Thursday, 4 May 2017

You Are What You Eat 10



Coffee shops, ranked by poshness:

Percy Ingle 
Greggs
Costa
Starbucks
Nero
Pret 
"Oh we've got this little independent place we go to."
(@JonnElledge)

Although, oddly, Upwards don't go to independent bakers...

Well, my 8am has been all about kicking a deflated football around a playground & trying to fight off a herring gull from my brioches. (@_katherine_may_ She can even name the species of gull.)
I'm not saying this campsite is middle class but some girls cycled by extolling the virtues of the 'duck vegan wrap' they had for lunch, the man in the next tent has a coffee grinder and one of the children, when asked during the Bushcraft session what food they are allergic to, replied 'Sushi'! (ABS)

The surgeon told me that there were three types of knife/finger accidents: the oyster-opening one, the avocado one, and the separating-two-frozen-burgers one. A paradigm of the British class system perhaps? (Letter to Guardian, April 2017)

Middle-class problems. You are at a friend’s and they grill some halloumi and offer you some. Do you accept politely and spoil your dinner? Are they going to produce more food later? Do they think a few pieces of grilled halloumi is an adequate dinner?

Middle-class problems. A friend invites you round, and says she’ll cook. (This is not “being invited to dinner”.) There are several other people there, and you drink wine and chat for hours, and then she cooks some noodles mixed with ONE cut-up fried courgette for the six of you. You get home at midnight and make cheese on toast.

Middle-class problems. You go to some evening “do”, like a talk or the opening of a picture show. There is wine, and trays of very superior nibbles, tasty but tiny and you only get a handful. Do you suggest to a friend that you go and get a pizza somewhere, or is this supposed to be dinner? If it is, can you grab a whole plate of chicken goujons?

Middle-class problems. The same thing happens at weddings: how do you make an adequate lunch out of tiny sandwiches and mini-quiches? Plus, you lose count of how many you’ve eaten. Is there or isn’t there going to be a sit-down meal at 3pm? On the way home, you eat walnut cake at a garden centre because you are starving.

Middle class problems. You go to a café with a lovely menu full of fashionable food and vegetarian options. But the shredded red cabbage comes in tiny chips, in a ramekin, without dressing, so there is nothing to stick it together. You try to eat it out of the ramekin, but it falls off the fork and you only get a few tiny fragments at a time. Do you tip out the ramekin onto your plate and ask for a spoon, or give up? There is some baby spinach and rocket as well – a few leaves to make the plate look covered, splashed with a very hot mustard dressing that you want to avoid. The pastry on the vegetarian dumplings is so hard you can’t cut it with the very blunt knife provided. It slips and the rocket goes everywhere. You try to eat a rocket leaf but it is too big and sticks out of your mouth, making you look like a manatee browsing on seaweed. You yearn for the days of risotto or chicken supreme, where you got a bowlful of small bits of stuff in mush. You didn’t have to cut anything up, it all stuck together, and every mouthful was the same. And it was pale beige. And FILLING.

Middle class problems. You go out to a posh restaurant where every course is “plated” – a tiny stack of stuff amid smears and blobs of sauce. As soon as you try to eat any of it, it falls apart. It amounts to about three mouthfuls and there’s no way of scooping up any of the sauce. The other diners don’t mind because they eat biscuits and cake all day and are never hungry. Dining at expensive restaurants is just a performance.

When I went to university I was surprised to find that the canteen served “tea”, ie supper, from 5, and shut at 7. I went a few times on my own (I like stodge followed by trifle), but girls didn’t go – it was all groups of boys. When – and what – did the girls eat? We had kitchens, but I never saw anybody cooking in one. I moved in the second term to some converted US airforce barracks and had the communal kitchen to myself. The canteen was working class (though I met friends for lunch there), and there were a couple of middle-class coffee shops – literally on a higher level. I think people sold sandwiches in the student union, and there was a supermarket. And when the very classy Sainsbury Centre opened we Art History students ate lunch there in the lovely restaurant nearly every day. You could get a cheap cheese roll at the Chaplaincy, and there was a burger bar on an even lower level than the canteen. We got a free (fried) breakfast at our converted airfield but again – girls didn’t go, and eventually I got the message. There was a bar at the airfield too, but I never went there either.

