Monday 27 April 2015

Classy Quotes 19

Stockbroker belt

Everything in the environment I grew up in seemed to suggest that making a fuss would be a bad idea. (Washington Post on reporting rape)

That's what you get from middle-class conformity. That crime victims are told "not to make a fuss". (M. v. Aufschnaiter ‏@mva_1000)

It's a shame but most ppl in the UK are snobs would hate to be thought of as working class. (Kevin Ryan ‏@RyanLinandkevin in a discussion of "hardworking families")

I love being told people can't be working class as soon as they have a decent job. Not patronising at all. (@salihughes)

Notions of class/posh/status are all relative and often unknown beyond your own.
(Mr The Boy ‏@knitboy Someone told him “You’re better than me – you’re posh”.)

Folk have an odd concept around "poshness" don't they. Often preconceived and wide of the mark in reality. (Ed Chadwick ‏@photo_ed)

The whining, hypocritical, know-nothing wing of the middle class who can never admit that they are fortunate and must always pretend to be put upon. (Guardian on Nigel Farage March 29, 2015)

That strange class that straddles the awkward divide between the English petite and haute bourgeoisie... in-betweeners. (Will Self on Nigel Farage)

Aspiring to be a higher class than one is. Derived from bourgeois - meaning middle/upper class, traditionally despised by communists.  (Urban Dictionary – not for those of a nervous disposition. Nothing to do with the French for “candle”.)

Domestic servants who know their place and are not foolishly "above it" are respected and not "looked down on". (Girl’s Own, late 19th century)

I’m in practice at Churchford. You know, stockbrokers pretending to be farmers and expense-account executives pretending to be gentlemen. (Richard Gordon, Dr Gordon’s Casebook)

The only reason anyone listens to opera is because it's bad form to wear a hat saying "I went to private school". (Comment is Free commenter)

My problem with Mother’s Day is I just don’t know the form. It is essentially, an alien ritual, one I struggle to take seriously. We never kept Mother’s Day in my family. We dismissed is as a capitalist plot, a scheme imported from America to encourage the downtrodden proletariat (as well as the undowntrodden middle class to which we belonged) to part with their hard-earned money. (Robert Crampton, Times March 28, 2015 He grew up in the 80s, when practically everything was a capitalist plot.)

To counter being too 'middle class', the @nationaltrust will take art out of its stately homes. Really. (Bendor Grosvenor ‏@arthistorynews)

Simultaneously most bourgeois AND most bookselly thing I will say today "Oh no I dropped labneh on the book-token printer". (@lucyfishwife)

"I think the broadcasters are getting above their station." (Tory MP Philip Davies tells Radio 4, March 2015, not 1915 Or was it a joke? Radio? Station? You kill me!)

I was asked how old I was, what school I’d gone to and - when the recruiter hadn’t heard of it - whether it was fee paying. She enquired what my boyfriend and my parents did, and then finally told me that I’d be easy to place because I had a “nice accent” and a “nice face.” She “popped” me on to a job working for De Beers because “they can’t have someone with an accent answering the phone.” (Daily Telegraph on temping, March 2015 (not 1975)

The pedants’ complaints are not about real rules of grammar: they are a means of keeping divisions sharp. Their cause is not about culture but about class. (Times language expert Oliver Kamm)

Place settings are measured to perfection with a ruler, the footmen’s buttons absolutely correct, yet everything important is absolutely wrong... Modern capitalism promotes the myth that we are all masters of our fate. (Polly Toynbee in the Guardian on Downton Abbey, and the way it leaves out the gruelling toil of servants’ lives, their job insecurity, and the rudeness and inhumanity of their employers.)

I’d like to be very British about it but I can’t. It’s been horrendous. (Woman flooded out last year in Somerset apologises for being upset about it.)

She was terribly middle-class and ordinary and respected the establishment enormously. She virtually curtsied when the Queen came on television. She used to curtsey before the royal children, for goodness sake. (Margaret Thatcher's adviser Tim Bell, Times Dec 14, sticks a stiletto into his old boss)

Under the levelling process of college, it had been possible to ignore the differences in their upbringing. (Jeffrey Eugenides, The Marriage Plot)

The posh, quite swiftly, have become a hell of a lot more like everybody else. As in, when they aren’t riding side-saddle to hounds, they’re watching Doctor Who and going to Topshop. (Hugo Rifkind Nov 2014)

"Talking about class has become a proxy for doing anything about it" Guardian editorial in the week of the "plebgate" verdict (AdamNathanielFurman ‏@Furmadamadam)

He even made a suggestion for a feature about how the middle class becoming rich “had ruined everything”. “They have ruined taste in Britain,” he moaned. (Tatler editor Matthew Bell in Posh People: Inside Tatler. He himself is middle class, the article pointed out.)

