Australia’s economy according to a high class escort
Want to know whether we are plunging into a recession? Don't ask a banker, a high class escort will have the answers.
I was pruning my bush (not the bush you're thinking of) in my front garden the other day when my neighbour walked past. We had a nice chat about my bougainvillea before he asked his usual: "How's our economy looking Sam?"
Bob (let's call him Bob) is the CEO of a multinational company. I am in no doubt he hobnobs with some of the country's top bankers who give him a (biased) run down of the Aussie economy and where he should invest his money (anywhere where they can make money).
But Bob is a smart man. He knows what I do, he knows I travel the country spending hours in hotel rooms listening to the secrets of anyone from top lawyers to cashed up tradies … and aside from laughing at all my stories, he picks my brains.
In the seven years I've been a "femme de la nuit", I've seen cities boom and I've seen them slump. I know who can afford to see me, and who has to miss our appointment this time due to "things being a bit tight at the moment".
Glitzy Sydney has been all show and not much substance for the past 18 months at least. House prices are falling, everyone's in debt, high end escorts are quiet (yet massage parlours are booming).
The man who speeds around the suburbs (in traffic) in his Audi A8 is struggling with his repayments, let me assure you. Most of those (inherited) mansions on the harbour are in dire need of renovation but the banks aren't lending.
I went to one sprawling palace in Bellevue Hill and was shocked at how bare it was - his wife had left (and taken all the furniture) and he couldn't afford to buy anything new.
Don't cry into your almond milk decaf just yet - a shift is coming and business is picking up. Whether it's because ScoMo has been re-elected or it's safe to come out after the Royal Commission, who knows, but I am certainly not complaining.
Perth has been a constant for me. Out of all the cities I tour, Perth is the one growing consistently. The mining boom was before my time but I hear it's making a strong comeback. Old hotels have had fancy renovations and new five star hotels are popping up on every street corner.
I do wonder though, if Perth is full of sick people with bad teeth as my clients who have cash to burn are usually doctors or dentists. My phone rings off the hook in Perth and I've always said the WA men are true gents with nice shoes. Probably because they can afford them.
Dear Canberra. Not the most exciting place, the economy rarely changes. It dodges the slump of Sydney, yet doesn't reap any Perth-like booms.
There is a mini explosion in some suburbs; I do see new bars and restaurants popping up and the influx of bearded hipsters in certain new trendy parts. And my clients in Canberra are stable, nice and reliable - just like their home.
Brisbane is BOOMING! I used to think Brisbane was full of bogans. I was wrong. Brisbane is full of wealthy bogans. That man you see walking around in a Hawaiian shirt and boardies is probably worth more than you.
The CBD is buzzing, it's getting busier every time I visit, and I see more housewives in very expensive labels walking down James Street than I do in Mosman.
I picked up a shirt in a shop the other day in New Farm - $999. For a cotton shirt! I don't know who can afford to buy it but people in Brisbane obviously can. The clients don't flinch at my fees and there are some very flash new hotels in town. Thumbs up from me.
There are more cranes in Melbourne than there are shops in Chapel Street these days. Once the bustling shopping mecca, the shops of South Yarra have shut to become host to apartment blocks.
My question is, can anyone afford to live in them? Melbourne has taken a huge hit economy wise and business men are nervous and reluctant to spend. I've lost count the number of times one of my clients has warned me we are heading into a recession.
I hear come the end of the year, Melbourne will pick up again. Until then, belts are being tightened (instead of taken off …)
Samantha X is an escort, author, madam and columnist.