From Facebook: Whenever I use the automatic checkout machines and walk away I feel guilty as if I haven't actually paid... (Combines Upward love of needless guilt with Upward obsession about purchasing behaviour. See the Upward who feels guilty saying “Nothing to declare” when he has nothing to declare.)

More here, and links to the rest.

What to Wear 6

Airport chic
Class is dead, long live class.

The Times (March 16 2017) says that being thrown off a plane for wearing leggings all depends on the class of the wearer. The piece unveils a world of brand names, over-priced athleisure and being “upgraded to business class”. “We dressed for the seats we wanted – smart, unfaded jeans, with a plain but reasonably expensive T shirt, blazer and pair of Gucci loafers. I was convinced the loafers would swing it.”
It’s clear that "cattle class" exists to make business class seem more desirable. “Airport chic – there is no dress code less clear... Context is everything – and that context is usually the class of the person wearing the clothes.”

Apparently Claridges forbids ripped jeans in its restaurant – unless you’re a fashion editor. And you can dress like an Essex boy on a flight as long as you’re a “millionaire model”. WAGs and models wear athleisure to travel but every item is a brand and their yoga pants cost £300. They are “all too easily confused with the underclass” but thanks to their height and slimness “this rarely happens”.
Those who normally fly business class for work wear “skinny jeans, blazer or leather jacket and big scarf”. Who knew travel was so complicated and exhausting?

Of course hipster fashion is “American blue-collar chic”, in the same way that hippies dressed up as pioneers and Native Americans. (American blue-collar chic really is chic, though, in that US “if it ain’t broke” way.) My smart designer denim jeans are based on the work clothes of an American miner in the Gold Rush, and are worn with a striped T shirt that references sailors’ garb of the same period. My woollen “cardigan jacket” was designed for sporty lady golfers of the 1900s. A very expensive dress in fake patchwork is even more decadent.

In the 70s, lower middle-class Teales did not wear pink, they wore brown and blue. They were very shocked when I turned up at university with short black punk hair, and pink-framed sunglasses.

It was quite a milestone when people of my generation started wearing suits. But it seemed like selling out. We thought we’d be wearing purple velvet loons for ever.

Posh Caro and Samantha are secretly rather pleased that the UKIP spokeswoman is wearing a purple acetate blouse. It just shows, doesn’t it?

The conservative clothes of those papist families who seem to conflate Catholicism with corduroy trousers. (Catherine Nixey, Times Feb 2017)

Most parents had to make do with generic kids clothing from the high street until... (The Times being staggeringly snobbish in July 2016.)


Friday, 14 April 2017

Yet More Decor Crimes



From the Times, April 2017

If you want to sell your house, avoid:

Off-white kitchens
Unusual layouts
An extension that’s bigger than the garden. (Don’t overextend.)

Pebbledash, Artex and the usual avocado bathroom suites (Though pebbledash may be right for your 30s villa.)

Purple, pelmets and patterns. (Avoid that 80s “window treatment”, this is “the age of plantation blinds”. And “chintz-patterned wallpaper... divides tastes.”)

Fountains, dark paint, garish carpets. (Says an architect.)

“Stark modern interiors... have a short shelf life and will look outdated in a couple of years.” (Says an estate agent.)
“Overly vibrant décor and sitting rooms that contain a supersized bed (an arrangement considered weird for all sorts of reasons.)” (The Times’s Anne Ashworth)

Also per the Times, these have had their day:
Venetian mirrors (with an ornate surround also made of mirror)
Cowhides or sheepskins draped on furniture (Leave them on the floor. Or out by the bins.)
Fake Eames (the plywood furniture designed by Ray and Charles Eames in the 50s)
Flos (Furniture and lighting with a retro look. Attractive but costly.)

Black and white tiles (“We all went mad for them when there was a bit of a buzz around the Standard Hotel in New York.” Oh, didn’t we? But now apparently they make you feel you’re living in your bathroom.)

Tin (and copper) pendant lamps
Zinc worktops
Roll-top bath
Painted tongue-and-groove walls
Kilims
Sisal carpeting (stick to rugs)
Velvet mustard sofa
Giant clock in the kitchen (“Just too gastropub to be safe any more.”)


