The Richard Branson Ice Cube: it is good to be Richard Branson
The other evening on the news, I heard that Virgin Atlantic has introduced (first class passengers only) ice cubes etched with the likeness of owner Richard Branson.
Now for all I know, Richard Branson is a totally unmitigated imperious and mean-spirited jerk, but for some reason I get the impression that he is an interesting, entertaining, and pleasantly good-humored type. Of course, you don’t get to be a world-famous business celebrity and billionaire by being laid-back and without being at least somewhat egotistical but, hell, most of the non-world famous, non-celebrity, non-billionaires I know are touched by a tad of egotism. And aren’t all that laid back, either.
Since I know next to nothing about Branson, I am no doubt basing my positive impression of him on my having seen him, twice, walking unaccompanied, on the streets of Boston during a visit he paid here a few years ago.
The first time I passed him, Branson was walking down Beacon Street while I was walking up.
When I saw him, my first thought was ‘that guy looks just like Richard Branson.’
We caught each other’s eyes, as passers-by often do, and smiled and nodded at each other.
Later that day, I read that he was in Boston – something to do with Virgin Atlantic opening up shop here – which led me to believe that the guy who looked just like Richard Branson did so for the spectacularly good reason that he was Richard Branson.
The next day I saw him walking along Charles Street.
And this time I thought, it is good to be Richard Branson.
Rich enough to go anywhere and do anywhere you please, but apparently not enough of a celeb that you can’t walk the streets without being hassled by a-holes – yo, Dickie, what up? – and without being accompanied by a posse of bodyguards. (Perhaps they were trailing him at a discreet distance.)
Because of my no-particular-reason-just-a-hunch good feelings about Richard Branson, I do not find the Richard Branson ice cubes at all objectionable or ridiculous or offensive or narcissistic. Which I would if they were being offered by, say, Donald Trump, at one of his spots.
I think they’re rather amusing.
'Now he is able to join our guests "in spirit" on one of the upper class cabin’s first flights as they raise a toast to their trip and the exciting times ahead.” (Source: Daily Mail.)
The Mail, which views the presence of Branson’s likeness in a drink as a “nightmare”, somewhat peckishly sniffed that the existence of the Branson ice cubes may be rendering coach class a better option, but I disagree. My only problem with them is that they’re not available to steerage flyers.
And for those who argue that the mega-wealthy are never job creators:
It took a team of four skilled designers six weeks to create the moulds for Dickie's cubes.
Meanwhile, I’ll have to get my resident frequent flyer expert get cracking and see whether any of our miles are good on Virgin Atlantic.
Here’s looking at you, kid.