Friday, 12 January 2018

World of Interiors 12

Arranging books on shelves with spines inwards is a ridiculous “trend” much touted in early 2018. (To achieve the same effect, cover your books in neutral-coloured paper, as people used to do.)

"I suppose we’ve always reused things", says Caro Stow-Crat, over lunch with Samantha Upward at a new eaterie accessorised with redundant kitchen equipment. "An old hot water can is splendid for watering the garden. But I get a bit depressed by all these empty cake stands and old fire buckets. It’s OK to reuse things, but as decoration? I suppose it’s the same as hanging up copper warming pans and carpet beaters, like they did in the 50s. Now, what can I do with granny's spill vases…?"

"Put pencils in them," suggests Samantha. "Oh, look, a lovely old wooden Camembert box. And a Horlicks mug... I must confess I stole a Fortnum's chocolate box from a girl at school. I used it as a pencil case and kept it for years. We call it "repurposing" now!"

Country Living Magazine shows a bedroom with a wooden four-poster bed (though the posts are too short to hold up a canopy). The floorboards are exposed but have been sanded and sealed too aggressively (they’re orange and look too new). The door is made of recycled wood and looks like a stable door (in a Georgian house). There are recycled planks stuck to the wall, forming a backdrop to a Victorian picture of some sheep in a gilt frame. The whole effect is of a titled family down on its luck that has been forced to camp in an outbuilding.

Though it's not quite as decadent as the “abandoned houses of the Hebrides” aesthetic, which shades into “servants’ quarters of derelict Irish country house”.

The School of Life’s perfect home is, again, Georgian. The floorboards are exposed, though they at least look antique. The Georgians would have put down drugget, and covered it with Turkish carpets. There’s a chest of drawers floating randomly in a corner, and an open trunk on the floor. A distressed leather pouffe is the crowning touch – or is it a Gladstone bag?

DECOR CRIMESIn a Victorian/Edwardian house, it's naff to expose the fireplace and put a copper hood inside, then add a wood mantelpiece of the wrong period. The fireplace would have had an inner “surround”, with a cast iron grate in the middle. The Edwardians and earlier would have been appalled at exposed brick in your living-room. A Victorian room would have had a wide mantelpiece (with drapery on the mantelshelf), and the Edwardians loved elaborate overmantels. (I've just seen a room in a house for sale painted entirely in peach – including the fireplace, mantelpiece and grate.)

In a Victorian house, don't strip the doors: paint them cream.

And don't knock through and extend so enthusiastically that you end up with odd bits of wall sticking into spaces. In this arrangement, the same dull fitted carpet “flows” through the entire ground floor. Everything is too new, but there’s one ye olde artefact in the wrong place (the potato weighing scales in the living room).

Think twice before adding a “glass box” extension to a standard semi. So you remove all downstairs dividing walls and build a huge glass-roofed extension into the garden, removing all character from because you need lots of space to... do what exactly?

The entrance hall, which was big enough to contain a large fireplace, had probably been designed to be used as a breakfast-room. The first thing seen on coming in was... a wood-carving of a helmeted guardsman with a shield and spear standing on a pediment carved with animal heads. (The Great Indoors, Ben Highmore on a Jacobethan castle – from the 30s.)

White walls and a large black-and-white photograph of pebbles .(The Great Indoors, Ben Highmore)

Dangling replica antique light bulbs (Edison bulbs). They give out a dim, cold light that you can’t read by.

Fake shuttered concrete internal cladding.

Garish carpets in public spaces.

Very dim lighting in public spaces and museums.

“Restoring” Victorian ghost signs.

Giant sculptures of human body parts in public places (a half-sunk visage in Cavendish Square, huge nudes outside St Pancras church blocking the view of the beautiful caryatids).

Terrible modern art in medieval cathedrals.
Frosted glass partitions.
Buildings in the shape of a giant human head. (Le Guetteur 2015)

Sentimental garden sculptures, “sculpture park” sculpture, memorial sculpture.

From The Times
carpet in bathrooms
armchairs ditto
TV in every room
Roman blind in kitchen
pedestal mats in the loo
cat litter in kitchen (and cat food)
utensil rack above hob
Victorian pulley clothes drier (maiden)
Aga in the city "They’re used mainly for heating country houses.”

More here, and links to the rest.