This is a splendid satire of what happened when the counter culture began to trickle down the affluent middle classes in the 1970s. Kate and Harvey are a typical Marin County couple. They've dropped their previous square lifestyle (where Kate got off on baking cookies and starching the kitchen curtains) to get in touch with their real selves. This involves scream therapy, encounter groups, consciousness raising sessions, dope and granola. The book follows an uneventful year in their lives when they experiment with an open marriage, life on a commune, and a series of new and ultimately disastrous partners. It's pretty tough on their daughter Joan (who joins the Moonies) and their pets, Donald Barthelme (an Afghan, who doesn't survive his mistress' affair with a poodle-groomer) and Kat Vonnegut Jr (a cat). The book was originally written in short weekly episodes, like Bridget Jones’s Diary, and the style of humour is very like The Diary of a Nobody or the Mapp and Lucia books: lots of bathos and a series of mini-sagas that overlap. Despite everything Kate and Harvey are quite sympathetic (they both secretly hanker after their old lifestyle). I thought it was very funny and prescient. The truth is that nowadays we ALL live in Marin County! (Amazon review of Cyra McFadyen’s The Serial, written in the 70s)

"An honest John Bull would only laugh at the knavish fool whom he saw blubbering and groaning over a grave stuck with daffadowndillies." (Victorian quoted in Dirty Old London, Lee Jackson. And you thought "the Dianafication of society" was a new thing?)

[Edwin Chadwick, architect of the infamous 1834 Poor Law] would not be considered for a post as one of the three Poor Law Commissioners, due to his ‘station in society’ – such berths were reserved for the well-connected elite. (Dirty Old London, Lee Jackson)

A classic Telegraph obit: "Trendell, known to his friends as Trixie, enjoyed entertaining at the Athenaeum."  (Andrew Brown ‏@seatrout. The Athenaeum is an expensive London gentleman's club.) 

Anthropologist Kate Fox writes in the New Statesman about the perils of meeting your grand friends for lunch at the weekend: your belt and shoes look too new and shiny; your wristwatch is too big and flashy; black labrador Monty’s collar has his name on it in inverted commas; you are sitting with your legs too far apart... (Oct 2014-10-15)

It's not the quality of the photo but the signifiers it includes - messages about race, class and educational background - that is most likely to influence [success on Tinder]. (BBC News)

According to Nicky Haslam in the Daily Mail, the following are common in 2014. (He says “It’s nothing to do with snobbery.” He also damns "relaxing" and "talking about kitchens".)

Talking about being ill – “just ghastly”.
Organic food.
Calling yourself an “intensely private person”.
Not owning up to having had “work” done – “everyone can tell at a glance”.
Wearing shirts with your initials on the cuff.
Wearing a bikini top with a skirt.
Saying “gardern” and “portrayte” instead of gard’n and portritt.
Flying somewhere hot for Christmas.
Saying “Louis Vuitton” (it’s just “Vuitton”).
Being a DJ at a party.
Mouthing the words to a song when dancing.
Living statues.
Drinking vodka and tonic (instead of gin).
Harvey Nichols.
New Mini Coopers (they ruined the design, apparently).
Young royals – dull, apart from Harry.
Avoiding carbs.
Foodie restaurants like Noma.
Personal trainers.
Going to the gym.
Bellinis (the cocktails, not the paintings).
Claiming that where you live “has its own micro-climate”.
Glass or polished wood fruit in a bowl.
Dress codes on party invitations (apart from “black tie”).
Putting “carriages at....” on party invitations.
Gourmet canapes.
Saying that something is “a nonsense”.
Serving both sparkling and still water in a private house – it should be a jug of tap water.
“Cuff links and shirt studs. The Queen’s dressmaker Hardy Amies told me that they should only ever be worn with a starched evening shirt with cuffs too stiff to be buttoned.”
Richard Branson.
Elaborate coffee, milk in coffee.
Conservatories (become a children’s playroom).
Wearing airline pyjamas.
Dog walking.
Garrick club ties.
Collapsible umbrellas.
Ultra-expensive bikes.
Skiing in France (apparently Courchevel is full of Russians!).
Speeches at weddings and office leaving dos.
Minding about smoking.
Farm shops, and especially meeting for coffee at one.
Enormous bath towels.
Saying “uz” for us.
Knocking easyJet.
Telling everyone that your blood sugar is low, or that you’re wheat intolerant. Or “I can’t eat dairy.”
Art and design – too ubiquitous.
Miniature trees in window boxes (too tasteful).
The hymn “Lord of the Dance” – so happy-clappy. (It’s a 17th century Shaker hymn.)
Cheese boards with too many cheeses – means the host is insecure.
Long-running TV shows and plays (Downton, Phantom, The Woman in Black).
Box sets.
Talking back to the Satnav.
Saying “bye-bye” instead of goodbye.
Scottish accents.
Saying “All the vegetables came from our garden.”
Tiramisu. James Bond. My Way. Jazz.
And “It’s terribly common to be confident.”
More here, and links to the rest.

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