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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


Olivia Coleman = nailed-on Future National Treasure

Spring Bank holidays

Too close together! Very bad!


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


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

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The Periodic Table of the Middle Class
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    Entries in Maddie Y (130)



    There are moments during the Christmas run-up that are very special among the middle classes. The release of the legendary Radio Times Christmas double issue is one of them. The glossy, chunky magazine offers us much more than simple TV and film listings: it gives us permission to care about nothing but self-indulgence, entertainment and relaxation for a whole two weeks. Our Christmas leave might as well kick in as soon as we get our hands on a copy because, from that moment, the only thing we’re going to ‘action’ is the highlighting of films and programmes we intend to watch between now and New Year’s Day.

    This year the Radio Times is showing off its awareness of our undying love for its Christmas issue, by showcasing two specially illustrated covers which have a nostalgic feel to them, hand-drawn in red and green by artist Kate Forrester. And in this year’s issue: Sir David Attenborough, Julian Fellowes, Professor Brian Cox – and a free copy of The Gruffalo. Our cup runneth over. 


    Buying Next Year’s Diary In November: Puts a spring in our step

    There comes a point in November which is very much a “sod it” moment among the middle class. This is the moment when we realise it feels closer to Christmas than it actually is. And we turn our backs on the current year, resenting how much of it there is to go. And it’s already happened for 2011. This year I think we should agree that it happened the weekend on which the John Lewis Christmas advert was first shown. That’s it. Everything else has become irrelevant. Why, we demand, should we care about anything for the rest of 2011 other than mince pies, Christmas with the family, and whatever we have to look forward to in 2012?

    So, naturally, this is the point when we buy our new diaries or Filofax refills for next year, and spend a satisfying, therapeutic afternoon plotting in family birthdays and holidays and anniversaries. I love this moment. It feels bloody good. Even though we’ve actually got a whole five weeks left of you to get through, 2011, I’m over you; I’ve moved on.


    Smashed It, Put It Down, Killed It: Rather violent vocab for a family show

    There are many things that are odd about the language of The X Factor. That Tulisa thinks the word ‘ballad’ is ‘ballit’ is worrying enough, but then there’s the fact that Louis seems to have given up offering any sort of critique in favour of stating simple facts: “You stood on that stage, you sang a song, you wore shoes, people need to vote for you.”

    But the thing that has really got out of hand this year is the violent language that’s used when someone’s performance is apparently good. And frankly these words are a bit much for a family show on a Saturday night. We’re hearing “You smashed it” – do we want to encourage rioting? – and “you killed it”, which I find impossible to accept as positive. Didn’t we used to say “murder a song” to mean it had been sung terribly? Most ridiculously of all, Kelly Rowland has brought us “put it down”, which is supposed to be a good thing but only makes me think of old or ill dogs being put down at the vet. Which is definitely not ok dot com.


    How To Jump Onto To The Facebook Fan-Wagon A Bit Too Late

    So, you’ve held out this long, but finally, you’ve realised that every brand, blog, butcher, baker and candlestick maker has a Facebook page and that you ought to get on the fan-wagon too. But how do you go about joining Facebook when you probably should have done so a while ago? Do you pretend you’ve been there all along and now you’re ‘relaunching’? Or do you just blunder in and get on with it and hope you catch up with everyone else quickly?

    In celebration of the fact The Middle Class Handbook has only just got a Facebook page – with a lateness that goes so far beyond fashionable, it should actually be considered post-fashionable, which is much cooler – here is our guide to how to launch a Facebook page a couple of years too late.

    • Don’t pretend you’ve been there all along. This will look really naff. Much as we’re doing now with this self-deprecating blog post, alert your people to the fact that you’re joining, and poke fun at yourself. (Do people still ‘poke’ each other, by the way, or is that so 2007?)
    • Tell everyone you know. You need fans, immediately. And it really can’t just be your mother. Send word out to everyone: your email contact book, mailing list, Twitter following (we presume you’re on Twitter. If you’re not, seriously, where have you been?).
    • Run some sort of special offer /reader prize. Give a reward to your first ‘likers’, so that your fan count quickly goes up. Which is exactly what we’re doing. We are giving away a copy of our book to our first 100 fans.
    • Do something clever with your page. Show that you know what you’re doing rather than just being there. Put good content on the page, such as pictures, video, discussions. On our page, we have a ‘Which tribe are you?’ tab where you can follow the rather snazzy flowchart to see which middle class tribe you belong to. And it clicks through back here so you can read more about your tribe. See, we so know what we’re doing.
    • Just be cool. Yeah, so you’ve only just joined and everyone else has about seven billion fans. It’s fine. No sweat. You’ll catch up.
    • Do keep up. So, you’re on there now, that’s the main thing. But keep your eyes open from now on and do stop being so stubborn. Everyone read all the Harry Potter books in the end, even those who held out for five years, and everyone joined Facebook eventually. Something else will come along soon, and it’s just a bit stressful being a late adopter isn’t it?

    Please, come and ‘like’ us on Facebook and soothe our nerves. And if you get in quickly, you’ll win one of our books – before the professional “compers” get wind of it. 


    “A Glass Of Wine” And Other Understatements Of Indulgence

    Middle class people are very uncomfortable with indulgence. Actually, we have a whole different idea of what counts as indulgence. Many things that would be considered by others as just normal everyday behaviour are, in the middle class world, “treats” or “letting your hair down”.

    We can’t just treat and let treat, though; we feel the need to tell other people what we’re doing (often on Twitter) because we want to sound totally chilled out about our ability to chill out. But we’ll nervously understate, often actually lie, to make our indulgences sound more respectable. Here are some key translations:

    “Curl up with a good book” = “fall asleep reading heat magazine”

    “A glass of wine” = “a whole bottle of Merlot and a little bit from a second bottle”

    “A slice of cake” = “most of a chocolate gateau”

    “Sometimes watch X Factor for a laugh” = “watch X Factor every weekend and have the hots for Gary Barlow”

    “Lie in and read the Sunday papers together in bed” = “have sex on Sunday morning”

    Flickr: C1ssou
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