We are indebted to the calculations made by Sunday Telegraph society writer Ros Reines, who crunched the numbers on last week’s three-day celebration of trucking tycoon Lindsay Fox’s 70th birthday:

Thursday – Opera House, Concert Hall
Guests: 350. Estimated cost: $250,000

Friday – Lunch at Catalina, Rose Bay
Guests: 150. Estimated cost: $125,000

Saturday night – Black-tie party at $20 million mansion Boomerang
Guests: 300 (cautioned not to bring any gifts). Estimated cost: $750,000.

Another Sydney observer watched the entire affair askance. They told Crikey:

Trucking tycoon Lindsay Fox’s serial 70th birthday celebrations, involving three temples to Emerald City’s fondness for conspicuous consumption; the Opera House, the multiple-starred celebrity fave Park Hyatt and Boomerang, Fox’s waterfront palazzo, a bit of Beverly Hills transplanted to the shores of Elizabeth Bay, rivalled a Bollywood wedding, a mixture of ‘eat sh-t’ extravagance and vulgarity.

The gossip around town was about Lindsay’s public expenditure and private nickel and dime-ing. He is said to have personally screwed every supplier and even tried it on with the Opera House. Hearing that the House was about to launch a philanthropy campaign, he asked if instead of paying a hiring fee for the concert hall (rumoured to be around $60,000 for the night, including the cost of ripping out most of the seats in the stalls) he offered to make a ‘donation’ for the same amount. A donation of course is tax deductible. As F. Scott Fitzgerald observed, the rich are different from you and me.

Indeed, but while Lindsay Fox is popping $1.15 million (at least) for a party in his own honour, Bill Gates is putting $500 million into fighting Aids. If nothing else, our universe abounds in contrast. 

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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