MORE CRIMES

Yarn bombing. (
Sorry, but it’s twee.)

Annie Sloan chalk paint for that “distressed” look – created 26 years ago.

Transform your old chest of drawers with colourful ceramic knobs!

Pampas grass is 70s naff. (Carol Midgley)

Nesting tables (but they might be useful).
Paintings of roistering cardinals
Suspended ceilings

Doing up a genuine a Tudor house/restaurant/pub with artex, fake beams, fake candle wall sconces, Flintstones fireplaces and Jacobethan furniture.

Beaten copper hood over a gas fire (relic of arts and crafts copper hood over open fire)

Standard off-the-shelf Regency fire surround in a Victorian or modernist house.

Victorian décor crime: vast black and purple marble fire surround like a baroque altar in a room much too small for it. These survive, while elaborate Edwardian overmantels don’t.

Cutting the legs off a kitchen table to make a coffee table (and manufacturing coffee tables that look like kitchen tables with the legs cut off)

Getting that expensive hotel look in your home is easier than you think. (@sainsburys)

Bedrooms where seduction is catered for with swagged curtains and dry-clean-only sheets, bathrooms with shelves weighed down by vanilla tea lights. (Eva Wiseman)

Revamped Victorian warehouses given mirrored plate-glass windows in blue or brown (70s, 80s)

Buildings with exoskeletons

It’s kind of decorative in a ghastly kind of way. (David Dickinson on a brass clock and barometer moulded with baroque curlicues and flowers, painted and sprayed gold)

living statues dressed as Yoda
upcycling


GARDEN CRIMES
“Membrane”
over your front garden (sheet of plastic), covered with gravel that never stays put. Attempt at a Derek Jarman Dungeness desert garden in a tiny front plot in Chiswick.

Giant tree sculptures made with a chainsaw, life-size animals sculpted out of chickenwire

Over-restoration of faded ghost signs.

More here, and links to the rest.

You are What You Eat 9


I went into all the businesses on Green Street High Street to ask whether my mobile had been handed in, e.g. beauty parlours, florists etc.  Everyone v nice and concerned and chatty with exception of a man in the angling shop. Best place was beauty parlour where two glamorous old bats were having hairdos and facials and there was a white poodle reclining on a couch.
 (JL)

Did you push a shopper to the floor this morning to snatch a cut-price TV from their grasp? (Times)

The border between the north and south should be drawn at the point where you ask for a cup of tea and they respond: "What sort of tea?" (@carey_davies)

If Samantha Upward lived in Green Street Green, she would be unable to go into the beauty parlour, florist or angling shop. She prefers to whinge about Black Friday – it’s an American import. It’s “folks beating each other up for a cheap telly”. Upwards used to make the same fuss about post-Christmas sales (folks camping out outside the store the night before, then scrum as the doors open), but somehow this isn't "prejudice", which they are always careful to condemn. Sam suggests a “no-buy Friday”, but explains that it wouldn’t mean not buying anything, just “not buying in a media-induced frenzy”.

According to Eileen Weybridge, Waitrose is preferable because although it’s a supermarket, you are less likely to bump into “single mothers with large numbers of children with different fathers” and there are “fewer people on obviously bad diets”.

Some idiot in the Cotswolds complains that in his local Tescos “two whole aisles are devoted to Polish food!” Pictures or an address never surfaced. He probably takes home baguettes and pasta every week, cooks boeuf Bourgignon and drinks Chablis. Upwards think European peasant food (polenta) is fearfully chic. But Polish food? Tripe soup? Pickled gherkhins? Sauerkraut? And they don’t like the Polish writing on the side. Weybridges can gain points by knowing how to say Soave, tagliatelli etc, but they have no idea how to pronounce Grochówka, and can’t brag about having eaten flaczki in this charming little café on holiday, because people like us don't go on holiday to Poland. And it’s the wrong kind of peasant food: everything in tins, packets and jars and smoked or pickled because it assumes you don’t have a fridge. Rowena Upward gives Polish dinner parties, with rye bread and pork sausages, and her friends are shocked to the core. Next week it’s Swiss/Alsace cookery with rösti and spätzle. This summer she’s going on a tour of Hungarian spas.

