5 Reasons NOT To Like Hard Rock Cafe
Hard Rock Café operates behind a persona of left-wing hippie values, festooning its walls with such slogans as 'save the planet', 'be kind' and 'love all, serve all' (of which, more later). And yet, the ethos of the place is quite the opposite: whether or not it started with the ideals of the sixties, it is self-evident now that it has become the sort of bloated corporate monster that was anathema to the counter-culture it claims to embody. Hard Rock Café is a paragon of the most American of values (ironic, since the first franchise was in London) - of beef, beer and capitalism.
One of the side-plots of the film Office Space concerned a waitress's frustration at the insistence of her pathetic boss that she wear at least eight pieces of 'flair' - badges and other items that ostensibly allow her to express her personality. The possibility that she might express herself through not wearing any adorning herself with knick-knacks like an overdressed Christmas tree is never considered. The whole idea is a transparently phoney, contrived and practised way of attempting to create style or atmosphere out of thin air - and yet it is an idea clearly used in Hard Rock Café. Shallow, pointless and as full of charm as a crushed coke can.
3. Exploitative Prices
i.e. 'We can charge more, so we will. Hey guys, isn't Hard Rock Café cool? Everyone loves Hard Rock Café! Would you like a cool Hard Rock Café sandwich for only ten quid? It's so much better than an ordinary sandwich because you eat it surrounded by old guitars and loud, bad music! Want a souvenir glass? How about a world-famous T-shirt? No?'
4. Exploitative Uniforms
I mean... waitresses dressed as nurses. Need I say more?
5. Sathya Sai Baba (a.k.a. Honest Sai, the Afro Slug-God - right)
'Love all, serve all' reads the cafe's motto - straight from the flabby mouth of the self-proclaimed prophet, miracle-worker and all-round god Sai Baba. Indeed, this humble cafe is actually driven by a spiritual message... but wait, Sai Baba might not be as genuine as he claims! Quite apart from a few sub-vaudevillian 'miracles', the like of which would embarrass a four-year old with Paul Daniels' My First Magic Set, there remains the minor detail of the odd... pederasty scandal. Does this worry Isaac Tigrett, one of the two co-founders of Hard Rock Café, a man who regularly contributes large sums of money to the charitable Sai fund? No, his faith is unshakeable:
Isaac Tigrett: [the father of one of the boys accusing Sai Baba of abuse] talked to me and I said; look, I'm sorry if this happened to your family, to your son, whatever, anyone would be sympathetic, anybody. I said; but it’s not changing my feelings about Sai Baba, it just isn’t.
Tanya Datta: But even if it was proven to you that Sai Baba was a paedophile and a serial sex abuser, you’re saying it wouldn’t change the fact that he is your guru.
I: Absolutely not. Absolutely not. He could go out and murder someone tomorrow, as I said, it’s not going to change my evolution, it’s not going to change the good things that have come out of my relationship down there.
T: Does that mean that some part of you believes there could be some truth to the rumours?
I: Oh, absolutely I believe there is truth to the rumours.
T: You believe there is truth to the rumours?
I: Sure, there probably is, probably is.
(From a BBC interview)
Yes. Anyway. Won't go there again. Apologies for the general tone of all this... I am regrettably afflicted with the cynicism of the very young and the very naïve.
Yep, our old buddy Sai Baba does tend to put a lot of people off their coffee these days...
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