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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

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

    Tuesday
    Oct232012

    The Campaign for Proper Crackers; does anyone know where to buy really nice  fireworks?

    Have you bought any fireworks lately? I bought some last year for the first time in about a decade, and was disappointed to find that the old favourite Standard had long been taken over, and the modern variety just felt somehow rather tacky. The designs on the cases were cheap and nasty, there seemed too much emphasis on enormous and very small varieties, and when you actually let them off, lots fizzed for just a  few seconds. It felt a far cry from the solid, gunpowder-scented roman candles, traffic lights and catherine wheels of yore, and the let-down got me wondering whether there might be a shop snugged away somewhere that does nicer ones (for home use) than the bog-standard Black Cat brand. Does anyone know of one? If so we'd be terribly grateful if you'd share - and we'll include it in our November Secret Snob, perhaps as the launching point for the MCH's Campaign for Proper Crackers.

     


    Friday
    Oct122012

    Red sky at night, Instagram's alight: the middle classes' new love affair with sunset photographs  

    The middle classes have always been prone to fancying themselves as amateur photographers, as it seems a skill one can acquire with little natural ability, and lots of expensive equipment. As Instagram and the enthusiasm for posting arty shots on Twitter demonstrate, Smartphones have only spread this aspiration, and it's interesting to see what we actually like photographing and looking at.

    It would have been interesting if it had been something unusual, but in fact it has turned out to be cats and sunsets. Cat-obsession we knew about from the internet, but the sunset fixation is perhaps more surprising, in a sort of unsurprising way. On any given evening you can see them uploading in the hundreds: "Amazing sky over Penzance", "Beautiful sunset in Edinburgh", "Weird skies in Penge" and so on. It's quite nice, really, an affirmation of our ability to take pleasure in the lovely, simple things around us.  Pundits might have predicted that, armed with new technologies we would change and evolve as human beings, but actually our pets and a lovely red sky of an evening will do, really.

    Flickr: Just Nora

    Wednesday
    Oct102012

    Onesies: too comfortable, they've got to go 

    As a rule, British middle class adults subconsciously define themselves through the relative formality and stiffness of their leisurewear. Even on holiday flights, women will never risk top and bottoms of a leisure suit, and outdoors, men will wear jeans but never trackpants – unless, of course, they are going running. It is as if they feel that too much comfort is inappropriate, especially in public places. 

    No wonder, then, that there is such head-shaking over children suddenly appearing in onesies. There really isn’t much that causes greater offence to the MC palate than your teenage offspring running around in one of these 100% polyester, garish, ridiculous, cheap, infantile, terrifying garments. "You look like a bloody court jester, Olivia!" we heard a MCH friend inform her daughter recently. "That thing belongs in the bedroom." The onesie’s young fans irritably reply they are "just so comfortable" and "cosy", perfect for lounging around in and anyway, all their friends have one, but to opponents, onesies smack of denial that a) it’s daytime, b) you’re not six years old, and c) middle class people always feel better being slightly uncomfortable. 

    The MCH advises talking it over and trying to get them to see sense – unless of course they start wearing them to go out. In these cases, disowning your children is not only acceptable, it is positively necessary.

    Tuesday
    Oct092012

    Class Phwoar: What the Saturn peach tells us about the middle classes  

    Why do the British middle classes love a saturn peach so? The rise of this sweet, flat, pale-fleshed, planet-shaped, Spanish-holiday-memory-evoking little fruit from obscurity to British supermarket staple-dom in fewer than four years seems largely due to its appeal to the middle class market, and there seems more to this appeal than the peach's obvious qualities. Yes, the flesh comes away from the stone more easily than that of a normal peach, yes, they are far easier to handle and, arguably they are tastier. And apparently even the supermarkets love them because they’re easy to stack. But crucially, they are also a familiar item in a new, small format. 

    From micro-muffins and small bananas to those packs of small Moleskine notebooks and the iPod mini, the middle classes love this principle - chiefly because of convenience and cuteness, but also perhaps because the idea of smallness ties into our notions of taste being more important than volume and show. 

    Any self-respecting middle-class person shudders inwardly at the thought of giant chocolate bars, cash-and-carry catering packs and indeed oversized fruit such as cheap Dutch strawberries, partly because seeking such obvious value advertises your need to watch money, and partly because they seem so… gluttonous. The middle classes hate openly indulging their basic appetites, and the Saturn peach is here to remind us of that. If the kumquat was really a tiny satsuma, we'd be in heaven.

    Wednesday
    Oct032012

    J.K. Rowling, class warrior; did the Daily Mail miss the signs in Harry Potter?  

    We think the Daily Mail might have called it wrong with Jan Moir's lefty-bashing review of J.K. Rowling's The Casual Vacancy, much as it did with its infamous lefty-bashing review of the Olympics opening ceremony. Certainly if it is, as Moir suggests, 500 pages of socialist manifesto, then it appears to be a socialism the readers like, as the comments are mostly pro-Rowling. The striking thing is Moir's (presumably feigned) ignorance of the author's lefty-ism, as a rabid communism was clearly evident throughout the Harry Potter books. 

    The working class Hagrid and the down-at-heel Weasleys were portrayed as salty-of-the-earth types, while Malfoy and his acolytes were upper-middle; Rowling has told fans that Hermione begins adult life working to improve the lot of house elves, and of course the Muggle/pureblood theme could be seen to be class related. The Daily Mail may feel a national treasure ought to be Conservative, but J.K. Rowling is pureblood liberal Hornby set, make no mistake. 

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