Monday, November 30, 2009
(Posh jewellery is not, surprisingly enough, always inherited. Although the engagement ring is ideally a family heirloom, as is the tiara, it is perfectly acceptable to buy your wife her wedding ring, a ring for the birth of each baby and assorted trinkets over the years to keep her sweet. It is not, however, deemed at all right to buy a woman jewellery unless she is your wife. Otherwise, it rather smacks of 'mistress'. Although I don't think a silver bracelet could really be said to be a gaudy exchange for sexual favours.)
There were only about 40 of us select few, all of whom were personally known to the PG. Which is why initially he had slightly questioned the need for a clipboard Nazi on the door. Turns out - he was wrong. At least eight people tried their luck, insisting to the man with the list that they had been invited firmly by [insert made up name here] and should be let in forthwith. It didn't work for any of them but I rather liked their pluck.
Which makes it all the more amusing that the bouncers at a party hosted by newly elected Barack 'Most Powerful Man in the World' Obama failed to spot the thrusting Salahis who had blagged their way in.
Reminded me too of my favourite gatecrashing technique, which I used to get into nightclubs on the guest list, when I wasn't on the guest list (couldn't stand queuing). I would confidently tell the clipboard girl my name and that I was from the Mail on Sunday (the last bit, at least, was true) and then chat to my friend, as if completely unconcerned. After a minute or two, she would say, "I'm so sorry but you're not here." I'd say, "Yes, I am." Spell out my name and leave her to check it again. When she came back again to say - as she inevitably would given that I had never given my name to anyone at the club bar her just one minute before - sorry, but no, you're still not there. I would then say: "I don't understand. I told my PA to call today and get it all sorted. She told me that she'd done it. For god's sake. That bloody girl. It's the last straw. I'm going to fire her on Monday. The one thing I ask her to do....etc." Clipboard Nazi would feel so sorry for the poor (fictional) PA that was going to get a bawling out on Monday if I was deprived of my mojitos and a shimmy to Faithless that she'd let me in. Worked every time.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
But Mandy and Bleugh are quite different socialist creatures, although, like unhappy families, in their own way. Cherie is a classic aspirational, inverted snob. Addicted to power and money, she simply wants to do whatever keeps her in the realms of the Rich and Powerful Great and the Good. Not only does she trade on her status as an ex-PM's wife, she wants to create the illusion that she is also a Lady of the Manor with a long and glorious history by buying up antiques from auction houses around the country. I can't picture Arthur Scargill bidding on a French dresser, can you? She makes my blood boil not because she buys her own furniture (the famous put-down made by a senior Tory of Michael Heseltine - proper posh people inherit everything, you see) but because she is not true to herself. In fact, she is so far from herself she wouldn't recognise herself if she gave herself a stinging slap.
Mandy, on the other hand, has never made a secret of his love of champagne, grand houses and fine yachts. For all his devilish smirks (and unelected status), people rather grudgingly admire his ability to get things done. From the start, he's let everyone know that he wants power and he's going to get it. In short, he's an operator - that's why he was at the shoot.
It is this last point which Bleugh and Mandy have in common. They know that posh is back (see PB blogs passim). When the Tories get in next year, it's the Lords who live in statelies (and rent their grounds out to big banks for shooting days) who will be the new powerbase. Neither of them want to be left on the side of the beaters. It's a brace of pheasants for them.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
And that's where I thought I was going at first, when I was chatting away to my NBF, Ken Monkou. He said he wanted to meet me as he was down in London for a few days, and when I asked where he'd be, he said: "Chelsea." So, I asked where we should meet then and he said: "I can meet you at Fulham Broadway tube station." Which threw me for a second, as I was expecting an answer that contained the words 'Sloane Square' and 'Oriel's' (ultimate posh bird hangout, if not mine). Also, any fule no that despite the frequent sightings of red corduroy trousers and jumpers worn on the shoulders, Fulham is not Chelsea. I said: "I'm coming by car." In that case, he said (good anecdote this, isn't it?), come to the main reception.
