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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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    Own Van Man and Wife:
    Steve & Sue


    Steve and Sue are the grown up versions of those celebrated figures of fun, Essex Man and Woman of the 1980s, and White Van Men of the Nineties. They come from a working class background of which they remain proud, and they want to work hard and do well for themselves. They may very well have their own business, or they will have risen to a senior, responsible position in someone else’s. They like being well off, but – perhaps it’s age, perhaps it’s the changing times – their aggressive edge has worn off. Some of the other middle class groups might think Steve and Sue a bit rough around the edges, when they see them in Pizza Express or Toni & Guy or on the links, but he probably earns more than half of them.

    Own van dad and mum are generally found outside the inner cities, mostly in detached homes in places good from bringing up children, of which they have two or three, probably between 14 and 21. The look and feel of the house - will be dictated by ease of use and comfort, and then social status. The social status isn’t complicated – it just has to “look smart”. Until recently the home would probably have been decorated with lemony walls and light coloured furniture and a mix of laminate floor and neutral carpets, but in recent years Sue has developed a taste for Dulux heritage colours, roll top baths and old-look slate floor tiles.

    They go out a lot, usually with family members – Steve particularly likes restaurants with big tables m where he and Sue can have all their family and friends around them. They favour Chinese, Italian and American food like ribs and burgers. At the house they have a lot of frozen stuff because they never know when they’re all going to be in.

    In the past Steve and Sue got worked up about a lot of things, but he mellowed for a while. However, he has begun to feel the old disgust creeping back when Gordon Brown comes on the telly. He can't be bothered with ay politicians now, and now he he doesn’t really care what anyone does so long as they’re not in his face and wanting him to change. He knows certain things just aren’t going to get any better and he’s already told the kids, don’t expect there to be pensions and that for you – you got to look after your own. He tries to get the kids into good schools, and would think about going private if they were starting out now; if there’s one thing he‘s learned it’s that you have to look after your own.

    Spotting Steve and Sue

    If they go out to anything artsy, it will be shows and big gigs. They enjoyed Abba The Musical. At home they love The Simpsons.


    The family loves its cars:

    • Steve: Merc (+ Van!)
    • Mandy: Freelander
    • Mark: Saxo done up m ax Powert style
    • Jade: on a promise of a new Mini

    And its holidays, not least their timeshares in:

    • Hawaii
    • Tenerife
    • Thailand
    • They did think about buying place in Spain for retiring to, but the way things are looking...

    Favourite adjective: “Councilly”

    They hate anything that looks “councilly” in the way that only people under 50 who still have relatives living in council housing can.

    You can always spot Own Van Family in the airport

    They love the the place, and dress up when they go there. This is partly because they will be arriving early and spending a good few hours shopping and having treatments there. Mark wears new white Nikes and Jade a pink hooded top. Steve wears navy blue Nike cotton-polyester track pants, a white Gap polo shirt, gold Rolex watch and Next cotton sweater around his shoulders, also with Nike trainers. Mandi weats Juicy velour trousers, gap hooded sweatshirt, white T shirt, baby blue and white trainers and some gold jewelry and has had her done specially, not only for the holiday but also for the airport itself. They will buy approximately one ton of magazines, papers, (Sun, Heat, Now, OK, elle, Vogue, Top Gear, Specialist mags, tabloids) books, drinks and sweets, and Mandi will offer you a Foxs Glacier fruit as the plane prepares for take off.

    Family matters

    Steve’s family is a constant worry for him; he feels they never know what's best for themselves and don't appreciate the importance of money, security and hard work.  


    Wants to: Do media studies
    Steve thinks she should: open a sunbed place


    Wants to: Open a beauty salon
    Steve thinks she should:Do nothing


    Wants to: Do nothing
    Steve thinks he should: Don’t f***ing talk to him about Mark

    What’s on the dash of Steve’s Van?

    • The Sun
    • Cup of cold cappuccino from garage, half full cold
    • England flag sticker
    • Several Mobile phones
    • CD Walkman
    • Bottle of Coke
    • Gloves
    • Wipes
    • Invoices
    • Parking tickets
    • Ginsters pastie wrapper
    • Pens, none of which work, keeps telling lads to thrown them away
    • Empty crisp packets
    • Doll that blows bubbles out of its arse brought back from American holiday by one of lads. Doesn’t work
    NB Steve would prefer to keep the f***ing dash clean, as it happens.