Economists sometimes define hobbies as inefficient work. In other words, if you could pay someone to do your gardening and thereby gain time or money, that’s an efficiency. And if, in spite of the efficiency, you’d rather do it yourself, that’s a hobby. Aside from the fun or relaxation of doing something practical, there’s also the chance for insight.
Tell anyone from New York or Moscow that it was cold in Britain this year and you might get a pitying chuckle. But in a land without snow tyres or decent central heating, it was. At least, this is how I choose to explain my recent fascination with seriously heavy fabrics.
On the one hand, brands have existed for centuries as a kind of maker’s guarantee. Medieval English merchants would attach their names to bales of cloth, using their reputation to vouch for the consistency and honesty of the product. On the other hand, since the arrival of mass production, branding has been used to distinguish a manufacturer’s goods, elevate them, and insist on their exceptionality. Nowhere is this tension clearer than in the Domino’s Pizza branded Rolex Air King.