Ah. Chelsea. (The sportsmen among you will have spotted that our lovely Ken was a star Chelsea footballer not so long ago.) As in, Stamford Bridge. Y'know. Come on the blues. (Or is it the reds?).
So just to prove that Posh Bird really can be posh anywhere, orf I popped to Chelsea FC in my clapped out Land Rover.
Where, of course, just to prove that I'm wrong about nearly everything, nearly everyone there was posh. From the girl in a tulip skirt and studded flats discussing the picture framing in the Main Reception to the chi-chi Italian waiter in Frankie's.
Really, Chelsea is absolutely marvellous.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
You should know though that the truly posh would never deign to appear in social pages of any form - not even Tatler's. They believe that one should only be in the papers three times in a lifetime: 'hatch, match and dispatch' (ie announcements of birth, engagement and death).
First of all, Laura (posh) Tennant wrote a piece in last weekend's Guardian about the Hermes scarf. (And when Grauniad start writing about posh things, then you know what THAT means, yes, my sweets: PIB). Apparently, there's a book out about the the silk squares of picturesque loveliness. She mentions that British women of a certain class wear it knotted under the chin (a la HM The Queen) but fashionistas were queuing up at the Hermes pop-up store in Liberty's last month to find out the chic-not-mumsy way to wear it. She doesn't divulge what this was - as a boob tube? Round the leg? I'll be off to Dalston soon (the new Shoreditch, doncha know) to try and find the answer.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
In other words - they're try-harders. Which means they often get it wrong. Here they are in the South of France, kitted out in head-to-toe tweed. It's an outfit that wouldn't work in Nuneaton, let alone Nice. I know what they were thinking: brown is right for the country. Tweed is a classic material. And a three-piece suit is always dapper. But all together at once - it's wrong. As wrong as an all-in-one Burberry catsuit. Or a peroxide mullet. Can't help liking them for it, though.
Click here for more: Rod and Penny in Nice
www.theposh.com - the website for Peterborough United FC
www.poshbingo.com - 'the UK's most stylish online bingo site' (check it out - it is quite posh actually, with poodle cartoons and swinging bird cages)
www.posh.co.uk - 'posh windows and conservatories' (turn the volume UP - hilarious 80s pop singer warbling about designing posh conservatories to reflect your style - LOVE!)
www.posh-restaurant.com - an Indian. No flock wallpaper but a lovely chintz sofa in the waiting area.
www.peterposh.co.uk - formal wear for hire. No place that hires 'lounge suits' can ever be posh.
Called posh and actually quite posh:
www.poshpaint.com - the likes of Farrow & Ball etc, which posh people really do paint their houses with
www.poshgraffiti.com - I like this - a young girl who has designed big letters, posh decorations, posh rocks etc to sprinkle about your home
Monday, November 23, 2009
But perhaps I don't need the bird bit. Because there's also exists the paradox in which anything called posh is almost by definition not - any brand name with the word 'posh' in it is more likely to come from the school of Hyacinth Bucket: i.e. suburban chintz and inverted snobbery. From Victoria 'Posh' Beckham to poshbingo.co.uk ('Britain's most stylish bingo site').
More posh-brand spotting to come.
Friday, November 20, 2009
Geraint Anderson is author of Cityboy - Beer and Loathing in the Square Mile
See more on his website: Cityboy
But now for something completely different...Those who fancy good art in a posh setting can hotfoot it to the Hempel Hotel in Craven Hill Gardens. Rather an odd hotel this - it was fiercely modern when it was done up by the formidable Lady Hempel in the 80s but now it's white walls and Zen-ish stone water effects look rather dated. Still, it has a gorgeous garden and now a gallery in the basement. Previously incarnated as the restaurant, with a highly polished granite floor, it is - as curators say - a great space. Last night was the opening of its second exhibition, the UK debut of Irish artist Conrad Frankel. He has done oil paintings of antique photographs of children and adults in their Sunday best (aspirational posh?), in which the sitters stare out at the observer with a rather creepy, intense manner (the result of having to be still for four or five seconds while the picture was taken). The result is intriguing. If you go, you can have a decent cocktail in the bar upstairs, which is a definite improvement on the vast majority of London's galleries.