A BBC girl just talked about the Queen “participating in the Christmas meal”. Upwards and Stow-Crats shudder.

Upwards women never seem to be hungry at "proper meals" (lunch and dinner), when they eat protein and veg in shades of green, orange and purple, and go on about "anthocyanins", "clean eating" and the "paleo diet". This is because they eat porridge for breakfast, biscuits all morning, biscuits all afternoon, and cake and scones at 4.

In the 70s there was huge snobbery over curry powder. You were supposed to buy all the spices separately, know how to pronounce them, and fry them yourself a la Madhur Jaffrey. How many of us actually did this? Curry powder has been available in England since 1784. Cue anecdote about visiting Indian bishop: “I hope you like the curry, Your Excellency?” “Oh, is it curry?”

Upwards can’t go to a “carvery”, or even a pub, so they moan you can’t get decent English food in restaurants. Some Upward parents think children should be taught to shoot squirrels and pigeons, skin, gut, cook and eat them because “our cotton-wool culture has got out of control”.

More here, and links to the rest.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Stay Classy

Baguettes, not regrets!
Top Tip: Pretend to be incredibly posh by professing a lack of knowledge about the most commonplace items. (Andrew Male ‏@Andr6wMale)

Some incomers slag off us Brits for having a class system, some like to point it out in case we hadn’t noticed it was there, others come here precisely because we still have an aristocracy - because they want to join it. They used to settle near Brompton Oratory and shop at the best emporia (Peter Jones, Harrods, Fortnums, the Tao Clinic).

One thing everybody agrees on – the English class system is different now. It’s based on money, not blue blood, says Professor Mike Savage in Social Class in the 21st Century. He shows – with graphs – that those from a “posh” background earn several thousands more a year. He quotes interviewees verbatim: those who claim not to be snobs are the funniest. If comfortably off, they put it down to their thrifty lifestyles, not their inherited wealth or high-paying jobs. “The point here is that class today stems not only from economic capital but also from social and cultural factors, ” says the Times review. Just like the history of Britain for the past 500 years.

And perhaps when people say “there’s no class system any more”, they mean “It’s not like Downton Abbey, with Lords and servants”. No, it’s about very thin layers of the middle classes despising the people in the next layer for eating the wrong food, or having the wrong kind of curtains, or speaking slang, or picking up Americanisms, or misusing the checkout divider, or being ignorant about apostrophes. And it always was.

The media is mainly staffed by the middle classes because these days the entry point is university/unpaid internships. They know they’re not supposed to be prejudiced, but somehow snobbery isn’t “prejudice”.

Tatler is doing “the new snobbery” again, Dec 2016. It always has to be “new” because we have to pretend the “old snobbery” has gone away. Nancy Mitford’s U and Non-U (1954) is a bit out of date, they say. No more sneering about “piercings, carnations, paper napkins, the words “mirror” and “liquid soap”. But the following are still beyond the pale: visible bra straps, coloured toilet paper, vulgar celebrities, fake Christmas trees, people who don’t have books, red cars, baby showers, talking about money, “lounge” for sitting room, clinking glasses and saying “cheers!”. Telegraph agony aunt Mary Killen says that “anyone who puts a glass down without a coaster gives away that they did not grow up in a house with polished furniture.” Mary, it’s more complicated than that. You can’t put down a glass or mug on a polished table, but coasters are irredeemably naff. Caro Stow Crat leaves magazines around so that guests have something to put their glasses down on. In earlier times, polished tables were protected by cloths, mats and runners – perhaps we should revive these?

The Duchess of Devonshire "understood what artists were trying to say...and had these wonderful people from all backgrounds come to stay [at Chatsworth]." (Historian Maxwell Craven)

Rachel Johnson, sister of Boris and editor of the Lady magazine, wrote about the new snobbery in Times (2016-02-17)

According to her, the new status symbols are:
Five children, to whom you give very plain names like “Johnny” and send to state schools (avoiding “Eton disorder”).
Holidays at your second home in the UK, or the country homes of your family and friends (not crowded, expensive “abroad”).

A dark blue and grey colour scheme for your home (stone is so ovah).