Monday, 1 January 2018

What to Wear 7

The Daily Mail has some style rules for women at work, 2016:

Replace your droopy cardigan with a tailored jacket.
Update your scuffed handbag. They recommend something “structured” with panels of patent leather.
No scuffed shoes, trainers or flip-flops.
Avoid flashy, clanking jewellery, but don’t replace it with tiny, timid, conventional pendants and earrings.
Avoid too much animal print.
Keep updating your image, and get your teeth done.
Shoes and bags – invest in quality.
Don’t wear anything too tight (skinny jeans, or a pencil skirt that ends up as a concertina of wrinkles).
No ripped jeans.
Dark denim is classier than bleached.

Caroline Stow-Crat comments: "My 'scuffed' handbag was handmade for my grandmother and is still going strong, thank you very much. And I would ban animal print in offices – or anywhere! How about a nice velvet blazer with an antique brooch on the lapel?" She wonders when a bowtie, a perfectly normal accessory worn with men's evening dress, became a “dicky bow”? A "dicky" is a fake blouse consisting of a Mao collar and enough material to show through a V-necked jumper. It's a useful way of using up remnants, and will delude your friends that you own more blouses than you do.

In the US, people look down on jeans with rhinestones, writing or flowers on the back pockets – or without back pockets.

Two-buttoned sports jackets were naff, and “never brown in town”. (JP)

A lady would not go to a wedding in her riding clothes, and she would not go shopping in a ball gown. At a basic level, she shows her taste and decorum by dressing quietly. She does not seek to draw attention to herself through her dress. Elegance is found in understatement. A lady’s apparel should be neat and tidy.
(Victorian etiquette manual)

In September 2017, John Lewis removed “boys” and “girls” labels from its children’s clothes. In response, a Catholic priest vowed never to visit the department store again, with or without a cassock. Caro wonders why small children are all dressed in pyjamas these days.

The piece of Burma jewellery worn glitteringly over one breast instead of in the centre where any sensible woman would have worn it. Or the shoes cut away so that the big toe was open to the weather. Or the clip-on ear-rings.
(A character from London Belongs to Me by Norman Collins worries about his daughter’s choice of friend. The Burma company made Art Deco rhinestone brooches.)

"My dear! and got up regardless... one of those little hats with an eye-veil... three-inch diamanté heels... such bad taste with a semi-toilette... fish-net stockings and all...’ (In Murder Must Advertise, by Dorothy L. Sayers, two typists speculate about an unexpected visitor to the office. Another Sayers character, Miss Murchison, wears skirts that are “the regulation four inches below the knee” – in the 20s - and “not too much face powder”.)

"You won't mind Robert not wearing evening dress," she said. "He never will if he can help it. I shall just slip on a semi-toilette myself." (All Roads Lead to Calvary, Jerome K Jerome But what was it? A more restrained kind of evening dress?)

In the 1950s and 60s, there was a type of older lady who wore hot pink lipstick, a fur coat, magnificent faux jewellery, a Chanel-style suit over a corselette, long lacquered nails and lots of rings. She walked about in a cloud of expensive perfume. She had been elegant all her life. She pretended she’d heard what you’d said, and understood what you were talking about, and laughed rather desperately. She may have thought it common to keep saying “What did you say?”, associating deafness with lower-class ailments like adenoids. EM Forster in Howard’s End calls it “degraded deafness”. Poor Jacky is always saying “What?”, but she is “not respectable”.

The Times had a field day when Pippa Middleton married a hedge fund manager. Apparently HFMs are VERY rich. But the couple are new, not old Chelsea: “Pippa is a nouveau-Chelsea girl.” 

“To us Notting Hill dwellers, these ladies seem to live in a fashion time warp. ‘Frankly, Pippa often looks like she’s going to work in an office as a secretary,’ says a neighbour. ‘You have to understand that fundamentally Pippa and Kate’s style is English suburban,’ says a society friend. ‘They’re very plain and safe in their choices.’”

An interior designer speculates about the couple's new home: “There will be white sofas with pink and turquoise touches. Not too modern... Perhaps a Perspex table with some colour... There will be a Plain English kitchen and lots of Farrow & Ball."

The Times adds that “having been raised in a middle-class household”, Pippa probably won’t employ many staff, but for big dinners she may hire a sought-after Italian butler. 
Basically, concludes the Times, “She is a Home Counties girl at heart”. And what could be more damning?

