"The wretchedness of being rich is that you have to live with rich people," said Logan Pearsall Smith nearly a century ago. "Eat with the rich," he added, "but go to play with the poor, who are capable of joy." Joylessness, of course, wrote Craig Brown in the Daily Mail, is not confined to the rich, though wealth makes it more likely. Take summer holidays. "If you are a billionaire, an unspoken rule seems to oblige you to buy a big yacht, then to moor it within shouting distance of other billionaires, many of them with even bigger yachts."
An example, though he may not yet be a billionaire, is Simon Cowell. According to Cowell's new biography, he charters, for £2m a month, a 193ft yacht with a crew of 14. He then sails it, says Brown, "to a stretch of sea in the Grenadines, which other moguls, every bit as gruesome Topshop's Philip Green, James Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch, David Geffen and Carphone Warehouse's Charlie Dunstone have already turned into a sort of nautical campsite".
It's an illustration, thinks Brown, of the way the rich take their pleasures: "nothing is beautiful or delightful if it is not expensive. Furthermore, everything that is expensive is therefore beautiful." This is why the rich like Damien Hirst, Monte Carlo and Rolex wristwatches. It follows, in Brown's theory, that billionaires would prefer tins of sardines to caviar if tins of sardines cost £750 each and a tin of caviar was only 75p.
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The more money you have, the more choice you have, but the less likely you are to get what you want. Small wonder, says Brown, that Cowell sold his vintage MG sports car after just one day, complaining it was "too draughty". Another example Brown cites is Katie Price and Peter Andre's wedding. Price says in the second volume of her autobiography that she wanted it to be "like opening a fairytale book" and so ordered a wildly expensive dress from Isabell Kristensen. "Every time I had a fitting," she writes, "I'd say that I wanted it bigger, that I wanted more glitz on it, more sparkle."
The three-metre-wide dress proved so heavy weighed down with all that material and thousands of hand-stitched Swarovski crystals that bending down to kiss her guests hurt her neck. Then the guests wouldn't leave when she wanted them to, forcing her to extend the party, which cost more money. Finally, her grandmother complained that she'd been given a bad seat. "Thanks a lot, Nan," replied Price. "Now you're ruining my day as well!"
I recognise the syndrome Brown describes, and Katie Price is a good example of it. Cowell is too, I suppose: he's a bit odd, though quite engaging in his way. Plenty of the super-rich are highly competitive or very spoilt, or both. But it's not true of all of them. There are plenty of rich people, in my experience, who are far more joyful than Logan Pearsall Smith, or indeed Craig Brown, might acknowledge.
Tabloid money "self-respect has a price Cowell can't afford"
"The end of the euro is nigh," says Trevor Kavanagh in The Sun. "And the end of the Tory-Lib Dem coalition cannot be far behind. The split will come not over spending cuts, which is the one thing that holds them together It will come because Nick Clegg rejects the now undeniable fact that bungling Brussels is throttling our economy."
Mr Clegg, an ex-MEP and former EU official, threatens "to walk out if Britain stands up for its national interest". He was "at it again" last week over Theresa May's plan to stop fugitives from the euro crash heading for Britain, dismissing the idea "out of hand". Europe "is the real coalition fault line" and always has been.
"As Europe collapses into chaos, writes Tony Parsons in the Daily Mirror, Nick Clegg says: We will have a whole range of nationalistic, extremist, xenophobic and populist movements increasing across Europe.' No need for the future tense, Nick. The nutters are here already. The Greek Parliament has recently sworn in 21 members of Golden Dawn, a neo-Nazi party that denies the Holocaust ever happened". In France, 20% of the vote went to "extremists from both mouth-foaming wings of the political spectrum... More than anyone, Nick, I blame the politicians who dismantled the old Europe and shoved the eurozone down our throats. I blame the smug, endlessly arrogant souls who came up with the European Monetary Union... And I blame the likes of you, Nick Clegg."
"A big pat on the back to Dannii Minogue who has turned down £1m to return to the X Factor," says Fiona McIntosh in the Sunday Mirror. "When Simon Cowell humiliated her in his tell-all biography, writing her off as a few bonks', did he honestly expect her to come running back into his arms? Note to Simon: self-respect does have a price and it's one even you can't afford."
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