Saturday, 26 May 2012

Miracles, makeovers and mammon



It has not been possible to pass St Andrew’s Square the past week or so without noticing that it is to be transformed to a ‘spa in the city’, this weekend.  The large, pristine white tents dedicated to indulgence look a sharp contrast to the stalwart (if often absent) Occupy Edinburgh army who pitched up in the square through some of the worst of the winter weather.  
There will be, we are told a ‘vintage glamour’ theme, promising 1930s style makeover and retro hair styling (it seems unclear whether the style will be vintage or the hair—I keep thinking of scanty blue and lilac rinses with marcel waves and pin curls...).    One can’t help but wonder what St Andrew’s brother, St Peter—the apostle who believed it is ‘better to marry than to burn’—would have to say about this celebration of female pulchritude.  However, if ever there was a woman in need of a bit of pampering, it must have been Andrew and Peter’s mother.  Can you imagine—two saints in the family? She will have worked herself to the bone keeping those robes white and those halos polished.
 I obviously prefer St Andrew to St Paul--what woman wouldn’t? I am pretty sure St Andrew was a bit of a party-boy at heart: he was, after all, the one who suggested to  Jesus that he could feed 5,000 people with five loaves and the two fishes (I believe the organisers of the spa day are hoping to perform a similar miracle with cupcakes).   I suspect there were more than a few people who, looking back, rather wished Andrew had mentioned the thing with the water and the wine as well, but with miracles, as with so many other things in life, it is important to manage people’s expectations.  
I can’t help but wonder what the founders of all those Edinburgh Financial institutions that surround St Andrew’s Square make of this frivolous (and free) activity at the very heart of a place long dedicated to the multiplication of money.  Having said that, they might want to keep in mind that St Andrew is also the patron saint of Greece--surely enough to make a banker’s hair curl...without the assistance of the good ladies in the square. 

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