More here, and links to the rest.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Modern Manners

Caro Stow-Crat here. People are always saying that there's no such thing as etiquette these days, but we need modern manners for the modern world. I couldn't agree more. Personally, I won’t have people looking at their phones during meals. If you have to take an urgent call, excuse yourself and leave the room. And correcting your family’s Facebook posts is hardly good manners. It’s like interrupting them mid-anecdote to say: “It was 1985 – and we were in Boulogne.” Both are off-limits.
Oh, and never, ever tell a writer what to write about.

According to the owner of Ragley Hall, the height of rudeness is to send a postcard written in pencil. These days the equivalent is breaking off a relationship via fax. Or is that terribly old-fashioned? It would be text these days, or WhatsApp. You could even Instagram a picture of yourself and your new partner. Unless your wife does it first. Now there's an idea...

Rattling jewellery and squeaking shoes have been condemned since the days of Queen Victoria, but what about the clip-clop of high heels? Is it my imagination, or do cheap shoes make more of a noise?

When you eat, try not to make clanking sounds with your cutlery on your plate. To some people, a knife squeaking on a plate is as bad as fingernails down a blackboard.

I loved Howard's End, didn't you? But did Tracey Ullman really commit a gaffe by spooning jam directly onto her toast? I'm afraid so. She should have used the jam spoon to transfer some confiture to her plate. She should then apply the jam to her toast with her knife. And she should not have applied jam to toast in mid-air – butter and jam are spread while the toast is on your plate. The fact that the plate is small, and not flat, makes this awkward, but that’s middle-class manners for you. Everything is more difficult than it needs to be. (My friends the Teales would say “than it need be”. They love the subjunctive.)

Napkins may all be paper these days ("serviette" if you must), but the rules haven't changed. Unfold it and put it on your knee immediately you sit down. Arrange it carelessly rather than folding it neatly.

Puddings should be eaten with a fork if possible.

If you still smoke (we send guests out on the terrace), put the cigarette in the corner of your mouth, not the centre, and hold it between two fingers, not your finger and thumb. But do take it out of your mouth when you're talking. I still don't know quite what to do when somebody smokes one of those "vape" things. And they smell like boiled sweets.

British people sometimes say, “You must drop by if you’re passing,” or “We must meet for coffee”, or “We must have lunch some time”. Ignore them. British people never just “drop in”. They like to be prepared for guests by tidying the rooms they will welcome you into and hiding all the clutter. And they have to be mentally prepared. They need time to put on their clean clothes and their social persona. Unfortunately Britain lacks places where people can meet spontaneously. Of course, they may be giving you a hint that they want you to do all the hard work and make the social arrangements. It can all degenerate into a game of "After you, Claude".

If your date takes you to his favourite restaurant and flirts with his favourite waitress in front of you, break it off. Actually, just get up and walk out.

It is extremely rude and pedantic, when engaged in general conversation, to make quotations in a foreign language. (Gent's Etiquette, 1860)

Well-bred people never intrude where they are not wanted. (Marie Corelli)

Once upon a time it was considered the height of indelicacy and low breeding to mention the ‘liver’ or any other portion of one’s internal machinery. (Marie Corelli)

An ambassador explains: “there is really only one downside to having been an ambassador. Every person who comes to my house for dinner or a party brings me Ferrero Rocher chocolates. Each one thinks they have been incredibly funny and original.” He added that he doesn’t even like Ferrero Rocher. (Times, 2017)

More here, and links to the rest.

Monday, 27 November 2017

You Are What You Eat 12

Thirty or forty years ago, holidaying Upwards loved French pavement cafés and Italian piazzas, but back at home they led their lives behind closed doors. They didn’t eat out often, because they could only go to expensive French restaurants, or Italian restaurants in Soho. They couldn’t go to cafés (all working class), or chains like Wimpy and the Golden Egg (lower middle class, full of tourists). They didn’t go to pubs much (noisy, smoky, full of the wrong people). They spent as little time as possible in public places (crowded with the “hoi polloi”). They hated to see and be seen. We went to endless “bring a bottle” parties in each other’s homes. But then we began to go to community festivals and fringe theatre and comedy gigs and salsa classes and gyms... Some American research concludes that people meet in public places more now than they did 30 years ago.

