Thursday 17 November 2011

Christmas and Other Festivals

Middle-class Upwards and some Weybridges are furious about holidays/festivals becoming too “commercialised” – Halloween, Mother’s Day, Christmas, Valentine’s. It’s ALL a ghastly import from America. Americans call it Mother’s Day (it’s Mothering Sunday), and celebrate it on the wrong day. And then they invent an entirely unnecessary Father’s Day! All to sell stuff! And selling stuff is bad! Evil!

And not just “stuff” but common, tacky, plastic, badly made stuff! And someone is making MONEY out of all this!!! The Upwards don’t care that that someone is being entrepreneurial and reviving our economy – the Upward hatred of trade (unless it’s a retro toyshop or French cafĂ©) trumps everything else, including common sense.

Perhaps they’d like to ban the lot, like Oliver Cromwell? Halloween is even more fun to moan about because you can bring in references to “kids” and “yobs”. And there’s always some fuss about Remembrance Sunday. Starts too soon? Glorifies wars? Are newsreaders recycling last year’s poppies? Has the whole thing been inflated?

Upwards feel threatened. Celebrating Halloween is spontaneous: people have a good time without asking the middle classes’ permission. Those same Upwards will probably bore for England about the People’s need for Carnival, and get Arts Council funding for festivals in deprived areas (with a lot of stilt-walking, fire-eating and drumming). If they can’t run it, they don’t want to play (and don’t recognise a genuine carnival when they meet one).

The Teales and Weybridges plan surprise 40th parties for their friends, and surprise birthday presents for each other, and give each other helicopter/balloon flights. They take each other for romantic “breaks” in Paris. They keep their honeymoon destination secret from the bride (who's already been taken on a surprise hen week by her friends, organised by young Christine Teale, the wedding/party/hen week planner). Secret honeymoons, like strapless wedding dresses, have crept up the classes. Sam holds out - she hates surprises. This year for Christmas she is putting up a lot of bunting made out of recycled 50s curtains.

Sunday 13 November 2011

Classy Quotes Part Seven

Where's the balsamic vinegar?

The Princess's early life was the stuff of a Waugh novel. She once recalled that during the Season there were 68 staff in residence at the London home of her father, the Duke of Buccleuch. She recalled: 'Looking back, I was somewhat starved in my affections. I prayed every night for my teddy bear to come to life.' The Guardian on Princess Alice, July 2000

Lady Pam Hicks left to babysit daughter India's son; India complains to Ma on return "Felix is outside screaming" Ma "I thought it was a partridge"! via @ladyofmisrule

I see a new development: a children's playground is at its centre in all its garish plasticky naffness. What's happened to public space? @christianharrup (

Told the kids that we are having middle class fireworks this year. Ones that are very discreet and quiet and don't clash with the night sky. @TheRealJackDee

Outdoor clothes-drying is seen by many of the world’s middle and upper classes to be distasteful and unsightly, from North America, where hundreds of communities ban the practice, to Hong Kong, where affluent people cling very tightly to symbols of affluence and class identity, perhaps because they are only a generation or two removed from poverty.

A friend writes re Downton Abbey: I think viewers like the close contact between the classes in the programme; while we might think we are a more equal society, we are actually quite stratified.

I took my wife and sons there today to visit a "wood fair", which was as worthy and middle class as it sounds, but not quite as dull… we met a couple whose son was in the same [school] class as ours. They had recently moved down from Stoke Newington and I found myself wondering if I would ever meet anyone in Lewes who didn't come from north London. I'm convinced that there is some sort of Stargate-style portal in Hackney that sucks middle-class people in once they have children and sends them off to Lewes, Southwold, North Norfolk and Brighton. Blogger Steerforth (

It's almost a mile from the car park to the Victorian coastal defence at the southwestern tip of [the Isle of Wight] - not a huge distance, but enough to deter the hoi polloi from ruining the tranquil atmosphere… The IoW is almost entirely white working class (I struggled in vain to find my favourite brand of balsamic vinegar), with very few of those annoying, Guardian-reading London types like me who push the property prices up with their art galleries and organic cafes. Steerforth again.

More here, here, here, here and here. And here.