A Land Rover Defender (discontinued so now hard to get and exclusive).
A lab-collie cross (a “working dog” – a Lollie?).
Impromptu suppers with friends (not competitive birthday parties in castles or on Greek islands).

You should always look as if you have just come from a Pilates class in a plain but top-quality T shirt and skinny jeans.

And eat carbs – we’ve reached “peak kale”.

An Aga – even in “hunting green” like the Duchess of Devonshire. “She had a penchant for kitsch – it is important to have ugly and funny things, otherwise it looks as if you’ve got what John Betjeman called ‘ghastly good taste’.” (You can feel Rachel cringing in the duchess’s kitchen, desperately trying to think up an excuse for the titled lady’s “bad taste” green Aga. According to Jilly Cooper, the aristocracy can do whatever they like – even hang a deodoriser block in the loo that turns the water bright blue. Agas are supposed to be cream, but the Duchess probably got her Aga in the 80s when navy and red were also available. Real aristocrats don’t update their décor, either.)



It’s OK, apparently, to make ill-informed and unfunny jibes at the middle classes. The recent March for Europe was allegedly full of people called Tarquinius and Fiona, and Waitrose was empty. Admittedly, someone was wielding a placard written in Latin. And a man in a white ponytail carried a poster that read METROPOLITAN CROISSANT-EATER. And you can always accuse Upwards of latte-sipping and quinoa-munching, especially if they're socialists. You'd think people would have got over middle-class socialists by now – we've been around since the 19th century at least. But OK, be like that then. We won’t turn up next time.

The Adam Smith Institute has commissioned a report proving that well-off activists are just “virtue signalling”, so there's nothing to worry about. Exec director Sam Bowman says: "New aristocrats prefer to show off their privilege with hard-to-get retro clothes and objects, studying obscure subjects at university or even taking loud, outrage-driven political positions, or making conspicuous donations to sometimes wasteful charities... undertaking costly actions to demonstrate they are not complicit in the globalised, liberalised, capitalist order of the 21st century, even though they are the very elite of that order.” Not that he’s biased at all, you understand. That’s just inconspicuous consumption, though in the 80s I did wonder why all the anti-capitalist lefties had mortgages and pension schemes... But when they said “capitalism”, they may have just meant “you know, nasty stuff”. (And that’s where all the broadsheets and Tweeters got the “virtue signalling” stuff from.)

Michael Gove recommends dropping Art History A Level, and some say that’s OK because “It’s just for posh white girls anyway”. Just insert any other group – it’s OK to drop geology because “It’s just for nerds”, or dance because “It's just for short people”, or...

It's tough being an Upward. There’s always something we’ve got to feel guilty about: eating too much, not recycling enough, not having the right attitude to whatever’s happening today, not having tasteful enough Christmas decorations, not being hip or cool enough, not excluding enough foods from our children’s diet. Why is it never “drinking too much", or "being sarcastic"?

Every year during the traditional Great Poppy Debate, Upwards tie themselves in knots trying to find their own unique reasons for either wearing or not wearing. What if the presence or absence of a poppy signals a reason somebody else has bagged already?

Garrison Keillor sums us up: "We liberal elitists are now completely in the clear. The government is in Republican hands. Let them deal with him. Democrats can spend four years raising heirloom tomatoes, meditating, reading Jane Austen, traveling around the country, tasting artisan beers, and let the Republicans build the wall and carry on the trade war with China and deport the undocumented and deal with opioids, and we Democrats can go for a long, brisk walk and smell the roses."


Don't let the side downI got shouted at by a phlebotomist for putting my stuff on the floor (tidy Teales hang everything up). And I was gently and politely eased out of the Pringle sweater shop (jeans, anorak, school lanyard, Labour sticker – obviously couldn’t afford the clothes they were selling). I hear the same thing happens in car dealerships. And schoolchildren are banned from the Leisure Centre café. But, as a friend points out, Web sites have no choice but to be egalitarian.