According to the broadsheets, burger chains have “transformed the British dining experience” in the last ten years. They mean upmarket burger chains in central London (Byron, Five Guys), not Wimpy, Wendy, McDonalds, Burger King and Star which have been with us for decades. You’ll find a McDonalds everywhere, but the others are more often seen in working-class areas, are much cheaper, have no gourmet touches and don’t qualify as a “dining experience”. You can get a decent burger in some pubs, too, with proper chips.

Oh, no, it’s not burgers, it’s the sandwich: The world-beating British sandwich industry is worth £8bn a year. It transformed the way we eat lunch, then did the same for breakfast – and now it’s coming for dinner. Guardian Nov 2017 (Food can only “transform British lunching” if someone is making billions out of it.)

The papers also say the young are discovering low-alcohol wine (and Tesco has a new range). Not like the old paint-stripper versions of the past! (We had perfectly decent low-alc wine and beer in the 80s, thanks. Always wondered where it went.)

Old St pop-up breakfast snack: Brazilian cheese bread with cassava flour. (@HamishMThompson)

Have been underfed stupid arty food: going for pizza now. (Friend writes from biz conf in Milan)

Now that all hipster cafés are tricked out in recycled wood and distressed school chairs and Edison lightbulbs, caffs are catching on to the trend. They provide decent coffee (and distressed wood), but menus can be slightly strange. There's one in Broadway market that offers English breakfast, chips and gozleme, but can’t get its head round the sandwich. You get very thick bread (two slices) with far too much filling, and a lot of shredded iceberg lettuce that falls out when you try and bite it. Which you can’t, because it’s about the size of the complete works of Shakespeare in one volume. And you don’t get a knife and fork.

But to Upwards, the thinner the sandwich, the more common it is. Like a fish-paste sandwich on white bread with the crusts cut off. Damp, bland and easy to eat (cut in triangles with a sprinkling of cress, please). Sandwiches like this come with a handful of potato crisps, in a half-timbered café somewhere like Marlborough. It’s decorated with oak beams, copper pans and Victorian china, and it's called the Polly Tea-Rooms. (It is, really.)

Central London is now full of noodle bars, sushi bars and burrito bars – for the visitors. An American ex-colleague once told me: "It’s OK to go to Dublin now – there are Thai restaurants!"

Apparently Wetherspoons are “cheap and tacky” and “chav central”. (Thankyou, internet. Update: the boss of Wetherpoons is printing pro-Brexit messages on beer mats.)

Wine-tasting and wine snobbery were popular with the middle classes in the 70s, epecially among young couples who had just bought their first house. It was like announcing that you were now an adult and had bought into the bourgeoisie. See also weddings in picturesque country churches.

Mary Berry has announced the death of the dining room. In her new house, she’s repurposed the room and is extending her kitchen so that she can eat in it. 

At Prince George’s school, “the canteen serves such dishes as lamb ragout with garlic and herbs, pork stroganoff with red peppers and smoked mackerel on a bed of puy lentils”. When the news got out, there was a run on Puy lentils. Upwards like these because they are a tasteful shade of dark brown and don’t go mushy when cooked, unlike the bright orange lentils you can get in the corner shop. I’m so glad I’m not going to Prince George’s school aged four. Someone should airlift his class some chicken nuggets and chips.

More here, and links to the rest.

Saturday, 25 November 2017

World of Interiors 11

We’re buying wallpaper again, apparently.

This ladder will make a perfect towel rail in a big farmhouse kitchen.
(Philip Serrell) Perhaps this is what they mean by “Modern Victorian”.

Only the Nouveau-Richards have the courage to set the TV IN the fireplace.

Even-more-bohemian Rowena Upward has moved again – she’s found a big Victorian house that was turned into government offices in the 50s. She’s keeping all the original features: cream paint, frosted glass partitions, steel filing cabinets and green baize noticeboards.

It’s said that when people got colour TVs, they drew their net curtains back to display them to the street. In North London, the absence of net curtains shows off your front room with its piano, bookcases, antique globe and restored rocking horse. The last two serve no function apart from expressing your status. (There’s a company somewhere re-distressing over-restored rocking horses.)

"Get the industrial loft look!" says Vinterior. With “rustic club chairs”, ie very distressed leather armchairs. What are they doing in an “industrial” loft? Worry not, you can also get vintage industrial stools that look like the real thing.

