Asda Mum, Camp coffee, Consumed, Daily Mail, Evan Davis, Farleigh Wallop, flat white, Guardian, Guinness Book Records, Harry Wallop, Hello Dolly, Hyphen- Leighs, Juicy Princess, Middle Wallop, Middleton classes, Nether Wallop, Portland Privateer, Rockabillie, social semiotics, Sun Skittles, Sunday Post, Today, Wood-Burning Stover
Yes, it’s so nice to see you back where you belong! I remarked sincerely to
Carrie as we queued in Costamuchamoulah. How did the funeral go?
Brilliantly, thanks. It was lovely to catch up with the family. I haven’t
been north for some time.
And did you go to a Burns Supper, as you said you might?
I certainly did! It was good to flash the tartan and sing a few rude
songs from The Merry Muses of Caledonia.
Well, don’t sing any in here, will you? I don’t think they’d appreciate
We chose our usual spot in the corner after ordering two flat whites.
What on earth is that? asked Carrie. It sounds like a base coat of
emulsion. Carrie, being half-Italian, is knowledgeable about coffee,
so I was surprised that she hadn’t cottoned on to this trendy option.
No, it’s something that Evan Davis was banging on about with Harry
Wallop yesterday, on the Today programme. There is a new book
out: ‘Consumed: How Shopping Fed the Class System.’
Evan’s not in here, is he? she asked. I don’t see any Spock ears
sticking out from behind an ‘FT’.
No, he was researching the different socio-economic groups and their
caffeine consumption correlations in London.
So, who is this other guy you mentioned? Does he hail from Nether,
Middle, or Farleigh Wallop?
Not as far as I know, I laughed. In my day, ‘wallop’ was something
that happened to children in my socio-economic group if we came home
after the street lights had gone on. And, as for social semiotics, they
had scarcely got around to antibiotics back then.
Which is what this stuff tastes like, actually. So, what does a flat
white determine about your origins, then?
Apparently that you are a Wood-Burning Stover, I explained.
Well, I am-and proud of it! What else could I be?
You could be an Asda Mum- not too many of them around, judging
by the absence of ‘Juicy Princess’ buggies. Or am I getting mixed up?
Maybe they do affiliate to that brand. Or, you could be a Portland
Oh, someone who books themselves into a private birthing clinic.
Well, that’s clearly not a category that I aspire to join, is it? she laughed.
Any other groups that I might belong to, without my knowing it?
Well, you don’t affixate your children’s names with a –leigh suffix, do
you? Mind you, Tiger-Lily is hyphenated. That could loosely connect
you to the Hyphen-Leighs- ie/ those of the ‘Marillion’ generation..
She looked alarmed.
Oh look! There’s a Rockabilly. Don’t turn round yet.
I’ve heard of Huckleberry, but what’s…?
Someone who sports red trousers and frequents the Cornish coast.
Any other categories, then?
Emm…Middleton classes- as in Carol, not Kate and Pippa. And Sun-
Who are they?
Those who read ‘red-tops’ and play skittles.
Well, judging by the graphics on the BFLs round here, Bags For Life,
you know, I’d say we are a mixed breed. We stuff our wood-burners
with fallen branches like babushkas and yet there isn’t a ‘Guardian’ in sight
No, it’s definitely ‘Daily Mail’ terrain.
And, I bet they’ve never heard of ‘The Sunday Post’, Carrie observed.
Now that was a social leveller if ever there was one. Here! Take a look! I
brought one down from Scotland. It used to have the highest per capita
readership anywhere in the world and was in The Guinness Book of Records.
And what kind of coffee drinker would be associated with it?
Camp, I should imagine. And not just because of the articles by
Francis Gay. Pure chicory!
And better than this emulsion, we agreed.