co-created the social stereotype column ‘Devil’s Dandruff’ in the Guardian.
He has worked with many brands such as Sony, Budweiser, Adidas and Diesel while also writing for the BBC News and newspapers such as The Times.

Do you rely on brands? Are your trainers Nike or Adidas? Is your new mobile the top of the range Blackberry? Is the label on your top a Ralph Lauren or a Lacoste? If you can tick any of these boxes then this is the book for you.

Neil Boorman is a man so consumed by branded goods, he simply no longer knows who he is. It seems wherever he goes, he just cannot escape the western culture that is brand advertising. On billboards, shop windows, magazines, TV and internet…is there no way away from this madness? It seems the only way to win is to give in and buy these goods…or is it?

Perhaps some of you have heard of Neil Boorman before since he was the man who appeared on BBC News 24 while the nation remained gripped and watched as Neil burnt all his branded goods. For those of you who didn’t catch this entertainment, you should still read Neil’s excellent, insightful book.

Since being a young age and teased in the playground by his “mates” who thought it was a joke that he was wearing non-branded trainers, Neil began to accept he had to blend in or stick out. Every shopping trip after that became a constant battle between Neil and his mother over which trainers, tops or jackets he would wear. Neil wanted brands - his mother thought the whole thing ridiculous. When Neil grew up, got a job and money coming in, no more did he have to worry about labels - he’d simply go out and buy whatever he wanted. Now Neil feels trapped by the life he has lived, everywhere he looks there are brands even down to the socks he wears and kitchen crockery. Something has to change, he has to change and the only way to do this is to destroy everything.

A fantastic book that really explores the in ands outs of brand advertising and the psychological effect it has on us. It should make some of us think twice the next time we find ourselves reaching for that designer handbag or those expensive trainers. This is also a hugely amusing, insightful book which gripped me from page one.
Jessica (16th December 2007)

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