Samantha Cameron, wife of the ex-prime minister, who has a clothes line to promote, invites us into her lovely home in the Cotswolds. (Lucy Halfhead in Harpers Bazaar, Aug 2017, paraphrase)

She has an antique red lacquer cabinet – but it's shoved in a corner with a row of straw hats arranged jokily on the top. There's a lot of stripped, reclaimed wood (mirror, table, boxes). Walls, ceiling and floor are shades of beige. In the living room there are beige sofas and, as someone cattily pointed out, a “faux-fur throw”. Fairy lights are draped above the mantelpiece, but she should move that nice painting of roses before it gets smoke-damaged. Anyone who thinks they have a touch of class themselves is mortified that Sam Cam could splash her interiors over the pages of an American magazine that calls the place where she lives a “home”. And didn’t she get that wicker log basket and throw from her mother’s tat shop? Mrs Cameron has a poster in the kitchen reading “Calm down dear, it’s only a recession”. As somebody said recently, words should never be used as décor. Unless it’s a neon by Tracey Emin reading Every Part of Me Is Bleeding.

More here, and links to the rest.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Decor Crimes Again

Giant sculptures of human body parts in public places.
Dangling replica antique light bulbs.
Garish carpets in public spaces.
“Restoring” Victorian ghost signs.
Frosted glass partitions.
Restored floorboards that are too orange and shiny.
Wood-panelled interiors in a modern office block.
Sticking recycled planks to the walls.
A large black-and-white photograph of pebbles.
Buildings in the shape of a giant human head.
Sentimental garden sculptures, “sculpture park” sculpture, memorial sculpture...
Driftwood sculpture.
Chainsaw sculpture.

Everything too new, apart from one ye olde artefact in the wrong place (the potato weighing scales in the living room).

Knocking through and extending until there are meaningless bits of wall sticking into spaces (holding the roof up). The same dull fitted carpet “flows” through the entire ground floor. Adding a “glass box” extension to a standard semi. Removing all downstairs dividing walls and building a huge glass-roofed extension into the garden. Stripping all character from the interior of a period house because you really want to live in an airport lounge. And you need all that space to... do what exactly?

In a Victorian house
A fireplace with a copper hood.
Stripped wood throughout. (The Victorians would have painted it dark brown, or later in the century, cream.)
Exposed brick in your living room. (The Victorians would have had a fit. It's hardly "rustic", either.)
A stable door – to your bedroom.

The “abandoned houses of the Hebrides” aesthetic.
The "servants’ quarters of derelict Irish country house” look.
Fake shuttered concrete internal cladding.

The bamboo table in the hall upstairs was only a small side shoot of the original bamboo forest that sprouted in the basement. Everything down here was of mottled, banana‐coloured bamboo. There was a bamboo wardrobe… washstand…easy chair. And there was a bamboo‐and‐shell overmantel. (London Belongs to Me, Norman Collins)

From Elle Decoration
Don’t be afraid of colour “Some of my favourite rooms have been oxblood or grass green since before I was born.”
“Trends are not your friend. Decorating should be personal.” (I think they mean “Replace those 80s curtains.”)
Hang your art at eye level, where we can see it.
Avoid tiny “floating” rugs. (Also, have some rugs, like the Victorians and Georgians who installed those lovely floors you’ve just restored.)
Avoid open shelves in the kitchen – do you want everyone to see your naff mugs? Actually, why not throw them out?
Avoid stainless steel. “Don’t build a diner in your kitchen.”
Declutter, but keep out a few personal items. Avoid the hotel suite look.
Avoid matching everything, and furnishing a room from a single source.
Curtains should reach the floor.
An upmarket room needs classy light-switches. And how about brass finger-plates for the doors?

From The TimesCarpet in bathrooms.
Armchairs ditto.
TV in every room.
Roman blind in kitchen.
Pedestal mats in the loo.
Cat litter in kitchen (and cat food).
Utensil rack above hob.
Victorian pulley clothes drier (maiden).
Aga in the city "They’re used mainly for heating country houses.”

The entrance hall, which was big enough to contain a large fireplace, had probably been designed to be used as a breakfast-room. The first thing seen on coming in was... a wood carving of a helmeted guardsman with a shield and spear standing on a pediment carved with animal heads. (The Great Indoors by Ben Highmore on a Jacobethan castle – from the 30s.)
More here, and links to the rest.

Friday, 20 October 2017

Gentrification 7

Trying to rename New York neighbourhoods in order to gentrify them has a long history.

