Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Classy British stuff

This is a last minute post - partly because I was thinking about this all day and I am at home unexpectedly.  I thought I was meant to go to see Helen Mirren in The Audience  tonight. But due to my head space not being compos mentis and the false pride I have in mentally filing as opposed to having a diary, I missed the play I had tickets to last night.  Insult to injury, I turned down an invitation to the hottest ticket in town for The Book of Mormon because I thought I was otherwise engaged...Argh.

Anyway, the papers had the usual smattering of different headlines today but the one that quite a lot of front page coverage was this.

Apparently, there are now more social classes in the U.K. than one previously thought.
It used to be this.
One upper, one middle, and one working class man.
Looking up and down upon each other.
This is based on a very famous sketch which for those of you who are not familiar with it can watch here.

But apparently now there are seven different classes.

I don't know whether to sigh or yawn.

You see, I am not British.
I am half Australian, half Korean with an American accent that is a vestige of my international school days.  So by default and by virtue of this, the laws of gravitas in such social matters seem to escape myself along with other non Brits. 

But I am still a bit bewildered at the constant reminder of the class system in this country.

The accents are subtle enough, can't they just let it rest?

I'm sorry that I can't find it but there was a great interview with the dowager Duchess of Devonshire when she explained 
the difference between U and non-U.( Upper and aspiring middle classes )

She explained that  really posh people pronounced "Oh" in 
two syllables whilst the rest pronounced it with just the one.

The nuances in social hierarchy for a snob is like the nuances in choosing white paint for a house decor obsessive like me so I do understand somewhat.
White paint swatches.
Image viz
I don't know why this is even an issue in this current political and economic climate.

Do you remember those made up games that one played during childhood ? The ones that were made up as you went along and then the minute your sibling or friend started winning then you would made an exception or an amendment?

Well, this seems very much like that.

It may be because most of Europe is flat broke.
Yet now girls from Essex and Liverpool are carrying fake tan stained, fake nail scratched, real leather Birkins. 

image via

The lines needed to be redrawn.

I am not going to say that I don't have my own social code - 
I think we all do.

But mine just doesn't revolve around an accent and 
who your ancestors were.
If that were the case, 
then even the Royal family wouldn't pass the social test.  
( I would be embarrassed being related to the Plantagenets. ) 
Best thing about Richard the Third was
being found in a carpark.

( Image via the
But the British way of class is so confusing and from an outsider's view is kind of strange.

I was thinking about this and there actually are not that many differences between the posh and ...
I am trying to find a word of saying the opposite of posh.

image via
So to be polite, I shall say the non working class.

They both live on estates.

images via countrylife and manchestercouncil / you guess which 
They both tend to have holes in their sweaters.
They both tend not to have central heating.

They both will never know what it is like to buy and choose new curtains.


The women from both classes rarely go to university.

Image via
image via yahoo images

They both don't really have "proper" jobs.
image via

But the BBC must have gotten some think tanks together because they have come up with...Presto!

If you want to take the test for fun and curiousity, click here.

Now I am off to find an audience with the Queen for another night...

Fingers crossed. 


  1. Dying laughing at your comparisons. I found that as an Australian it was much better as we were out of the whole thing... to some extent. I remember going to a garden party for my husband (he had a scholarship that made him have to attend these things), and we were introduced to some old bat Lady something or other, and she asked if we were Canadian. No, we explained, we were Australian. "Oh, I had the wrong Colony" she said dismissively to us. Those intricate U and non U things were constantly tripping me up too. We brought a bottle of wine to a dinner party once, which was clearly not the done thing - the host looked horrified. We also said Cheers and went to clink glasses, which was equally awful it seems.
    How annoying about the theatre tickets - I did that last year... we went the following night and found people in our front row seats. Then realised that we'd mucked up the night, and the theatre kindly found us seats in the back row instead. Nothing like a huge waste of money to sit in C reserve instead of A premium!! xx

    1. Omg, I had the whole - you're from the colonies ad well!!

      But it just made me laugh.

      Clinking glasses. At least we can laugh about it.

      But must be getting old bc I used to remember everything but to miss Helen Mirren! Looking for a spare seat now...
      Must get a diary! Well hope you have a great day fellow colony member xx

  2. sorry you missed the show !

  3. Great post! I find it so interesting how the Brits are so obsessed with social classes. It such a different story in Canada (where I live) and in the States. Of course, there is a social ladder but we are far less obsessed about it. That being said, I find great pleasure in watching Downton Abbey and in reading about UK's history.


    1. Hi Catherine, Yes, I lived in the States as well and it is different there. Although, I lived in New York and they definitely had their own social caste system which was just as perplexing and dare I say, harsher! Because it was just about money and celebrities...But the rest of America is chilled out. But as an outsider, I just find it so interesting!

  4. Class is a complicated thing, in many ways it is so wrong to differentiate folk by their class but if I am hands on heart honest I admit that my friends come from my own class and background and there are certain classes that I just wouldn't feel comfortable mixing with, nor would I want to, but I would never think more or less of a person solely by an accident of birth. I think it's about that human need to belong and to feel safe in a group, to not always be thinking about things that can and can't be mentioned in a conversation with another.
    And weirdly, I can't tell you how many people who are into genealogy ask me if I am a Plantagenet, I kid you not, apparently I have their physical characteristics, I was slack jawed when first asked but maybe that's one of their tells!

