The joyful art of materialsim

Taurus, in my opinion, has always been the true star on the zodiac chart. Not only are Barbra Streisand, Janet Jackson, Adele and Cher some of the greatest divas of all time, but also like me, they are members of the charging bull club. Us Taureans, who celebrate birthdays between 20th April and 20th May, are stubborn, practical and quick tempered. We can be doggedly determined and impatient but our ruler Venus blessed us with another dimension, one that is sensual and hedonistic as well as unashamedly materialistic. 

Not to be insensitive to our current times, but I have to tell you; I love nice things. In that sense, and in many others, I am a true Taurus. Mary Kondo doesn’t need to tell me twice that belongings should be practical or beautiful because that has always been my criteria. I love picking something out in a shop, bringing it home and then pulling off its tissue paper coating like a crazed and cake-fuelled eight year old at a birthday party. Acquiring beautiful things has been a beloved pastime of mine for the best part of 27, soon to be 28, years.

People’s eyes might be the windows into their souls, but the stuff they own blasts the door off their hidden identities.

This consuming passion for consumption doesn’t just stop with my belongings either. I like to see what things other people like too, reading an enormous amount into the possessions they own as an insight into their inner soul. If you’re wearing a beautiful piece of jewellery, or alternatively, carrying a hideous sack of a handbag, I’m going to judge you for it. People’s eyes might be the windows into their souls, but the stuff they own blasts the door off their hidden identities.

So as you can imagine, a birthday in lockdown poses a particularly cruel dilemma for the sign of the bull. Those born under it will have to be patient and wait for lockdown to lift before going on a birthday spree of unadulterated self indulgence. I have a rough idea of what mine would look like (sweep of the perfume room at Liberty, monetary assault on new season Cos, a visit to Wyvern Bindery for a bespoke diary with marbled endpapers – nothing specific) but for now I seek solace in the things I already own. The resulting joy has been surprisingly satisfying. 

The first object I must mention has become the centre of my work from home universe. It is an old bone china teapot, sprinkled with hand painted forget-me-nots, recently unearthed after a house move and featuring several immovable tea stains from a lifetime’s use. The tea, which it so reliably brews, pours perfectly from its curved spout. The golden nectar hits the milk smoothly so the two liquids blend to make the perfect shade of classic bisque. When it comes to tea, I like it skimmed alive, pouring a tsunami of milk, rather than a splash.

I could wax lyrical about the perfect cup of tea for hours, but the point is the teapot (and a magnificent one it is at that). I love how using it marks moments in my day in the way a clock simply cannot. At 7am, the fragrant steam from its spout is the most serene introduction to the day while at 4pm, as my body begins to flag, the act of filling the pot with boiling water is a revitalising ritual. In a world where time seems to have disintegrated, my teapot keeps me anchored to the day. 

It’s always useful to check in with the cosmos to see whether the boy you fancy will take you on a date post coronavirus.

When I am not drowning myself in Twinning’s Earl Grey, I am cultivating a new hobby, born from the theft of one of my sister’s favourite belongings, a pack of tarot cards. The illustrations on each one read like a foreign language to me but I am intoxicated nonetheless. Perhaps it is the way they slot together so satisfying when I shuffle them, or the way they aid an unconscious meditation. Spreading them out every few days and asking them a question feels powerful, like I am tapping into an unknown yet all seeing source. When things feel so out of control, it is a huge comfort to imagine that fate is simply playing out as the universe intended. Plus, it’s always useful to check in with the cosmos to see whether the boy you fancy will take you on a date post coronavirus.

Other objects warranting honorable mention are the 2002 edition of Trivial Pursuit that had all four members of my family hurling accusations of cheating across the kitchen table at one another last Saturday night, my mother’s pair of dilapidated clogs that I wear out in the garden that are worn perfectly to her tread yet also fit my feet exactly, a beautiful copy of The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov that is torturing my every reading moment and a lively money plant in my bedroom which I am nurturing back to health.

What all these objects have in common are their faded imperfection. They have lost their glossy newness (arguably the clogs never had that) but serve as empty vessels for the enjoyment and contentment they cultivate. Perhaps lockdown has cured me of my materialism. Or perhaps not. Either way, this article was a good way to remind you to buy me a birthday present.

Lauren Saving

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