Leather Binds

by Nick Foulkes

Why a calfskin loyalty card is the ultimate status symbol...

It is quite remarkable, the things that status attaches itself to. Like some mollusc clinging to the bottom of a boat, status is stubbornly adhesive, sticking to anything from one’s location vis-a-cis the catenary arch of a red velvet rope slung between a pair of gilt metal poles to letters placed after one’s name.

When examined philosophically, the vanity of status conferral becomes rapidly apparent. But happily I am not of a particularly philosophical turn of mind. I find that I am sufficiently slothful and disinclined to crawl out of bed on the best of days to need to be persuaded of the ultimate pointlessness of it all.

Which is why I was delighted one morning to wrest myself from the arms of Morpheus and stumble downstairs to find an envelope from Connolly on my doormat.

Connolly has slotted into modern Mayfair just fine and I find myself in there so often that I am concerned that I might have to start paying council tax in Westminster. In fact, it is quite dangerous - I only have to walk past and then, with very little recollection of the intervening 15 minutes, I find myself back on the pavement clutching a Connolly carrier bag, having bought an Arran sweater or a neckerchief designed to be tied over the mouth and nose when driving the open topped vintage racing car that I do not have.

I have now been rewarded with an exquisite calfskin Connolly loyalty card, blind embossed with my name and nothing else. What solace others may find in a black American express card, I have discovered in this beautifully finished rectangle of leather - I have propped it against my computer and look at it with pleasure.

It opens up a world that was more or less open to me before. There are a few perks: I can apparently arrange appointments, but the regular service is so excellent I have no need to book a meeting for which I would be late anyway. The card also allows me to request that the shop be opened for me after hours - perfect for the next time I wake at 2am in need of a shearling jacket before breakfast.

I will now be the envy of my friends when I pull out my credit cards and they glimpse this symbol of my status. My sole concern is that I have only the calfskin card. I worry that others may have a more convertible Connolly loyalty card in crocodile skin - but then I need some sort of goal in life, drag me out of bed each morning.