See more here: Art Work Space at the Hempel
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
See the full article here
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
And why do we drive such a ridiculous car in London? Partly because we love it. Partly because the alternative (a cheap Ford Fiesta) is too awful to compensate. But mostly because it's knackered. All the best posh things are utterly clapped out.
Juliet - who is most lovely and funny - likes the blog. She, too, thinks posh is back. If there was any uncertainty before - you can rest assured now: it's back.
See her blog linking back to this one: Juliet's Creative Intelligence Blog
(Will try to get Times link up here soon, for some reason it's not working right now.)
Pictured here are resin antlers from Graham & Green, £118, "for that special man in your life".
*PS This 'trend' is of course as old as stately homes themselves but for a great modern example of it in a country setting, take a trip to Stapleford Park Hotel in Leicestershire and see the Old Kitchen, done by the brilliant designer Russell Sage. It's a small, grey room with angular ceilings and every single last inch is covered in mounted antlers of all sizes.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
I've met Marcus a few times and he's a thoroughly nice chap. Very tall and with a quite posh voice - there's some hint of a regional accent there but I'm not sure what it is (like all posh people who talk with a largely flat range, I'm absolutely hopeless with accents). He went to Bristol University (quite posh), is married to his uni sweetheart (pretty posh), lives in Clapham ('Nappy Valley' - quite a lot of posh-aspirationals there), loves skiing (posh sport) and wears a gold signet ring on his left hand little finger. This is the dead giveaway for a posho. I spotted it on last night's Have I Got News For You and wondered if it was its first outing - now that the posh are allowed back on the telly n' all. But I think I can see him wearing it in some Youtube clips from his stand-up as far back as 2007. Although it must be noted that it is firmly hidden in all his official press photographs (see www.marcusbrigstocke.com).
Signet rings can mean middle class (which is how Marcus would define himself if he stooped to such self-labelling at all) but only the top layer. The only signet rings that don't send out this particular signal are the ones that are shiny yellow gold-plated, with a single initial and some studding details on the circular edge.
But the thing to really celebrate is that he is a (nearly proper) toff with proper left wing political credentials. And I don't mean your boho/hippy 'we adore backpacking in India and let's all free Tibet' posh lefties. I mean your proper eco-saving, anti-violence, pro Labour stance (he has a nice line in class angst too). Go Marcus.
Friday, November 13, 2009
But I do acknowledge here that there are snobs - of course! - in London. Plus there's issue of the huge cultural divide between us and Californians: over there they will become your friend quickly and easily, whereas here....well, I'm sure you know the rest.
Telegraph story on Diana Jenkins
PS Before anyone gets on their stallion and starts charging at me, please do remember that to be posh does not necessarily mean you are a snob. In fact, the posher you are, the least snobby you ought to be - you should have good manners and nothing to prove or be chippy about. So there!
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
I'm rather loving writing for The Lady. It's a little bit like a female 'Spectator', only with more pictures of flowers and rather off-putting ads for hearing aids and special mattresses. I've got another piece in this week's edition (look out for the poppies on the cover and a fetching pic of Rosamund Pike). Unfortunately, for reasons of space, they cut out some of my suggestions, so I'm putting them up here instead. If you fancy a bit of toffish deliciousness (with not a bit of pot or noodle in sight) - here's where to go...
