Saturday, June 19, 2010

an open letter to AMP Capital

Dear AMP Capital,

Saturday 19 June was the date of my first visit to The Palms Shopping Centre. I'd been drinking, but then who wouldn't be, on a day like that. Probably the warmest all winter. The nor'wester was blowing, and it'd left the sky banded grey, white and blue, like the tricolour flag of some imaginary skyward republic. For reasons I'd rather not get into, I had to ride the bus that day. At first, it wasn't so bad - there was a cute girl with pink hair and a nose ring, sitting across from me. Just as I'd reached the point in my daydream where I was taking her to Tahiti on our honeymoon, I realised she was listening to 'My Way', by Limp Bizkit. Really loudly. Keeping in mind that the date in question was 19 June 2010, you can probably see why this became an issue.

In any case, it was with a head swimming with imaginary sky flags, the unfulfilled romantic potential of pink haired nu-metal throwbacks and the yeasty, head spinning drunk that only comes along when, in a move combining innovation and self hatred, you mix homebrew beer with good Scotch whiskey, that I arrived at the Palms. All I wanted was some food, and I'd heard that this mall had everything! The predictions were true. I'm glad the place decided to cheap out on those blue-shirted people who clear away the discarded food, because those food court tables were like some kind of dream buffet. Rather than 80 days, it took me a mere 30 minutes to traverse practically the entire world, in culinary terms. The sauces! The spices! the things people are willing to spend money on and then cast aside. The food court seems to make a fitting metaphor for these modern times. I'm still trying to work out how my getting asked to leave by security fits into this metaphor, but I'm beginning to think the answer to this question is bigger than I will ever grasp, and will probably refer back with several layers of ontology and rely on a complex yet perfect syllogism. This is all besides the point, which is that I was kinda drunk, kinda full and kinda happy while getting escorted out of the Palms. The sorta gratification that usually only comes when tall buildings collapse on my birthday.

I was carrying this feeling when I noticed the many advertisements throughout the Palms for the Champion family, to which an AMP Capital logo was appended. I spent many minutes at the time wondering what the significance of this proud and upright family was. Do they list amongst their (no doubt limitless) achievements the ownership of an entire shopping mall? Are they the subject of an upcoming TV drama or reality series, in the course of which their perfect facade will be torn asunder by drug use and interracial romance? Without any further explanations offered, the possibilities swiftly approached the infinite. John Locke, in his c1690
Essay Concerning Human Understanding, perhaps best explains the resulting conclusion that maybe these advertisements meant nothing at all:

Men, extending their Enquiries beyond their Capacities, and letting their Thoughts wander into those depths where they can find no sure footing; tis no wonder, that they raise Questions and multiply Disputes, which never come to any clear Resolution, are proper to only continue to increase their Doubts, and to confirm them at last in a perfect Scepticism.

In the spirit of Mr Locke, it seemed only fair to attempt to cure my scepticism through the rigors of empirical investigation. The internet at the local public library informed me that the Champion family were the product of AMP Capital's new advertising campaign. I was left to figure out the rest for myself, when my internet money ran out. I finally decided that there were two phases to the advertising. The first was where each member of the Champion family represented a key mall demographic. These ads were practically shouting to the world: rich white people! we want you! Labradors! you may shop here! As time passed, I thought more and more about the second phase of the advertising.

I decided that, because no one in their right mind could honestly believe that a stack of pictures of some retardedly wholesome and obviously fake family would somehow make people want to go to their mall, rather than stab their eyes out with a rusty coathanger, there must be some other reason behind all of this. I have called this phase the aspirational phrase. I have taken some liberties here, but I hope you will not lump me in with the hollow-earthers and David Icke types. The most likely explanation, of course, is that the association of the Champion 'family' with the AMP Capital brand was an exercise in aspirational advertising, whereby I would see these advertisements and realise my tragic and general lack off success in life, compared to Mr. Champion. I would tie this castestrophic failure to my lack of ownership of AMP Capital bonds or shares or whatever sort of financial derivative it is that people even own these days. I would think this is the only reason I have no patrician-chinned and gracefully aging wife, no daughter to jealously protect while secretly scheming to 'have intercourse with' her best friend, no son to make feel terrible for missing that tackle. The only reason my posture has slackened and my hairline receded.

Well, you got me. It worked. Since those ads, I've been seconds from suicide. Only the thought of investing in AMP Capital and thereby remedying my life have kept me in the realm of the living. I'm sorry for the long-winded introduction, but I thought you should hear it, in order to pass along congratulations to your advertising staff. I guess that brings me to the point of this letter. I would like to somehow invest in AMP Capital! I have about $70 in cash on me right now. Will this be enough? If this isn't enough, I would be willing to trade the following intellectual property, in exchange for a piece of your fine organisation:

i) A collection of photographs of elderly people wearing matching tracksuits and hugging. This would be perfect for your next advertising campaign! Everyone knows a partner wearing the exact same clothes as you is the 'perfect family' of later life, in terms of aspiration marketing!

ii) A list of every single person I know who regularly shoplifts from your 'The Palms'. I realise that some people might see this as 'selling my friends out' or 'back-stabbing'. However, as I am about to enter the business world in any case, I figured, why not get a in a little 'screwing over the poor' practice before I receive my interest in AMP. I'm sure you guys understand!

Finally, in terms of the family, will I get to select them from a catalog? Or is it more of a lucky dip type arrangement? I understand the necessity of woollen jumpers in heading up such a family, but is this an absolute necessity? Wool has caused problems with my eczema in the past.

I look forward to hearing from you!
George F. Mill, Vagrant.

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