If they didn’t exist, you’d have to make them up. Christian and Nick Candy are (according to their company website) “exclusive interior designers and property development managers”. Nick is married to Aussie soap actress Holly Valance and lives in London, while Christian and his wife live in Monaco. These two caused something of a flutter in the excitable press recently when they named their newborn twins Isabella Monaco Evanthia and Cayman Charles Wolf – after all, “Evanthia” went out with the ark, and “Wolf” is just plain mean.
But when they are not condemning their offspring to a lifetime of nomenclature ridicule, the Candy brothers are building some of the most expensive real estate in the world. Closest to me, should I be shopping for a little bolt-hole in the capital, is One Hyde Park. I’ve seen it from the saddle of a Boris bike so I know it’s swanky, but I recently came across an article that really blows the lid on central London life for the super-rich. Not for them the tedium of parking a limousine – no, there is a lift to take your car down into the car-park. All mail is x-rayed before being delivered. And the guards are trained by the Special Forces – a bit like Cato in a bowler hat, it would seem. According to an observer of the London scene, “the vibe is junior Arab dictator”. (I wonder why no-one ever asks for that style on “DIY SOS”?) And why am I so interested (apart from really, REALLY wanting a car lift)? Well, as the VF article puts it, “we can conclude at least two things with certainty about the tenants of One Hyde Park: they are extremely wealthy, and most of them don’t want you to know who they are and how they got their money”. And if I mention that the article’s author is Nicholas Shaxson (he of “Treasure Islands”), you will very much get the picture.
It’s a long article but worth the time, so grab yourself a coffee and a biscuit (something expensive and showy, to match the subject – perhaps a Florentine from Fortnum’s or a lavender tea biscuits from Harrods) and settle down for a good read.
As I had two pieces of pie during pottery class this morning, I skipped the luxury biscuits, and just took a cup of coffee (you can never have enough coffee :). I must say, the Candy story is quite amazing, having started with a $9300 loan only 18 years ago. But then I keep on wondering: All that extravagant display of wealth, is it really necessary? And when I read an article like this: http://on.rt.com/bi9u4m- “World’s 100 richest earned enough in 2012 to end global poverty 4 times over”, I know that something is seriously wrong in this world. Why are some people so greedy that they have to have more than they ever need, more than their children ever need, without wanting to share with the poor, improve life conditions of the very poorest? How cold hearted can one be?
You are preaching to the converted here! Sadly, the concept of “enough” or “sufficient” is missing from many people’s financial planning – and as always I hope that stories like this will enrage people enough to make sure that they ask the right questions of their clients (why this structure, why here, why now, where is the money from, who is the real beneficiary,etc.).
Best wishes from Susan