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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)


    In praise of printed takeaway menus  

    It’s got so easy to order food online – although my parents’ generation don’t get it at all, in fact find it a bit disgraceful. Circling things on a menu with a biro and then phoning through an order might not be as quick and easy, but it’s a much nicer experience. It’s partly the excitement of being able to use one of the flyers that come through the door among all kinds of bumph, but also because you get to see the way a restaurant has presented itself through fonts and wording and style, none of which you get online. And then you get to speak to someone working there. All this makes me feel closer to the food. 

    Have you noticed that some restaurants bring you a printed menu with your delivery, even if you’ve ordered online? It feels like a sweet attempt to make a connection they couldn’t make through an online order.

    So next time you’re gearing up for a takeaway, pause before punching an order through to Hungry House or wherever, and take a little time to peruse the takeaway menus stuffed in your kitchen drawer. They add that most nebulous of MC sensations to the takeaway experience: authenticity.


    Class phwoar: Kleenex Collection Cubes

    I feel a little bit silly for getting so excited by some boxes of tissues, but seriously, these limited edition Kleenex are the loveliest, most exciting tissues available to humanity right now, and they need to be brought to the attention of team MC. The tissues themselves are nothing for your nose to get inordinately excited about. It’s the boxes – sorry, “cubes” is what they’re calling them now. There are three main things that push these into Class Phwoar territory:

    • They come in a variety of limited edition designs. Who doesn’t love a limited edition version of a really boring item? Feels like you’re really living for now, doesn’t it?
    • The designs are generally seasonal and/or on-trend. It’s always satisfying to live by the seasons, and why the heck should that stop at your veg box?
    • The designs are actually really nice and interesting – and genuinely add something to the home especially if you get a few and stack them up artfully somewhere. There’s a Mondrian one going at the moment. Catch it before they refresh the designs for summer.

    But there’s a hidden extra level of phwoar on offer here. If you order them online with your grocery shopping, which I’ve been doing, you don’t know which design you’re going to get – it’s not necessarily the one shown on the website at the time you order. It’s like a lucky dip. Too exciting!


    Is it too late to put a stop to “Can I get...”?  

    I’m ashamed of myself. The other day, I said to a barista, “Can I get another cappuccino?” – a turn of phrase I’ve been vociferously fighting against for I don’t know how long. I’ve thumped tables with outrage about it, rattling out my same old argument about “Can I get…” being a horrendous modern alternative to the correct, much more gracious “May I have…”, and laughing at the imagined scenario in which the barista or waiter retorts with “Sure, get it yourself!”

    It’s a truly ugly expression, “Can I get...”, with its hard consonants and emphasis on getting instead of being given something, but it seems to have settled in so comfortably that now, “May I have…”, which makes more sense and is immeasurably easier on the ear, rings out as the less common and slightly old fashioned form.

    So, I think it might all be over. If I’ve started saying it, and I’m supposed to be one of the opposition, I can only imagine that plenty of others like me are also losing their own battle, and therefore contributing to the overall loss of the war. 

    Flickr: journeyscoffee

    A complete middle-class guide to using a coffee shop as your office  

    Many more of us are setting up our own businesses or going freelance these days, and something that has come with that is a rise in numbers of us using coffee shops as our occasional or regular offices. The perks are obvious: generally free and stable wi-fi, good coffee, heating, light and power all paid for – and most importantly, the element of sociability you don’t get if you work constantly from home. Even though hardly any of us actually talks to other people while working in a café, it’s somehow good enough just that they’re there. 

    But, it’s not all rosy. Coffee shop culture can be awkward, noisy and distracting. Here are five tips to help you establish a latte and laptop lifestyle.

    1. Pick a friendly local place
    Get to know the owner and staff – it’s good to support a local business, and means you can trust them to watch your laptop and table if you need to pop up to the counter or go to the loo. 94% of the people you see working for hours on end in Starbucks are desperate for the toilet but don’t want to lose their table or have their stuff stolen. That’s probably a fact.

    2. Check for plug sockets
    Before you attempt your first session working in a new place, check there are enough tables that are close to plug sockets for your laptop. Very annoying to discover later that you can only work for as long as your battery lasts.

    3. Think about work, not sandwiches
    Eat something at home before you go to a café to work. Otherwise your eyes and mind will constantly wander to the sandwiches and cakes.

    4. Don’t talk on the phone too much
    Nobody in the café wants to hear your calls with clients. It’s irritating and tedious. Stick to email as much as possible.

    5. Order enough. And tip.
    Make sure you’re don’t take the mickey with your ordering, especially since your friendly local coffee shop is doing you a favour by letting you spend five hours here using their wi-fi. At least one coffee or tea per hour is advised. Do tip properly as well.

    Flickr: reubenaingber

    How to be MC: being appalled by bad grammar in song lyrics  

    I can’t listen to that song ‘Chasing Cars’ by Snow Patrol for many reasons, the main one being its intolerable whininess (could we please move on from weedy music that’s basically young men crying into microphones), another being the fact that the grammar’s all over the place and it infuriates me. “If I lay here, if I just lay here…” For pity’s sake, it’s LIE not LAY. Lay is a transitive verb, meaning it has to have an object. You lay something, like an egg. Lie is an intransitive verb, meaning you just do the action without an object. Every time that song comes on in a café or wherever, I am just appalled.

    And what the hell happened in the writing of ‘Live and Let Die’ that led to “in this ever changing world in which we live in” being accepted as a lyric? I applaud the attempt at correct grammar seen in “in which we live” but then the extra “in” is just ridiculous. Either end a sentence with a preposition or don’t! Covering all bases because you don’t know what you’re doing is something up with which I will not put!

    Does anyone else care or are you all just listening to the music and not getting so wound up?

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