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The Book

Out now at Amazon | Waterstones

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Chattering Class

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Yes we get it, it's lovely. But can we talk about something else now?

Online petitions

Please sign our online petition to have them banned

Zootopia

The new Frozen

Artisan marshmallows

Unconvincing

The word “artisan”

Overused

Discussing sourdough recipes

You buy it? Might as well wear a Burberry baseball cap

Getting the right shade of fake tan

“Just enough to stop my legs looking like something I dug up”

Travelling off-peak on rural branchline trains

Lovely

Pointless gadgets made by start-ups

Usually no better than Innovations catalogue stuff

Latest Comments
The Periodic Table of the Middle Class
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    Entries in Spellman (122)

    Friday
    Apr292016

    Is the junior doctors dispute the middle-class miners strike?

    There's no doubt that the middle-classes are mostly behind the junior doctors, and one reason is that we recognise the work-politics.

    Clearly the doctors have an idiot, bulls***ing boss trying to “restructure” in ways that won't work, but will make everyone worse off. Who hasn't been there? It's a defining aspect of working life, so the idea of someone taking a stand is immensely appealing.

    Increasingly it feels like a symbolic stand against injustice we can all rally round; it has all the hallmarks of the 1984-5 miners strike, with fewer tricky arguments about economics.

    However, compared with the 80s miners, the middle classes are still getting the hang of this militancy business, and so in a very supportive way, we'd like like to make the following suggestions.

    1. Shrink the badges
      Call us superficial, but MCs like their badges small and tasteful, not saucer-size. Make them too big and they'll be put somewhere discreet, not on the chest where they need to be
    2. Get a slogan
      Remember Coal Not Dole? That was a memorable, assertive rallying cry. “I support the Junior Doctors” is very clear, of course, but not really something to bring folk to the barricades
    3. Be horrible about Jeremy Hunt more often
      It helps to have an enemy, and we all hate him because he reminds us of the worst boss we ever had. Sod not wanting to get into personalities, and get cracking on the effigies
    4. Be more concise
      The JDs are so good at explaining patiently and reasonably that their message can get lost. Be angry! We won't mind! In fact we'll really like it! Especially if there's also a good badge.
    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
    Nov252015

    Is it ever really OK to lick a yoghurt lid?

    It's a question most likely to strike you mid-lick. With a quick glance around you, you carry on, the pleasure of not wasting any of the yoghurt outweighing the shame and uncertainty, the question lingering as you tongue the last bit stuck to the lid: is it really OK that I'm doing this?

    The Naomi Campbell ads for Müller a few years ago went a long way to making the lid-lick more acceptable. However, there are limits and nuances. When eating a Fruit Corner-style yoghurt, for example, it’s OK to lick the yoghurt itself, but not so OK to slurp up the syrupy fruit bit. And in no circumstance must you ever take a taste from the replaceable lid of a large, sharing pot – even if you’re the only one eating from it.

    And with any yoghurt, you don’t want to be taking more than two licks if you're in public – one is ideal, two looks acceptably indulgent, three is gluttonous and infantile, frankly. Even if you don’t manage to get all of the pleasantly concentrated goo from around the edges, never ever go beyond that second lick.

    With any luck, the lid-licking dilemma will soon be a thing of the past, if news of technological advances in this area is to be believed. But where technology marches forward, nostalgia is hot on its heels. All while marvelling at liquid-repelling lids and how far yoghurt has come, MCs will surely complain that the yoghurt-eating experience is just not the same without the treat of licking the lid – and the accompanying dollop of shame.

    Saturday
    Nov212015

    How to stop pickled onions rolling off your plate

     

    It is very unfortunate that so many small, round hard things are so very tasty. Spherical treats such as pickled onions, radishes, cherry tomatoes and various nuts are all, of course, delicious accompaniments to savoury foods, but can be devilishly difficult to eat. One bit of pressure from a knife and fork and zip – off they shoot, leaving the plate and whizzing across the table. This then creates a double dilemma of how to retrieve them – there is just no easy way – and then what to do with them once retrieved? Side plate? Side of the plate? Dog?

    Careful cutting is one solution, but it can go wrong. Sitting the thing in a little bit of mayo may also work, but who wants mayo on a pickled onion? We hear that those in the know keep a bit of side salad to hand to place over the item. That way, you cut into lettuce first, which will absorb much of the impact before you pierce the food underneath. Any other solutions – as well as round-food-based horror stories and embarrassments – very welcome.

    Friday
    Nov132015

    DON'T CALL IT A COMEBACK: THE ART OF SNEAKING BACK ONLINE

    There are many awkward situations online, each requiring their own etiquette. Whether or not to tell someone there's a typo in their post, for example, and how to deal with the follower who tiresomely responds to literally everything you tweet – we will address these matters in due course. But first, how does a blogger or avid social media user return to writing fresh posts and/or tweets after a prolonged absence? What’s the correct form here?

    Always keen to put forward ideas in such debates, we here offer some options for sneaking back online. As for why we’re thinking of this right now – we really have no idea (see option 5 below). 

    1. Apologise with full excuse note

    A favourite of bloggers. “Sorry,” the post usually runs, “I haven’t posted for such a long time, I’ve been so busy moving house/having a baby/with life in general, etc etc.” Nice and honest, but can seem unnecessarily fussy. “It happens to us all,” the reader may want to say, “get over yourself.” 

    2. Pick up where you left off

    Make no reference to the fact that you appear to have spent the last six months in outer space. This is the easiest option – but it's a bit creepy, frankly. Your reader is likely to be left feeling suspicious about you and everything you subsequently post. 

    3. Redesign your site and announce a 'relaunch'

    The idea is to look as though you’ve been busy on an overhaul, and now are back with renewed purpose. This is OK, we suppose, but do make it a proper redesign and not just a change in the colour scheme of your Wordpress template. 

    4. Be jolly

    “Hello, remember me?” you might want to ask, hoping for a warm welcome. Be careful with this one; bear in mind a possible answer could be: “No, who on earth are you, get out of my timeline”.

    5. Be meta and anthropological
    Write a piece about the awkwardness of coming back to post on a blog after not posting on a blog, in order to divert attention from the fact that you are one of the returning non-posters. Ridiculous! Seriously, what sort of chancers would try that?

    Flickr: TheTruthAbout