Wake up Nimbys, the option is either Tory housebuilding or Marxist social engineering (Daily Telegraph 7 June 2017) Can they possibly mean “Look out, they’re going to plonk poor people next door to YOU?” Of course they can. “Planning would soon be completely centralised, with bureaucrats in Whitehall dictating everything to the smallest detail… Mass council-house building, including in leafy areas, run by Marxist ideologues, a giant social engineering programme directly aimed at growing the Labour base and killing off the home-ownership dream?” The Tory alternative is new garden cities and suburbs, where poor people can be segregated and “home-ownership culture” preserved. Because of course, apart from the annoyance of having poor people living next door, it would bring down the price of your house. Oh I see – the whole point of Tory “garden cities”, ie new towns, is to keep house prices up, and keep people who need to be housed away from Tory voters. (And note the weasel “leafy areas” for “rich areas”.)

I grew up in the Yorkshire equivalent of what posh people who live in Essex claim is Hertfordshire. (John Avocado ‏@SuperCroup)

Increasingly clear my mum has been slyly upgrading my London location to Greenwich for the benefit of the neighbours. (via Twitter)

The British obsession with class has left writers inventing their own, fictional settings, in order to escape judgments about their characters' background and social standing... Sophie Hannah, the bestselling crime author, said she had created a new county for her novels after finding homegrown readers could not avoid thinking about the stereotypes of the British regions. Saying people are now "obsessed with attaching ideas about what kind of people live in a certain place", she claimed she had struggled to escape judgments about storylines. (Guardian. “Now”? They always did it!)

“Islington dinner-party”
is now code for “dangerously left-wing, not nearly racist enough”. (Islington may have a few million-pound houses, but it also has a lot of social housing and deprivation.)

Complaining about the "easy condemnation" of gentrification is the most tiresome form of fake contrarianism there is. (@davidjmadden)

A vandal in Fresno explained his actions: “If you truly love downtown try embracing the folks who’ve been here for decades instead of just running them out and replacing them with snobby little hipsters looking down their noses at everyone else.” He complained that rich white people from North Fresno didn't want to mix with the more diverse people of South Fresno.

Let's rip down anonymous big blocks & spend millions replacing them with anonymous big blocks. (@createstreets on 21st century architecture and planning)

Upwards like to say of a place “It’s very atmospheric”, meaning that it's close to the stereotype they have of a (Polish restaurant, Greek island, Russian housing estate). East London is so atmospheric - like something out of Dickens!

Gentrification used to be called “tarting up”. Workers’ cottages got brightly painted front doors flanked by little trees in pots. Now, when your area is rechristened “something quarter” you can consider yourself gentrified. But it usually includes knocking down something decent and building tin-can flats.

In the 80s, Upwards used to say hopefully that their area was “coming up”, meaning that middle-class people were moving in, so the pavements would surely become cleaner, the street lights brighter and the shops less grimy. And you might even be able to buy lemons, rocket and tarragon vinegar. They waited years while everything stayed the same apart from one Marxist bookshop. What they really wanted to “come up” was of course the value of their house.

It happened in Hackney – the street lights are brighter, enabling “night life” for young people, but we’re too old for that now. We were thinking more of reclaiming beautiful old Georgian houses which were too good for the garment factories and working-class families that inhabited them.

The South Bank... entirely full of pop-up fish restaurants and jugglers on unicycles. (‏@IanMartin Juggling unicyclists haven't been seen since the 80s, but there are too many street food stalls, and over-amplified singer-songwriters given busking licences by a tin-eared committee.)

Central London used to be quite seedy and downmarket and there were few tourists. It was full of chorus girls and motor salesmen, according to a friend – also market traders, tarts and film companies. The area around Centre Point was all guitar, sheet music and drumstick shops. Now it's getting more and more crowded with restaurants, especially noodle bars and burrito bars for the Japanese and American visitors. And everywhere is rather expensive. When I was young and a student we couldn’t afford to eat out all the time! I suppose now young people get decent salaries, and affluent middle-class people send their children to university in greater numbers.

Someone makes the point that hipsters can’t afford a flat or get a regular job – but they can have locally sourced sausages and 50 different types of coffee. (Perhaps because they only job they can get is to open a café.) Surely the market can’t sustain ALL those coffee shops? Except they don’t just sell coffee, they are shared offices as more and more people “work from home”. And middle-class people live in public more than they used to, and they have laptops, and it’s easier to work surrounded by other people, and they don’t have tables at home because there isn’t room.