    1. You are right. One could write a whole thesis on it!

      I do feel that I am relieved not to have been from here because the laws would apply. I do feel I get away with a lot more and less judged instantly than a fellow brit for sure.

      I guess by default of being Eurasian, I rarely instantly belonged anywhere so I am used to being an "other" even on official documents you see.

      But it seems noone is safe here, Mr CSW went to a public school and when he went to work in the city which is a dichotomy of social sector - he had to actually tone down his accent.

      You a Planatenet? That is for some reason so cute even though they were blood thirsty! But I hope you don't suffer from sciatica like they seemed to?

  5. What an intelligent reading to start the day!
    I think if pedigree is important for animals, it must be considered for humans as well, but referring to humans pedigree to me means "culture, education, good manners, taste and elegance" not just high social origins.....
    have a great day!

    1. Yes Laura! I also believe that those very things are sooo important. I am a snob when it comes to that!! Good manners always make me at least respect someone whom I may not like...Have a lovely day x

  6. I think describing your innermost personal thoughts on class is one of those issues that you discuss with your very close friends/family in the comfort of your own home and daren't say in public in fear of being 'classed' as a snob or prejudiced.

    Thinking about social class is by no way high on my agenda, can't remember the last time I really thought about it, but I do have my own categorization of class based on nothing more than what I've seen and experienced in life; and every now and again probably subconsciously I label people according to my categorization and sadly that dictates how I speak and behave around them. My friend knows I do this and says I should be myself all the time, but for example if i'm in front of what you may call a 'posh' client in my clinic, I find my accent and mannerisms change to fit in with them. Tut tut!

    I'd be curious to know how people judge me in society - I think I confuse people sometimes with where I was educated, how I dress, act and talk - they don't match!

    Anyway sorry to hear about the blip with your tickets whoops - how annoying!

    Do you know I noticed your passport was Australian and totally forgot to ask you about that because I did assume you were British up until then xx

    1. I think you are right Colleen - it normally is something spoken about behind closed doors I have noticed! Except there is no bitching behind people's back but still hush hush.

      At least there is some sort of social mobility and ultimately good people are good people after digging around the social flags that may arise.

      I might be British soon though :) I already pledge allegiance to the Queen...

      I found one - just one ticket in a month's time so I shall go on my own, as you know that doesn't bother me going on my own anywhere :) xx

  7. The Brits are indeed obsessed with the class system - almost as much as they are obsessed with the weather! I'm quite happy to mix with people from all social strata as long as I like them. I am of course also guilty of chav-bashing and mocking the inbreeding of the upper classes,but I have to get my kicks somehow!

  8. Hi SK,

    The papers are still writing about it on the editorials today...

    I also like who I like regardless of class.

    But I must be more British than I thought because I am obsessed with this weather - april snow!!

  9. In France, it's also about social classes, and the class system...
    But if you know open-minded people, they don't socialize just because of your social class, it's a matter of thinking!

    1. I always think it is a good idea to be friends with open minded people otherwise the friendship doesn't last too long!

  10. I think there are fewer classes! Those that work and those that Don't! Class has ways been a complete nonsense. People just like to put people into boxes!!

  11. Your article is fun to read. You have a point with the face tan and real Birkins ..Thank you for your lovely comment.Would you like to follow each other through bloglovin?

  12. Thank you :) I am following you through bloglovin too.(#26)

    See you soon.

  13. I really wanted to give that calculator a try and I clicked "start the experiment" and they wanted my email. Well F U!!:) Come oooon!!!! Who gives a rat's ass about social classes?!?! Like you said - in this economy?! Besides, I think there's always a way to dissect anything into whatever number of categories you want. Which it's meaningless and most of all useless. But I do think it's sad and disappointing that women from upper and aspiring middle class rarely go to university - still? What, as long as we know how to cook and are fertile, we're good?!

    I had no idea you were half Australian and half Korean with an American accent - you must have been the coolest kid on the block!:)

    1. Yeah - they dont want to give it away with your details!!!

      Yes, it is all a funny thing isn't it? I wonder what it is like where you live?

      Yes I am but as I went to an international school growing up - this was all very normal...not cool at all :p

  14. love this post and also your blog! It's so nice!!! I follow you!
    Pass to my blog and if it likes you follow me too, I will be so glad :D

  15. it's all coming back Very clearly as to Why We Left ;-)

    1. I can see that the states can be liberating in many ways - land of the free...

  16. Hahaha! 7 classes eh? This is one of the reasons why I love living outside of the UK.
    I spent most of my life in the UK feeling a bit beneath my peers at my silly private school, and having to deal with all the shit that comes from class obsession. Of course, I'm not immune to it either, but having now lived away from my country of birth for longer than I lived there, I feel as if I'm almost over the class stuff.
    But perhaps I'm deluding myself....

    1. I know it is all quite a minefield isn't it? From the outside, it does seem so complicated and a bit of a waste of energy but every society has it just in varying degrees. I have seen even shih tzus be snobs to certain breeds except for similar breeds like pekingese and pugs. But Australia is definitely a lot more chilled out - bring on the Uggs!! hehe

  17. brilliant........yes just brilliant brilliant brilli brilli ha


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