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The Book

Out now at Amazon | Waterstones

Middle Class Handbook on Twitter
Chattering Class

Prince Harry

Even republicans approve, surely?

Microwaving tea

Recommended by scientists, apparently. Disgusting

No televised election debates

Disappointing; we were rather looking forward to May vs The Sturge

Broadchurch

Olivia Coleman = nailed-on Future National Treasure

Spring Bank holidays

Too close together! Very bad!

Bin-mageddon

“I queued for THREE BLOODY HOURS at B&Q for a new recycling bin! The entire town’s in CHAOS”

S-Town

To be listened to whole on a long journey for maximum effect

Using a proper paper map

Strangely satisfying

The “Flash” Flash ad

It’s back! Possibly the best ever singing dog in an advert ever

Crap tacos

Reheated, with too much chilli: middle-class kebabs, basically

Latest Comments
The Periodic Table of the Middle Class
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    Monday
    Apr252016

    Sob-mobs: how much social media grieving is too much?

    I would like to make a confession.

    This year the strangely high number of deaths of well-loved famous people has meant that our social media timelines have often been full of people expressing their remorse, and telling stories about how they once met the deceased, and they were wonderful. It's like a new public grieving ritual. And sometimes I just feel like I don't get it.

    Personally I can't understand how people feel such personal emotion about someone they didn't really know. And I also don't understand why, even if they do feel that way, they need to say so publicly.

    If I'm really honest, I think some people join in the sob-mobs on Facebook and Twitter because it becomes a Thing To Do. And if I'm really, really honest, I think in some cases it becomes a sort of showing off, especially when people go on about themselves more than the person.

    I honestly don't know if I'm alone in this, or if other people feel the same, but don't like to say. Or maybe I'm just a bad person, I dunno.

    Leeds Lucy

    Wednesday
    Mar022016

    Three ways to save face after an autocorrect typo

    Bloody autocorrect. Foiling your attempts to seem funny and interesting by littering your tweets and Facebook posts with embarrassing errors. We've all been there, and we've all wondered, heart pounding, what to do to fix the error. To our mind, there are three ways you could go:

    1. Dive in with a follow-up post which at once drips with exaggerated embarrassment and pre-empts any correction from smug followers, making very clear you know your stuff and do not care to be corrected, thank you very much. “Argh! Posted before I was ready. Yarg, not yard, obviously!”
    2. Delete hastily and re-post a version without the typo, as though nothing ever happened. Or, if technology allows, such as on Facebook, edit the post. You'll need to be prepared to swallow your pride about the fact that it will display as 'Edited'. In many ways that's just drawing attention to your error. You might actually come off better if you do nothing, hence this third option:
    3. Rise above it. Just let it be. And if anyone picks you up on the error, ignore them or go down the pro-creative expression route, pretending you think social media is no place for pedantry. You'll be cringing and hating yourself, obviously, but you'll have an air of a person who likes the idea of having nothing to prove. And that's about as good as an MC can strive for.
    Wednesday
    Feb102016

    Workplace offenders: the excessively theatrical sneezer

    A guy I once worked with had the loudest sneeze I had ever heard. It was a proper, full-body, unrestrained, loud and distinctive ach-oo, and every time he did it – two or three times a day, I'd say (people sneeze a hell of a lot in offices, don't they?) – it brought an aftermath of awkwardness. There would be some offended frowning (me) and some embarrassed laughter (also me), and a flurry of comments from his surrounding colleagues: 'Wow, that was a bigun', 'blimey, that was quite something', 'that deserves a round of applause'. 

    I felt so outraged by these comments because a loud, theatrical sneeze should not be celebrated. It is bad manners. It's nonsense that humans have no control about the way they sneeze. The discreet, embarrassed 'pneu' sound I make when I sneeze in public ('like Tinkerbell from a distance', one colleague told me), compared to the normal, more relaxed 'kknn-chh' I do at home is evidence that a sneeze can be adapted to suit one's environment. It's just some people have gone through their lives doing a particularly distinctive sneeze and have come to almost forget that what is actually happening is an expulsion of air and mucus and therefore it should probably be reined in when you are in public.

    So, I'm sorry if you've grown up being told that your sneeze is characterful and delightful and you think of it as part of who you are; it's not OK to let rip at work. And, those of you who encourage this behaviour with comments like 'I really felt you put your full weight behind that one' (yes, someone actually said this), you need to zip it too.

    Saturday
    Feb062016

    class phwoar: extreme muesli

    There’s no doubt muesli is upping its game as 2016 gets under way. The industry has worked out a way to bring traditional muesli, which once defined us as a class, out of its crisis.  The stuff we used to fill our breakfast bowls with is loaded with gluten, carbs and dried-fruit sugars – which simply won’t do any more. So it’s a relief to see new and more acceptable pathways opening up.

    In fact, we have two options. We can stick to old-school carbs but make it worth our while by going super-indulgent: Waitrose offers flower-petal and coffee-infused varieties if that’s our solution. Alternatively, we can submit to the paleo revolution and experiment with the truly extreme: not just the courgette granola that is finding its way into MC homes, but RAWnola or Beetroot and Ginger Muesli from Primrose’s Kitchen. Thank goodness, we can chomp away self-righteously once more.

    Thursday
    Feb042016

    collaborative consumption: how to offer sweet treats around the office

    It's lovely when a colleague brings treats to work, but you can't get away with only ever being on the receiving end: eventually you have to step up and bring something in yourself, and it can be quite a fraught experience. You need to approach it strategically, otherwise you will a) make everyone uncomfortable and b) miss out on any of the treats yourself. Here are three ways to go about this to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible:

    1. Leave your biscuits or whatever – and make sure it's a plentiful supply – on your desk. Send an email to all saying people should come and help themselves. Include a fact about where the treats came from (eg. put 'Italian holiday biscuits' in the subject line) – this will give people a nice talking point for when they come over. Of course this might not work and only about three people will come over because people don't like to look greedy and some don't enjoy talking to others; in which case, you could adapt this method and email everyone saying you've left the chocolates or cake or whatever in the staff kitchen. Or, try method 2:
    2. Pass the treats to the person next to you and tell them to pass them around. There will be people who haven't paid any attention to your email and mutterings of 'oh how nice, who are these from, what are these in aid of?' will be heard. Try not to seek glory or validation at this point. Be cool. If you are worried that the treats will get stuck and not everyone will get one – including you – you might take greater control by following method 3:
    3. Actually walk around the office and deliver treats or slices of cake to people in person. It will take quite a while to get round everyone so make sure you have time. If you can do this and make a bit of small talk and make sure the treats are evenly distributed, you should feel very proud: this really is the pinnacle of achievement in social interaction.

    Flickr: massdistraction