We don't want to be "those whom to know is to be unknown", quipped Anne Shirley (of Green Gables). When I was younger, friends were always giving me recipe books. They wanted me to break my journey home and go to a “good” fishmonger. I had to eat adult food, the kind you would cook for a dinner party, or the kind you would cook for a partner, even though I’m just me and I can live on chips, takeaways and Tesco’s microwaveable meals if I like. But there I go, letting the class side down! I have to eat middle-class food even when I’m on my own and nobody can see me. (I could have lied – perhaps they expected me to!) They also used to bully me to give dinner parties – was this so that they could make sure I knew how to cook proper food, even if it was only spag bol?

See also “How can you live in London, Oxford Street is so ghastly?” When pushed, they explain that they mean “crowded”. But it’s a shopping street, of course it’s crowded. Of course what they really mean is “crowded with the wrong kind of people”. I ought to know that we have to keep the plebs (literally) at arm’s length, and we mustn’t go to places where they go, where we might even have to touch them in a crowd! How can they know someone who thinks there’s nothing wrong with Oxford Street and even does her shopping there?

Class is dead, long live class.

More here, and links to the rest.



Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Choose Your Words Carefully 6

Do pop round for supper!

I was advised to get elocution lessons to erase Scouse accent, by woman examiner from Chorleh (Chorley). (Via Twitter)

English people respond well to Scottish and Irish regional accents because the speaker’s social class is not immediately clear, according to Kirsty Young. “To an Irish or Scottish person, that voice has class and they can place it, but to most English people they can’t place an Irish or Scottish accent in class terms.
(Daily Mail, 2016)

Remember, if you don't 'speak like you're from a council estate', where you're from is instantly negated. (@owenhatherley)

The success of the Mrs Merton show was partly attributed to the "round vowel sounds of the North West accent" which "naturally sound safe and unthreatening". (Wikipedia Accents you don’t like are “flat”, vowel sounds you like are “round”.)

I concede that the 'Cardie' pronunciation is looked down upon by 'proper' Welsh speakers but it's still genuinely the way a large number of Welsh speakers actually speak, and I have great battles with locals to get them to stop apologizing for not speaking 'proper' Welsh. (MT)

What happens if you live and work abroad, pick up the local accent, and then go home again? “People often don’t react well when someone comes back with an accent, like they’re putting on airs or trying to be somebody else,” says Jennifer Nycz, a specialist in sociolinguists and phonetic and phonological variation at Georgetown... US newscasters are trained to change some of the most telling regionalisms in their accents. (Atlas Obscura)

Her accent – the sort of upper-class boom made to carry across a crowded paddock – did Linda Kitson no good at all [at art school]. (“Very unfashionable to have an aristocratic accent.”) Times Mar 2017

Tatler March 2017 lists the 10 poshest words:
“Jolly” for “very”, as in “jolly good”
“Devoted to” for “fond of”.
“Blotto” for “drunk”.

Someone’s behaviour may be “poor form”. (Or “bad form”.)
Nasty things are “beastly”.
Nobody is “ill”, they are “seedy”.
“He was in a terrible bate.” (Translation: He was in a filthy temper.)

“She’s an absolute brick!” (Translation: You can always depend on her, she’s a foul-weather friend.)

“That leaves me in a bit of a bind.” (Translation: Your plan will land me in an awkward predicament, trying to work out complicated transport arrangements, or finding myself incapable of being fair to everybody.)

And finally “sups”, for an informal evening meal. (There was a lot of fuss when the Camerons talked about “kitchen suppers” a few years ago, implying that for them “dinner” is a formal meal eaten in a dining room. “Sups”, like “bate” and “jolly good”, sounds left over from school.)

The Times’s Robert Crampton tries a parody: “I say, Rupert old boy, would you pass the pearl-handled revolver, leave me to do the decent thing, what what, there’s a good chap.” (Pearl-handled firearms are for girls, and nobody has said “what what” since King George III.”)

“It’s posh rather than RP and yet people have to sympathise with her,” said Andrew Marr on the voice actor Claire Foy used for the Queen.
 

“It’s modulated, we’re halfway. We never wanted it to be a caricature or an impression.” Claire Foy comes out with the usual cliché for actors portraying a well-known public figure, and explains why actually, no, she didn’t do the Queen’s voice. Nobody mentions that everybody spoke differently in the 50s (see old newsreels).

But passing as posh may be more about avoiding certain words. Upwards never use “bulk” to mean “most” or “a lot” (the bulk of). Especially not pronounced “bolk”. And they don’t pronounce the O in Charlotte – it’s Charl’t, not Char-lot to rhyme with hot.