Dorset Cereals www.dorsetcereals.co.uk
Have you noticed how Dorset Cereals have taken over? They look all homemade and crunchy but they’re as ubiquitous as Frosties. It’s no surprise then to learn that the men behind it have all worked for major brands – Peter Farquar, Old Etonian, was for years with Coca-Cola. On relocating to the West Country, he and two others bought this tiny brand and turned it into big business: 11,000 boxes are sold every day. “But we’re still keen that we speak personally to our consumers,” says Peter, (who by the way, denies being posh, as only the posh do, and then when I ask if he means the Fifteenths/Nineteenths when he says he was in the Royal Huzzars, cries: “No – we’re much posher than that!”).
Mr Bunbury Cakes, www.mrbunbury.com
Mr Bunbury cakes are newbies – the company began just a year ago – but they are already causing taste sensations with their brownies for grown-ups (made with 50% Madagascan chocolate), Millionaire’s Shortbread and outrageously scrummy biscuit cakes, for when you can’t decide which way you want to go. Owner Nick Fox has excellent posh foodie credentials, having learned his trade at Gü and being related to one of the co-owners of Prestat. His three young children – six, eight and two – “form the tasting panel and as a result we’re bringing out a new milk chocolate brownie next year.” Buy online or from one of the bigger Sainsbury’s stores.
Orkney Rose www.orkneyrose.com
Rose Grimond is a young woman with a mission – to bring the excellence of the Orkneys to the South. Up to 20 local producers, who couldn’t supply outside of the islands under their own steam, are powered to restaurants such as The Fat Duck and The Anchor & Hope. Look to Rose to provide you with the poshest, most delectable brunch you could find: “unadulterated, unprocessed black pudding, bacon and kippers – if you like that kind of thing.” Who possibly couldn’t?
James White Drinks www.jameswhite.co.uk
When Christmas looms large put Big Tom at the top of your shopping list. A few bottles of this spiced up tomato juice in the kitchen means that at any given moment (what is it about the festive time of year that means drinking straight after breakfast is a sign of normality rather than alcoholism?) a splash of that with more than a splash of vodka will keep you sane and your guests out of your hair. Owner Lawrence Mallinson (“I went to Marlborough – that’s probably not posh enough, is it?”) loves his juices, and it shows.
Prestat Chocolates, www.prestat.co.uk
Who knew Willy Wonka lived in Acton? At least, that’s the site of the magical Prestat factory, which is a five-year-old’s (or even 35-year-old’s) dream. The charming (Downside old boy) Nick Crean, co-proprietor, took me round the chocolate-smeared machines and fed me truffles (dark, milk, hazlenut praline), chocolate squares (raspberry and wasabi mustard a memorable combination), chocolate buttons and oozing banoffee rounds (“we get a lot of students writing to tell us that those are the best thing they’ve ever tasted”) until I was in danger of taking on the persona of Augustus Gloop. No surprise, then, if I tell you that Roald Dahl was a fan of Prestat. Luckily, you don’t need a golden ticket to enjoy them too.
Last night was the debut of Miranda Hart's new sitcom on BBC2 - 'Miranda'. I first spotted her on the under-the-radar but funny tv show 'Not Going Out'. Recently, she hosted an episode of 'Have I Got News For You.' Brilliantly.
Monday, November 9, 2009
It was fireworks night last week. I love a bit of fizz, bang, pop myself but couldn't find a decent display on anywhere. There's a local park that does it but I have distinct memories last year of being made to file to the viewing site via a narrow path with chicken wire high on either side and a general nervousness that someone was going to put a catherine wheel in my pocket.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
This month's GQ magazine features an article by Charlie Brooks. For those who don't know, he's the posho who recently married Rebekah Wade (formerly Editor of The Sun and now top henchman at Murdoch's News International). Brooks's day job is as a racing journalist for The Telegraph. The sort of job, in other words, that puts one rather in mind of the actor who was asked by Peter Cook at a party if he was doing anything these days. "I'm writing a novel, actually," said the actor. "Ah, neither am I," replied Cook.