Guest Writings

Burning Sneakers


Burning Sneakers

On 26.08.06, 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; 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.

Until recently, I thought I knew who Neil Boorman was. I felt sure how the outside world regarded me because I had spent a fair amount of time engineering an image. I found the best way to understand and articulate ‘me’ was through the owning and displaying of things made by brands. They provided a source of comfort, a reassurance of my own self worth, they project my identity to others around me.

Frustratingly, this attempt at branded self-identity has been accompanied with a numbed sense of dissatisfaction. Attempting to cure myself, I have sought comfort and reassurance by buying yet more branded goods, treating myself ‘because I’m worth it’. I now understand that this behavior only made matters worse. For all the time and money I have devoted to collecting these brands, these symbols of self, I have absolutely no idea who I am. For every new material extension of my character, I become more distant from the person than I really am.

The reality however is only just becoming clear; with every new emblem of identity I add to my collection, I lose a piece of myself to the brands. They cannot reciprocate the love I give. They cannot transport me to the places I’m promised exist. I am not, nor will I ever be remotely similar to the people that appear in their ads. It is a lie, a lie I have believed in for too long.

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