Cllr Lisa Duffy, who came 2nd in UKIP leadership race, says she's "not overly surprised" Diane James quit.  (‏@LOS_Fisher Duffy also says the UKIP elite think “similarly”. )

Lower-middle-class Teales say s’mw’n and s’mthing, while Upwards say sahmwahn and sahmthing.

Posh Caro Stow-Crat has a slight moan: “I love these presenters from Wales, Scotland, Belfast and Durham, but whenever the BBC does programmes about local volunteering, must they be fronted with someone from “Lancasheer” chatting folksily about the “commewniteh”?”

Samantha Upward shudders when commentators say “Breggzit”.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

What's in a Name? 5

Violet-Elizabeth

Caro Stow-Crat speaking! I've just read some awfully good tips on dealing with people's names in the Times, by Sathnam Sanghera (or Satan Sinatra as some people call him). Here's the gist of what he said:

Never make a joke about someone’s name when you first meet them.
Never give someone a nickname without their permission.
Memorise the names of junior staff (and use them).
Make an effort with foreign names.

But not too much of an effort. If someone has Anglicised their name, don’t pronounce it as you think it should be said. And don’t be the only person still saying Marleen Dear-trick and Bob Geldorf.

It’s also rude (and unfunny after the first 50 times) to call George Osborne “Gideon”. It’s his first name, but he prefers his second name, George. It’s rude and unfunny to call Americans “Merkins”, too, though some people think it's hilarious.

Forcing your children to call an unrelated friend of the family "Aunty Mary" has gone out, thank goodness.

Strictly speaking, a "close" is an enclosed area around a cathedral, a "cross" is a market cross not a mall, and a house called “Something Lodge” is either a hunting lodge or the gate lodge to a big house. I cringe at "Whyteleafe" done in loopy wrought iron, but there are some genuine old houses with yyys: Tyntesfield, Compton Wynyates.


More about namesI have the feeling “vicar” is a bit naff, like “settee”. (HP)

You’re more likely to get a place at Oxbridge if your surname is of Norman origin (Pierrepoint, Somerville), latest research shows.
(Times July 2014)

Latest survey results show Amelia, Oscar and Oliver overtaking Tyler and Madison. (Aug 2014)
Superannuated girls’ names, per styleblazer.com: Blanche, Myrtle, Ethel, Barbara, Mildred, Agatha, Phyllis (they think it’s a combination of Phil and Willis), Beatrice, Marge, Ruth, Gretchen, Gertrude, Martha, Opal, Rose, Eleanor, Marlene.

They’re all called Margaret or Jean around here.
(Tim Wonnacott on Bargain Hunt)

Isabel has got to be the new Sharon, surely? (mumsnet)

A yougov poll shows which names are connected with which political party (May 2015)

Most likely to vote Tory: Charlotte, Fiona, Pauline
Labour: Michelle, June, Andy
LibDem: Tim, Kathryn, Samantha
UKIP: Jill, Nigel, Terry

Least likely to vote Tory: Sharon, Samantha, Clare
Lab: Nigel, Nick, Jonathan
LibDem: Lynne, Joan, June
UKIP: Tom, Rachel, Alex

Tom, Rachel and Alex shared a house in the 80s. They all had jobs in arts administration and ambitions to work in street theatre.

Eleanor, Peter, Simon, Anna, Katherine, Elizabeth, Richard, John and Stephen are likely to get into Oxford, while Stacey, Connor, Bradley, Reece, Danny, Kayleigh, Jade, Paige, Shannon and Shane have little chance. (bbc.co.uk, April 2014)

Pupils with names such as Kayleegh, Destiny, Haydon or Chantal tend to do less well at school as a result, while those with traditional names such as Laura or William do better. (Times 2014)

And Richard is more likely to get a job interview than Mohammed.

Comedian Arthur Marshall’s childhood friend imagined Jesus having children called Cynthia and Roland Christ. Upwards are never called Valmai, Maxine, Sheryl or Moira. Retro kids’ names have reached the Edwardian era, but maybe not to the point of Archibald or Gwladys.

More here, and links to the rest.