Some years in the future, when a historian is trawling through the ephemeral remains of our early 21st century civilisation, a copy of The Richmond Magazine will surely surface. Delivered door-to-door in the south-west London borough, the glossy publication provides a unique insight into the lives and preoccupations of Britain's wealthy, intellectual elite. Those of us a couple of rungs down the social pecking order, who through a quirk of global positioning are fortunate enough to live within the circulation zone, are merely able to bathe vicariously in the warm glow created by the mag's contents.
Take the December 2010 edition, for example. The offers available to local residents are really quite special. Bodyvie Clinics aren't content with serving champagne and mince pies to clients in the festive season. They also offer a free, 30-minute glycolic peel with all wrinkle reduction and dermal filler treatments.
Rejuvenated by the experience, readers might feel inclined to visit one of fashionable lingerie establishments advertised elsewhere the magazine. Whether it's Via of Teddington, Leia of The Quadrant (opposite Ted Baker) or Sheen Uncovered on the Upper Richmond Road, the ladies of the borough are clearly spoilt for choice. And they don't seem content with lunching as their primary form of entertainment.
A truly bizarre ad has been placed by a firm called Thames Orthodontics. Five women and a man grin toothily towards the camera and challenge us to identify the person among them who is wearing an invisible brace. It's no idle guessing game. If we correctly identify the braced member of staff, we're entitled to a 10% discount on an upper and lower invisible orthodontic treatment with lingual braces. (I'd long been considering orthodontic treatment of this type, but was saying to Mrs W that it was a little on the expensive side. In my heart of hearts, I knew a discount would be forthcoming and am glad that my patience has been vindicated. Unfortunately, I can't tell which of the people is wearing the brace, but feel that if I had the opportunity to slap them mildly a few times, it would quickly become apparent.)
And then, amid the other ads (private prep schools, £1.65m semi-detached houses in Kew, art galleries and period hardwood doors), there's some editorial content. A local divorce lawyer tells you that it may no longer be legal to do private detective work on your partner's finance. Another comments on the recent landmark ruling by the UK Supreme Court on pre-nups. The Bishop of Oxford, who has retired to Barnes, explains why he has started to learn the piano in his mid seventies. The editor, meanwhile, has handed over his 'blog' to a deer called Rudolphus Richmondicus, who pleads for readers to adopt him. Someone needs to tell the editor that a blog is something which appears on the web. I'm not quite sure what they should tell the deer.
I know I ought to be glad to live within shouting distance of this privileged world, but there's something about the magazine that makes me want to jump on the train at Richmond Station and head out towards Dalston. Your teeth can be rearranged in that part of London too, but it doesn't cost so much.